Elevating Student Voice in Unprecedented Times: A Peek into the AFL 2021 Conference

The Assessment for Learning Conference is produced by the Assessment for Learning Project, in partnership with Envision Learning Partners and Leadership + Design. It is an annual exhibition of learning for a growing community of educators dedicated to building assessment systems from the student out, rather than the top down. 

In February we invited our community to #RethinkAccountability by posing these two questions:

1) What assessment for learning practices & strategies have been successful in supporting and recognizing learning that connects to students’ family, community, cultural and civic identities and assets? 

2) How have accountability processes and relationships adapted in the absence of state test results from spring 2020? What accountability innovations are emerging that more deeply embrace reciprocity?

Boston Public Schools 8th grade civics teacher Neema Avashia managed to answer both questions with the session below, on how she uses “What I Need (WIN) Circles” to learn from her students about how adults can best support their learning. When we view accountability as a top down activity whose main currency is standardized tests, we end up with a national discourse dominated by a narrow concept of “learning loss.”  But what if we view students as partners who are fully able to provide evidence that is (at least) as valid as standardized test scores? What possibilities might we create for how to support young people as we all recover from the many traumas of the last year?

As you watch the session, we invite you to think about where you sit in the education system and reflect on what evidence will help you make truly student-centered decisions in unprecedented times like these. 


The Assessment for Learning Project is a learning community and field building initiative led by the Center for Innovation in Education and NGLC. We believe that assessment has the potential to deepen student understanding, foster learner agency, and move our schools and systems toward greater equity. In order to realize this potential, we connect educators, systems leaders and researchers in shared inquiry and collaborative design.

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