Student empowerment is an important movement in education, and is of especially great interest in student assessment circles.
In the state of Oregon, raising the level of student empowerment has even resulted in legislation for a Student Assessment Bill of Rights. Oregon House Bill 2655, which was moved into law in 2015, states that students are vested with certain inalienable rights including:
- Students are entitled to know the purpose of each assessment in which they participate; that is, they have a right to know specifically how the results will be used and by whom.
- Students are entitled to know and understand the learning target(s) to be reflected in the exercises and scoring guides that make up any and all assessments.
- Students are entitled to understand the differences between good and poor performance on pending assessments and to learn to self-assess their progress toward mastery.
- Students are entitled to dependable assessment of their achievement gathered using quality assessments.
- Students are entitled to effective communication of their assessment results, whether those results are being delivered to them, their families, or others concerned with their academic well-being.
“It may be unusual and may be difficult for some in the education ecosystem to acknowledge that students have these rights,” says assessment expert Rick Stiggins, considered by many to be the ‘Father of Student Assessments’. He penned the rights, which are now law in Oregon and being adopted around the country. California’s San Diego County Office of Education has printed the published the Student’s Bill of Assessment Rights for all to see.
Stiggens stated in EdWeek in 2015:
Students themselves may have difficulty asserting their assessment rights at least until high school and, even then, their ability and power to do so will be limited. For this reason, those rights are…entitlements that school leaders and teachers, as well as parents and communities, must protect and honor. School policies and practices that violate these rights should be abandoned. In the service of maintaining a foundation of assessment literacy in American schools, students should be reminded of their rights on a regular basis.
Empowering students by granting them rights when it comes to assessments can be a valuable tool in moving their learning forward. Armed with a better understanding of what they are expected to learn and how they will be graded, and giving them a leading role in their own education will improve their learning and responsibility for growth.