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Workshop: Making Assessments Work for You
September 23 - October 4

Format: Online Course
Grade(s): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Topic(s): Teaching Writing, Assessment Tools, Common Core, Teaching Reading, Whole Site Article Archives, Teacher Study Groups

Assessment is an integral part of instruction. For the past decade, the focus on assessment—particularly via high-stakes mandated tests—has shifted away from the classroom and left teachers feeling like they are drowning in data. Assessment is, and needs to be again, much more than a number. Throughout this 12-day online course we focus on how to move beyond the numbers and use assessment to find the stories of our readers. We will emphasize the importance of triangulating data by using varied sources, both formal and informal, and across multiple intervals. You will learn practical tips to help you look at different types of assessments side-by-side with displays to find patterns or inconsistencies. We will also share systems and structures to collect data authentically in the classroom and include students as valuable sources of data.

Course Goals

  • Understand the type of tools we need to assess: diagnostic, formative, or summative; formal or informal; quantitative or qualitative.
  • Understand how to triangulate multiple assessments together to provide an in-depth picture of a reader.
  • Build your assessment literacy and learn how to determine which area of reading a tool assesses.
  • Learn how to use the information from assessments to inform our instruction.
  • Explore how to use systems and structures to collect, analyze and use authentic assessments every day.
  • Think about the role of the student in assessment and learn methods to include students in the process.

Course Opportunities

  • This course is self-paced to allow participants to move at their own pace. Choices are built into the course. However there are dates that prerecorded webinars should be viewed and blog posts should be completed so that the Ning conversations can support all learners.
  • Articles and videos will be provided that connect to each session’s content.  Please complete all readings, viewings before viewing recorded webinars.
  • Follow-up optional readings and videos will be shared on the course Ning and the course syllabus.
  • Post (3) session reflective blog posts on the course Ning.  These posts will provide for conversation between participants, and instructors will personally respond to each post.
  • Spend time between webinars commenting and adding to the conversations on the Ning.
  • Participate in ongoing discussion threads of the Choice Literacy Ning.

You can preview footage from the companion DVD given to participants in the player below:



Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan met fourteen years ago and knew right away they were a match made in professional heaven. They taught together at a laboratory school at Tufts University in Boston and moved on to work as curriculum coordinators at a large public school district. They realized they loved teaching adults and having dialogues with other practitioners. In their current consultation work, they work with a half dozen districts in New England on long-term assessment and curriculum develop projects, building internal expertise and collaboration at each site. They are the authors of the book Assessment in Perspective.

Testimonials from previous Choice Literacy workshops led by Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan:


This is the highest quality of presenters - the day is packed with information to take immediately back to the classroom. There is a true appreciation of teachers in this workshop.

                                                                                   Geri Williams


In a time when assessment is all over the page, it is refreshing to participate in a day where informal assessments are deemed valuable as well as formal assessments. I enjoyed the relaxed, small-group atmosphere.

                                                                                  Leslie Paul


This workshop is wonderful and would be great for a school team to attend. We are all facing the same issues no matter where we are from - the information is valuable and applicable.

                                                                               Jeanne Wood


I now have several "how tos" that I can use with my faculty. Even though the participants were from several states, the material presented was timely for us all. It was so relevant.

                                                                             Sharon Cantrell


As a literacy coach, the ideas for protocols in meetings and jointly planning a lesson were the most helpful to me. I wish others from my district had the opportunity to attend.

                                                                                 Teresa Williams


Presenters modeled good pedagogy - much of the day was totally at my district's point of need, even as I made connections to other districts from so many far-flung places! Thank you!

                                                                                       Ann Hengen


It was all very helpful - the protocols for lifting the quality of instruction and the information really got me thinking and probably will be where I begin.

                                                                                   Debbie Andrews


I loved the video clips and the follow-up discussion right after. It was a nice, small group of people. You made the work seem doable and not frightening - thanks, Clare and Tammy!

                                                                              Jeannie Ferguson


It was so helpful how you interacted with the group and kept the day moving along with lots of great dialogue. The content was "easy" to transfer to our schools on Monday. The materials you provided will help.

                                                                                      Jennifer Ward




Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan have been working in the field of professional development for the past 16 years. They now run a private staff development business, Teachers for Teachers, working with varied school systems to implement best practices in the field of literacy and to engage in institutional change.  They are the authors of Assessment in Perspective.

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