EdWeek Article Cites SMATE's Research Associate's Study

Dustin Van Orman, a STEM Education Researcher at SMATE, has had his work featured in an article published on the Education Week website titled "What Teachers Should Know About Integrating Formative Tests With Instruction." This recognition brings his research to a broader audience.

The article pulled from three projects:

Van Orman, D. S. J., Gotch, C. M., & Carbonneau, K. J. (2024). Preparing teacher candidates to assess for learning: A systematic review. Review of Educational ResearchOnline-firsthttp://dx.doi.org/10.3102/00346543241233015


Teachers’ approaches and mindsets for assessment affect student learning, motivation, and social-emotional well-being. This systematic review examines how initial teacher education programs prepare teachers to enact one core purpose of classroom assessment—assessment for learning (AfL). AfL (also known as formative assessment) is a planned process of instructionally embedded assessment wherein students and teachers collaborate within goal-driven activity, monitor and communicate around evidence of learning, and reflect on evidence of learning to strategize actions to improve. We examined how teacher candidates learned to enact AfL within 70 studies published between 1998 and May 2022. Results illuminate how teacher candidates can learn to enact AfL through a combination of explicit instruction, modeling of AfL, and cyclical opportunities to enact AfL; get feedback; and attune instruction/assessment during their teacher preparation. However, we also uncovered contexts, structures, and practical considerations within teacher education that limit teacher candidates’ learning and enactment of AfL.

Van Orman, D. S. J., Riley-Lepo, E. E., & McMillan, J. H. (2024, April 11-14). Defining and Refining Principles of Equitable Classroom Assessment. In S. Pastore & C. Gareis, Reconsidering Teacher Assessment Literacy: Evolving Trends and Practices in Education [Symposium]. 2024 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA. [Read the Framework here]


Implementing effective, equitable classroom assessment depends on a shared understanding of principles that provide an agreed upon basis for what is needed for teachers to enact practices that result in deeper student learning.  While several efforts have promoted lists of teacher competencies and assessment literacy (e.g., American Federation of Teachers et al., 1990; DeLuca et al., 2019; Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, 2003; Klinger et al., 2015; Pastore & Andrade, 2019), none, with the exception of Shepard et al. (2020) have integrated more recent research on deep learning and the need for equity.  Over the past year we engaged an international panel of classroom assessment scholars in Dephi studies, and K-12 teachers in cognitive interviews, to provide feedback on “A guiding framework for effective, equitable classroom assessment for teacher practice and student success.” The purpose was to identify areas of consensus and seek perspectives of scholars and teachers on the framework and further define effective and equitable classroom assessment. A key component of the framework was to reflect research on culturally responsive and sustaining teaching/assessment (e.g., Aronson & Laughter, 2016; Paris, 2012; Santamaria, 2009). This presentation featured areas where there was significant consensus on principles of classroom assessment (e.g., gathering evidence of student learning through multiple methods), as well as areas of significant variability (e.g., principles of equitable teaching). We also featured differences in scholars’ ratings from the first and second version of the guiding framework.

Van Orman, D. S. J. (2022). Examining formative assessment in teacher education and preservice teacher formative assessment planning [Doctoral dissertation, Washington State University]. ProQuest. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2720903751


Teacher education is an essential time for preservice teachers to learn effective assessment practices, particularly formative assessment. If used effectively, formative assessment is a planned process wherein students and teachers reciprocally share and use information generated through instructional and assessment activities to improve and develop agency in their learning. The importance of preparing teachers for effective formative assessment practice is heightened by reports that teachers are underprepared to use it when entering the field and may be under supported in their professional development. In two studies, we examine how teacher education prepares teachers for formative assessment, and how preservice teachers would use assessment with their students.

In the first study, using systematic research methodology, we reviewed 70 studies investigating teacher education for formative assessment. Within a theory of action for formative assessment, we categorized approaches, processes, and outcomes of efforts in teacher preparation to prepare teachers for formative assessment. Results from this synthesis provide insight into the features of successful approaches to building skills and mindsets for using formative assessment with students and signify a need for innovations and research on how to better prepare teachers for effective assessment practice.

In a second study, a nationwide U.S. sample of elementary preservice teachers (N = 112) across program stages were situated in dilemmas of assessment practice within elementary classrooms as the teacher making planning decisions. We presented information about students and context around their English, science, and math units, then elicited assessment actions they would take with students in the next three lessons, the next lesson, and within a task using a series of prompts. Following analysis of responses, a nested sample of participants (n = 40) were invited to return for a 45-minute semi-structured interview to further probe assessment conceptions, intuitions, and rationales for assessment in their future classrooms. Combining these sources of evidence, we provide teacher educators, program stakeholders, and researchers with a nuanced description of how preservice teachers may approach assessment in their own classrooms. This information can be used to adjust how programs guide preservice teachers’ development as quality and equitable assessors.