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When I began teaching, I remember walking around my fourth-grade classroom thinking, "I can't believe they pay me to do this." I liked everything about it except for the assessment part; I could not make peace with that aspect of my job. It felt like I was giving with the teaching hand and taking away with the grading hand. Some of what I did then (and later as a secondary teacher) was unfair to students, partly because I didn't know how to assess accurately and partly because I didn't know how to do anything with assessment but grade.


During the early and middle years of my teaching career (grades 4 through 9), I worked on engaging my students in their learning through metacognative strategies. Like many teachers before me and since, I experimented with devising lessons and activities using these strategies to deepen students' understanding of the content and of themselves as learners. I drew assessment-related ideas from the work of Rick Stiggins, Grant Wiggins, and Vicki Spandel, all advocates of using assessment to advance, not merely measure, achievement. As I moved from the classroom into curriculum development and then to staff development, I focused my work with teachers on assessment practices that help students learn.


In 2001, my husband Steve and I joined Rick Stiggins and Judy Arter at the Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. Collectively and in various combinations, the four of us have written a series of books aimed at improving teachers' knowledge about and use of high-quality classroom assessments.  I am now an independent consultant working with teachers, academic coaches, professional development specialists, and administrators to establish classrooms in which assessment practices support learning for all students.


  • B. A., St. John's College, Annapolis, MD

  • Teaching credential, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA

  • Graduate work, Education Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  • Administrative credential, Danforth Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  • Coursework from universities in the Northwest in what I needed to learn to teach well



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