Developing a High Quality Balanced Assessment System

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Developing a High Quality Balanced Assessment System, describes the components of a balanced assessment system including assessment for and of learning.

You will become familiar with the Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as the core of the module. Upon completion of the module, you will be able to identify various uses and users of assessment, distinguish among types of assessments and begin the development of a balanced assessment plan.

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Understanding the Formative Assessment Process

Self-paced course

This foundational module, The Formative Assessment Process describes how educators use formative assessment strategies within the instructional cycle. You will become familiar with the Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as the core of the module.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to explain the five components of formative assessment, how to use the formative assessment process effectively, the importance of timely, formative feedback, and how professional learning and administrative support can enhance the learning process.

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Selecting Appropriate Assessments

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Selecting Appropriate Assessments, provides guidelines you can use to select sound assessments. You will become familiar with the Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as the core of the module.

Upon completion of the module, you will be familiar with criteria for selecting assessments, how to determining rigor in assessments, and specific responsibilities and available resources to support the selection process.

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Developing Appropriate Assessments

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Developing Appropriate Assessment provides an overview of the assessment development process for the practitioner. You will become familiar with the Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as the core of the module.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to explain the five keys to quality assessments, the purpose of a test blueprint and how to create one, and how to match targets with various methods of assessment.

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Making Meaning from Student Assessments

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Making Meaning from Student Assessments provides knowledge of six key concepts that are essential in translating student assessment evidence in ways that are useful to students, teachers, administrators, parents and other necessary parties. The concepts include success criteria, rubrics, exemplars, scoring procedures, student self and peer assessment, scoring procedures and formative feedback.

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Understanding the Technical Concepts Used in Student Assessment

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Understanding the Technical Concepts Used in Student Assessment describes in simplified language some important qualities of technically sound assessments and assessment strategies.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to identify how technical concepts contribute to accurate information, make better choices of assessment use, and communicate more accurately about assessments and assessment results.

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Assessment Systems that Support 21st Century Learners

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Assessment Systems that Support 21st Century Learners, describes the higher order, complex thinking skills that today’s students need to be successful, as well as the implications the skills have for assessment, teaching and learning. You will also learn about the conditions necessary for balanced assessment systems and the leadership actions and stakeholder involvement needed to support them.

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Using Assessment Data Well

Self-paced course

The foundational module, Using Assessment Data Well, provides a set of beliefs or guidelines for consideration that drive quality assessment systems. You will become familiar with eight considerations for building a data culture, and how to strategically determine what data to collect for what uses, and how to best communicate data results to the appropriate users. You will also become familiar with the Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as the core of the module.

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to identify quality assessment beliefs or guidelines that are necessary to support all learners, understand and describe the components, processes, and systems that contribute to a strong data culture, and understand how to use and communicate data results to improve student learning and strengthen educational programs in school systems.

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Collaborative Inquiry

Self-paced course

This foundational module, Collaborative Inquiry, provides an overview of the collaborative inquiry process and how it ties to the Assessment Literacy Standards.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to list the key ingredients for learning that lead to change, define collaborative inquiry, list the benefits of collaborative inquiry, and describe the phases of the Collaborative Spiral of Inquiry.

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About the Michigan Assessment Consortium

Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC)

Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC) is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to provide state-wide guidance and direction related to quality assessment practices and balanced assessment systems. Available through Michigan Virtual’s Professional Learning Portal are MAC’s Assessment Learning Modules.

All Assessment Learning Modules are aligned to Assessment Literacy Standards that serve as a core to all MAC professional learning opportunities. The MAC created the Assessment Literacy Standards to inform educators about sound assessment policy, support credentialing professional learning opportunities and inform public policy. These standards were endorsed by the Michigan State Board of Education in May of 2016.

The modules were developed by nationally known assessment experts Ed Roeber, Ellen Vorenkamp, and Carol Commodore, and collaborative inquiry expert Amy Colton.

Ed RoeberEd Roeber, Ph.D. is the Director of Assessment at the Michigan Assessment Consortium and serves on its board. He is also Managing Partner of Assessments Solution Group. Previously Dr. Roeber served as an assessment advisor to the WIDA program at the University of Wisconsin, and as an adjunct professor of Measurement and Quantitative Measurement at Michigan State University. Other roles of his include Senior Executive Director, Office of Educational Assessment & Accountability at the Michigan Department of Education; Vice President, External Relations for Measured Progress; Director of Student Assessment Programs for the Council of Chief State School Officers; and, Supervisor of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program for the Michigan Department of Education.


Ellen VorenkampEllen Vorenkamp, Ed.D., is a former middle school teacher, assistant principal and curriculum director. She is currently an Assessment Consultant at Wayne RESA and an adjunct professor at Concordia University. She is also the president and owner of MJK Educational Consulting LLC, a Lead Coach for the Michigan Department of Education’s Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators (FAME) project, a member of the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Education and Innovation advisory board, as well as a board member for the Michigan Assessment Consortium.


Carol CommodoreCarol Commodore is an independent consultant whose special interests center on leadership, assessment, systems thinking, motivation, creativity and learning. An educator for more than 30 years, she served as a classroom teacher, a department chair, an assistant superintendent and an assessment coordinator. During her tenure as a district leader, she facilitated the establishment of new programs in the areas of balanced assessment, teacher mentorship and foreign language. Carol has co-authored four books in the areas of assessment and leadership, her most recent being Balanced Assessment Systems: Leadership, Quality and the Role of Classroom Assessment (2017). Carol is a founding member of the Wisconsin Assessment Consortium and is currently serving as a critical friend to the National Task Force on Assessment Education. Carol presents and consults for local, state, national and international organizations across North America, Asia, and the Middle East.


Photo of Amy ColtonAmy Colton is a senior consultant for Learning Forward and Executive Director of Learning Forward Michigan. Amy’s work is influenced by her experience as a special education teacher and a district professional learning consultant. As a teacher-in-residence for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, she coordinated the development of the Board’s first teaching certificate. She engages district staff in a variety of learning experiences in support of their journey to cultural competence. In addition, Amy facilitates professional learning in the areas of Collaborative Inquiry, Teacher Leadership, PLC Development, and the Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Professional Learning. Amy is the co-creator of the Collaborative Analysis of Student Learning, a collaborative inquiry process that engages teachers in the study of student work to improve their practice. Her work appears in many publications, including The Learning Professional, ASCD, and Corwin Press. She also serves as Learning Forward’s lead evaluator and project manager for the Learning School Designation.


The modules also include ideas and support from Rick Stiggins, Margaret Heritage, Susan Brookhart, Carol Commodore, Ken O’ Conner and James Popham. Editing was done by Nancy Fahner, an educational consultant specializing in professional development, collaborative learning, facilitation, and editing.

Each Assessment Learning Module provides an opportunity for engagement, reflection and access to tools and other resources that can continue to support educators’ professional practice.

For more information on the Michigan Assessment Consortium, the Assessment Literacy Standards and the Assessment Learning Modules, please visit the Michigan Assessment Consortium website.

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Keep up with the latest Michigan Virtual has to offer

Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.