WestEd K-12 Assessment

WestEd, Student Agency in Assessment and Learning
Primary Contact Name: 
Margaret Heritage & Bob Montgomery
Funding Framework: 
Start Date: 
March 2016
Grant Term: 
12 months
Funding Priority: 
Formative Assessment, Intra/Interpersonal Skills, Educator Capacity
WestEd, Student Agency in Assessment and Learning

Student Agency in Assessment and Learning

Participating Schools: 

  • Locations:
    • Blachly, OR
    • Chandler, AZ
    • Gilbert, AZ
    • Tucson, AZ
  • Settings: Urban, Rural, Suburban 
  • School Types: District
  • Targeted Grades: K-12
  • Number of Participating Students: More than 1,000
  • Number of Participating Teachers: 51-200
  • Curriculum Areas: Arts, Literacy, Math, Science, Social Studies, Interdisciplinary  

The Team:

  • WestEd
  • Blachly School District #90 (OR) 
  • Chandler Unified School District #80 (AZ)
  • Higley Unified School District (AZ)
  • Sunnyside Unified School District (AZ)  

The Project: The team is piloting a personalized, video-enabled professional learning experience for teachers, and engaging leaders in developing systemic supports to build teacher and leader capacity for increased student agency in learning and assessment. Four districts that have participated in WestEd's Formative Assessment Insights course are extending their professional learning through this Student Agency in Assessment and Learning project, which is grounded in the National Research Council's framework of competencies for deeper learning. The goal is to increase district capacity for student-centered learning and assessment. During two ten-week modules, teachers participate in Video Study Groups (VSGs) in which groups of four teachers give and receive peer coaching using video clips of their practice. School leaders participate in a parallel learning model.  

The Hypothesis: Learning and assessment relationships will be transformed when…

  1. Teachers explore competencies that contribute to students becoming active agents in their own learning
  2. Teachers practice the skills to fully engage students in collaborative learning relationships with their teachers and peers
  3. Teachers involve students in genuine, deep peer and self-assessment 
  4. Teachers share and discuss ongoing video examples of their classroom implementation with peers
  5. Leaders develop skills and structures to provide personalized support for teachers. 

In such classrooms, students will increasingly develop the inter- and intrapersonal skills that are essential for student agency in learning and for college and career readiness. 

The Learning: The project team’s focus is on the instructional strategies that allow students to develop competencies to own a significant amount of their own assessment and learning and the leadership systems that support such strategies. They want to learn how to personalize professional learning for teachers in the same way that teachers must strive to address unique qualities in their students.


Figure: Framework for exploring student agency in assessment and learning (NRC, 2012).