SOURCE: Solution Tree

Solution Tree, a professional development company

January 09, 2017 16:59 ET

New Title Helps Educators Move Beyond Outdated Grading Practices

BLOOMINGTON, IN--(Marketwired - January 09, 2017) - Solution Tree, an educational publisher and professional development provider, has announced the release of Essential Assessment by Cassandra Erkens, Tom Schimmer and Nicole Dimich Vagle.

Developed for K-12 school leaders, administrators, classroom teachers and instructors in higher education, this new title offers practical guidance for transitioning from outdated assessment practices to an effective assessment system that instills hope, efficacy and achievement in students. Authors Erkens, Schimmer and Vagle explain, "While we know much about how sound assessment practices contribute to achievement and student motivation, the gap between knowing and doing remains a vital point of interest as we build our capacity to put theory into practice."

Essential Assessment introduces six essential tenets of assessment that can deepen teachers' understanding of assessment to meet standards and enhance students' academic success and self-fulfillment: student investment, productive communication, planned assessment architecture, purposeful assessment, instructional agility and accurate interpretation.

"Combining hope and assessment in one title is a masterpiece," raved John Hattie, director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute in Australia. "Very well written, with plenty of examples and great resources. After reading it, you should be able to turn hope into action."

Eric Twadell, superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Illinois, added, "For far too long, assessment is something that has been done to students by teachers -- a game of 'gotcha' in which students rarely know the rules and typically end up feeling defeated. In Essential Assessment, Erkens, Schimmer and Vagle provide a clear picture of what powerful assessment practices look like when they are focused on learning."

Each chapter opens with a scenario that illustrates a traditional, outmoded assessment practice still being used in the classroom. A revised scenario concludes each chapter, highlighting the power of a specific tenet. Synthesized research, implementation strategies and suggested next steps for teams are included throughout the resource.

Essential Assessment is now available to order at

About the Authors

Cassandra Erkens is a presenter, facilitator, coach, trainer of trainers, keynote speaker, author and above all, a teacher. She presents nationally and internationally on assessment, instruction, school improvement and professional learning communities.

Tom Schimmer is an author and a speaker with expertise in assessment, grading, leadership and behavioral support. Tom is a former district-level leader, school administrator and teacher. As a district-level leader, he was a member of the senior management team responsible for overseeing the efforts to support and build the instructional and assessment capacities of teachers and administrators.

Nicole Dimich Vagle has a passion for education and lifelong learning, which has led her to extensively explore, facilitate and implement innovative practices in school transformation. She works with elementary and secondary educators in presentations, trainings and consultations that address today's most critical issues, all in the spirit of facilitating increased student learning and confidence.

About the Solution Tree Assessment Center

The Solution Tree Assessment Center helps educators improve teaching and learning by strengthening schoolwide and districtwide assessment practices. Led by renowned Solution Tree assessment experts -- including Cassandra Erkens, Tom Schimmer and Nicole Dimich Vagle -- the center offers differentiated professional development for teachers, administrators and coaches. To learn more about the Solution Tree Assessment Center, visit

About Solution Tree

Solution Tree delivers comprehensive professional development to K-12 educators in schools and districts. Through Solution Tree's authors and experts, K-12 educators are empowered to raise student achievement through a range of topics including PLC, RTI, assessment, instruction, school culture, leadership and mathematics. Solution Tree's services and products include educator conferences, customized solutions for professional development, books, videos, online courses and Global PD. Last year, more than 25,000 educators attended Solution Tree events, and more than 3,000 days of professional development were delivered to teacher teams around the world.

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