Welcome to the EASL Institute, and Outcomes-Based Assessment
The EASL Institute’s mission is to develop and provide resources, training, and policy on assessment for equity and achievement in the classroom. The Institute’s work is aimed at bringing about a fundamental change in education, making assessment an integral part of equitable, standards-based teaching and learning. We work with school leaders, teachers and students to develop classrooms which are designed for all to succeed.
Outcomes-based assessment and a new paradigm
When I first began to work with the concept of assessing based on students’ ability to demonstrate proficiency in specified learning outcomes, one of the things that became apparent was that this approach implicitly challenges the traditional educational calendar.
In a typical high school classroom, some students will progress to proficiency and high performance quickly, some slowly, depending on a whole variety of factors. The requirements of pacing guides and the school calendar on the one hand, and actual progression of learning that happens as teachers teach and students learn, on the other, make the traditional semester and school year a problem, and frame the reality of a “differentiated” classroom. What are teachers to do about this?
Now, as schools face increasing financial pressures, the standard seat time to credit hours equation is increasingly hard to defend. If teachers identify outcomes/learning targets, map them to the Common Core or other standards, and students can demonstrate proficiency, we can’t really afford to have students marking time.