Authentic Mixed Method Assessment (AMMA)

You know it’s time to stop teaching to the test, but you aren’t sure how else to get trackable, evidence-based assessments. Authentic Mixed Method Assessment (AMMA) shows you, in real time, which learners need help the most and why. And it doesn’t take time away from high-quality teaching – it enhances it.

AMMA gets to the heart of what each student needs by asking who they are and measuring what really matters in their lives, not just what’s easiest to measure.

Standardized tests provide part of the picture, and AMMA involves examining them alongside a range of other evidence, both qualitative and quantitative. By using clear rubrics and an easy-to-use data collection platform, we are able to capture this picture for every student and use it in real time.

Imagine that you are setting a reading target. You want to make sure that your students are reading at grade level, but you also want to make sure that they really enjoy reading and that it is meaningful to their lives and interests.

Standardized testing only gives you a very narrow slice of that target—it tells you if students can read the words. Authentic Mixed Method Assessment supports teachers not only in determining students’ reading level, but also in knowing whether students are truly engaged in reading. AMMA synthesizes a wide mix of evidence essential to truly understanding your students and their learning.

The result is a rating that is not just meaningful, but also actionable. It measures the extent to which we are or are not meeting our target and provides the path to meeting that target for each and every learner.

All learners are different. They learn differently, think differently, and they come from different cultures and backgrounds. To get a real sense of who they are and how they are learning, AMMA gathers a wide range of evidence and synthesizes it into a rating that tells us whether a student is on track to be successful or not.

Those evidence sources can include things like:

  • grades,
  • tests,
  • attendance and performance data,
  • parent and student interviews,
  • performance tasks,
  • surveys,
  • and any other piece of evidence that is important to learners in your district.

Those sources of evidence are then synthesized by that student’s teacher using very specific, straight-to-the-point rubrics that describe, across five different levels, exactly what success looks like for students and what it looks like when learners need more assistance.

AMMA is built around the understanding that teachers are professionals. Their experiences and observations are evidence. Their professional judgement, when appropriately accompanied by a rich mix of qualitative and quantitative evidence, is essential to getting to the root of how a learner is really doing.

For students who have fallen behind, making standard progress over the course of an academic year is not enough. If they are going to get back on track, these students must be accelerated, meaning they need to make more than a full year’s progress.

The Learner First rubrics define five levels of student achievement:

  1. Geared for success
  2. Well on track
  3. Possibly on track
  4. Not yet on track
  5. Substantially off track

As the year progresses, teachers continually ask themselves, “Which level is this student at?” and “What can I do to help this student reach the next level?”

AMMA requires educators to look deeply at their own practice to find out what they are doing that is working, what they are doing that is not working, and what they need to be doing to see greater success for their students.

Through this process, teachers build up their own tool kit for reaching and accelerating students. They are empowered to be the experts that they are, and they get to refocus their practice on what made them want to be educators in the first place: teaching kids.

Implementing a new system of evaluation means having tools that were custom tailored for that system. The Learner First provides you with rubrics, but we also provide you with a cutting-edge evaluation platform, The Lighthouse, that was built from the ground up to support AMMA.

Lighthouse brings together all the relevant information and puts it right at teachers’ fingertips, so they can spend less time digging through paperwork and databases, and more time making thoughtful judgements about how each student is doing.

Throughout the year, The Lighthouse allows you to keep track of students over time across whole schools and districts. It illuminates trends, and helps you pinpoint areas of weakness and areas of real progress and success.

What gets measured gets focused on. By tracking students in this way, we are opening the door to personalized learning that is deep, meaningful and fun for learners.

By looking at learners beyond just the narrow view that test scores give us, we are allowing educators to start understanding each learner as an individual, and to start teaching to the things that engage and excite them. By refocusing teaching and learning onto the whole child, AMMA lets us engage with and create personalized experiences for the whole child. Testing is important, but with AMMA it’s not the only thing that’s important.

The Learner First offers a number of options to help you start moving toward AMMA. Whether you are looking for coaching, professional learning, or a whole system approach with The Learner First, we have the tools and knowhow to get you on track.