Assessment Stories On the Ground - National Council of Teachers of English
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Assessment Stories On the Ground

From the NCTE Standing Committee on Literacy Assessment


This post was written by NCTE member Bobbie Kabuto, a member of the NCTE Standing Committee on Literacy Assessment.


The widespread move to distance learning has placed many challenges on K–12 educators. Teachers are not only at the center of trying to establish a narrative of what education looks like in an online format. Teachers are also on the ground running the day-to-day learning experiences, as they worry if their students are okay during these unprecedented times.

Many states have canceled their state testing. Yet, the pressures of finding ways to document students’ learning experiences in an online format have not subsided. Key Takeaways from a Survey of NCTE State Policy Analysts reported that state testing results are still used for student promotion to the next grade and teacher evaluations. In the absence of standardized testing, more focus will be placed on performance and authentic assessments. While teachers know how to do this in a traditional classroom setting, they are grappling with how to authentically assess learning in an online environment that is not necessarily conducive to observing in-the-moment learning processes.

In addition, the move to online learning in K–12 classrooms has highlighted the economic disparities in access to online education, as described in a New York Times article.

To better understand the assessment challenges related to online learning, I interviewed two fifth-grade teachers, Livia Gama Fagundes and Serena Troiani, to discuss their experiences on the ground as K–12 educators. Both Livia and Serena are educators in the New York City metropolitan area, the epicenter of the current pandemic. The interview focused on the following questions:

  • What are your concerns or thoughts about teaching and assessing during these unsettled times?
  • With the move to distance learning, what challenges are you finding in relation to assessment?
  • How have you been able to modify your assessment practices in a distance learning format?
  • Given the current educational climate, what types of resources and support would you like as you move towards next school year?


Vimeo Video Link for Download:

Livia’s and Serena’s interviews illustrate the importance of having caring and knowledgeable teachers.

We invite you to tell us your assessment story here. This blog is part of a series that will address authentic assessment within distance learning. Check back here for future updates. Our next blog will focus on self-evaluation in online learning as we change the conversation on assessment during these extraordinary educational times.



Bobbie Kabuto is professor and chair of the Elementary and Early Childhood Education Department at Queens College, City University of New York. She chairs the NCTE Standing Committee on Assessment.