Research Projects & Papers
CAESL’s applied research work was designed to bridge the gap between basic academic research and practice and to help answer the question, “How can assessment, both formative and summative, foster student learning?”, while also fostering cross-institution collaboration. The goal was to have practical applicability to the real world of schools and classrooms. Much of the work reflected innovative approaches to the field of assessment and the multi-institution collaborative element itself pushed the boundaries of traditional research.
One of the most intense cross-institution CAESL collaborations was the joint work of CAESL researchers and professional developers to “unpack” ways in which experienced teachers develop assessment expertise. Among the principal goals of the Professional Development-Applied Research collaboration was developing tools and identifying practices that move teachers along an assessment continuum, helping researchers understand what constitute “standard practices” for good science teachers (involved in reform-based science), and using the CAESL Assessment System Model to increase teachers’ science assessment capacity.
The relationship between classroom/formative assessment, large-scale assessments, and student learning and performance is the major theme that serves as an umbrella for CAESL research projects. This theme is central to the CAESL mission and critical to current policy debates about the role of accountability and assessment in school improvement, but has been largely neglected in the general research literature. The theme also encompasses essential questions raised by NSF at the time of CAESL’s funding related to the nature of formative assessment, the relationship between performance on formative/classroom measures and large-scale accountability measures, the impact of quality classroom assessment on various types of student learning, and the value of quality classroom assessment for enhancing the learning of low achieving students. Within this core theme and over the course of CAESL, we are building a stronger conception of classroom assessment for the field and contributing to new models for using assessment to support student learning and accountability purposes.
Our initial strategy in developing and adapting projects to be part of the research activities was to capitalize on existing areas of inquiry at our respective institutions by investigating a link area between existing areas of inquiry and the CAESL mission. A new CAESL project could also be a gap in the current research profile, less centrally related to the CAESL theme, but one that both merits funding and capitalizes on existing projects. Given relatively limited research dollars in the initial grant, the intent was to make the CAESL investment more immediately productive by leveraging existing financial and intellectual resources. We have used this as a guide to help concentrate our research strand emphases, aiming that all the projects contribute in some way to the usefulness of the System.
This section is in the process of being updated.