Getting Started with Questions about Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning

  • Selected Literacy Topics: Assessment , Common Core Standards
  • Topics: Formative
  • Capacity Building: Using Evidence
  • File Type: Tool/Protocol
  • Sample Questions
    What should all students know and be able to do by the end of this unit of study? How will we monitor student progress?
    What evidence will best indicate the effectiveness and impact of ________ strategy on learning?
    How do we assess our students' abilities to read, write, speak, and listen like historians (or scientists, or mathematicians, or artists, etc)?
    How do we effectively transition from letter grades to standards-based grading? 

    Issues related to the use of evidence to inform decisions span across the disciplines, grade levels, and roles in education. Many groups associated with the National Center for Literacy Education and from across the 30+ stakeholder organizations are wrestling with various aspects of formative and summative assessments to inform instruction and program decisions.  While some strategies and questions are appropriate for any discipline, other strategies and questions will be discipline-specific.  Regardless, we have much to learn from one another.

    These resources are meant to be starting points for digging into the topic of using evidence.

    Before you begin:

    • Use evidence to name a key question that will lead to strengthened teaching and learning.
    • Establish a set of steps for addressing the question, perhaps incorporating one or more of the resources below.
    • Use templates such as NCLE's Inquiry Guide and tools such as the Questions That Matter Primer for formalizing this process.


    Consider the following to begin digging into questions of using evidence to guide teaching and learning:

    Get to know the Data Standard from Learning Forward's Standards for Professional Learning.
    Using Formative Reading Assessment to Enhance Content Area Learning with Scott Filkins and Cara Gutzmer. (This web seminar provides formative assessment strategies that can be used across content areas.)

    Learn with and from other teams doing this work:

    Frame your evidence conversations using tools such as "Types of Data Conversations" or one of the "Looking at Student Work" protocols.

    Differentiated Assessment and Grading: Fair Isn't Always Equal with Rick Wormeli. (This web seminar discusses standards-based grading in the differentiated classroom.)

    Share what your team is learning from their use of evidence, and seek feedback from others during a Practice Exchange experience such as New Haven's Evidence Fair.

    Share your team's story of collaboration and inquiry by joining the
    NCLE network of collaborative teams.