Book Reviews

Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right, Using It Well

by Richard J. Stiggins, Judith A. Arter, Jan Chappuis and Steven Chappuis

Reviewed by Ronald S. Thomas
Associate Director, Center for Leadership in Education, Towson University, Towson, Md.

I was asked recently to run a professional development series on assessment for relatively inexperienced teachers. One of my first major questions: What text would be best?

I needed a book that could explain how the right type of assessment, when used properly, can boost student achievement, not just monitor it.

The text I needed would have to show teachers how to write clear daily and weekly learning targets, precisely aligned with state standards; match learning targets with the best type of assessment (selected response, extended written response, performance assessment); develop quality assessments that avoid possible sources of bias; engage students in planning, developing and using assessments and in reporting their progress to parents; give detailed, descriptive feedback to students and keep effective records to know what standards students have mastered; prepare students for standardized tests, interpret scores, and use results to promote learning; and use reports cards and grades to communicate clearly about achievement.

Then I was asked to review Classroom Assessment for Student Learning by assessment expert Rick Stiggins and his staff at the Assessment Training Institute. The book came with supplemental DVDs and CDs with worksheets.

I had found the book I needed. Problem solved.

(Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right, Using It Well by Richard J. Stiggins, Judith A. Arter, Jan Chappuis and Stephen Chappuis, Assessment Training Institute, Portland, Ore., 2004, 460 pp. with index, $58 softcover)