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