Thank you to Stephen Geyer, Ed.D.,
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Goochland County Schools,
for this month's feature article.

We’ve been on a 7+ year journey in Goochland to strike a truly balanced approach to student assessment. We’re proud of our work in this area, and we’re closer to our goal than ever. Despite my own tendency for unwavering optimism, I actually don’t think we’ll ever achieve the perfect balance we seek. I’m not sure perfection in the area of assessment exists. And that’s okay. It’s been our team’s work along the way, the professional learning inherent in such an endeavor, and our tenacious pursuit of what’s best for students that have combined to put our division in a position to tell the complete story of student learning.
           How do we define balanced assessment in Goochland? We believe the discussion around testing equilibrium is built upon three considerations:
(1)    the balance between uninterrupted instructional time and the time dedicated to assessing student learning;
(2)    assessment purpose (i.e. achievement, growth, diagnostic); and,
(3)    assessment type (i.e. multiple choice, essay, constructed-response, complex project).
Given the decades-long landscape of high stakes standardized achievement testing in Virginia, our journey began with the exploration of both growth measures and performance assessments. It was the natural place to start.
Frankly, the implementation of growth measures was easy. (We use NWEA’s MAP platform in reading and math.) Communicated well, used for good (to support individual student learning), and used in place of existing drill-and-kill test-prep assessments, our division’s introduction of growth measures happened quickly and relatively seamlessly.
Our use of performance assessments, on the other hand, has been a multi-year endeavor and is ongoing. I think of this part of our journey differently. While it’s been an energizing commitment, it’s also been a grind.
No one handed us a set of high-quality performance assessments and said, “Have at it.” No one gifted us a roadmap to navigate the professional learning needs of our team that would lead us to successful implementation. And, seven years ago, there was no outside entity nudging us in this direction. We committed to the incorporation of performance assessments because, simply, we are invested in balanced assessment.

The photos in this article are from two of Goochland's Signature Performance Assessments:
Global Explorations (fifth grade history/language arts) and
Washed Ashore (high school environmental science)
VASCD is pleased to share resources from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL), which conducts applied research and trainings with a mission of supporting a more evidence-based education system.
Have you seen this?
If you're an ASCD member, perhaps you chose the newly published All Learning is Social and Emotional as your ASCD book this month. Dominique Smith (co-author with Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher) will keynote our Fourth Annual Whole Child Institute on February 28 in Charlottesville. We'll also hear from students representing Girls for a Change and receive an update on the Va. Dept. of Education's equity work.

Join us for VASCD's

March 20
Afternoon preconference especially designed for emerging leaders
March 21
Morning keynote/workshop with Andrew McPeake
Afternoon session/workshop with Daniel Smith and Pat Leary
VASCD | | North Garden VA 22959