Guskey & Link

Assessment Leadership 
Southwest Allen County Schools

 Maximizing student learning through assessment leadership and literacy.


Why:   Assessment affects the lives of everyone involved in education: students, teachers, parents, school leaders, district administrators, state officials, and education policy makers. It is estimated that one-third of a teacher’s time at any level of education is spent in activities directly or indirectly related to assessment of student learning. Despite its inescapable presence and the many critical decisions made in education based on assessment results, many in education lack the depth of knowledge and understanding needed to guide appropriate assessment practice or the implementation of effective assessment policies.

Goal:   Our goal is to provide Southwest Allen County Schools’ (SACS) educators with the assessment literacy they need to have an improved, specific understanding of student performance. This understanding will allow educators to more clearly and effectively communicate student progress and outcomes with parents, other stakeholders, each other, and students themselves. By modeling the best of assessment practice and engaging educators in detailed discussions on the development, interpretation, and use of assessments, we aim to offer an engaging learning experience that will help SACS educators become deeply knowledgeable and highly skilled in this vital area of modern education.

Who:   All SACS building-level leaders, identified central-office leaders, and selected teacher leaders will take part. We recommend participation of collaborative school teams consisting of building leaders and selected lead teachers as frequently as possible. This assessment leadership team will be responsible for redelivering content, piloting Mastery Learning assessment approaches, modeling effective assessments for peers, participating in research, assisting with the development of corporation-wide assessment protocols, and re-envisioning the elementary school report card.

When:   January, 2018 – May, 2019

Where:   Various locations throughout SACS

How:   Drs. Thomas Guskey and Laura Link (see accompanying biographies) will facilitate group learning though expert presentations, personalized survey administration with shared results, book/article study, best practice empirical research and transfer-to-practice activities. Learning will be in person and online through use of SACS’ learning management system. Dr. Link will additionally serve as the local facilitator and contact.

Instructor Biographies

Thomas R. Guskey, Ph.D.,
is Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he began his career in education as a middle school teacher, served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools, and was the first Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, a national educational research center. Dr. Guskey served on the Policy Research Team of the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future, on the Task Force to develop the National Standards for Staff Development, and was named a Fellow in the American Educational Research Association – one of the Association’s highest honors. He is the author/editor of 21 award-winning books and more than 250 book chapters and articles that have appeared in prominent research journals as well as Educational Leadership, Kappan, and School Administrator. His most recent books include On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting (2015), Reaching the Highest Standard in Professional Learning: Data (with P. Roy & V. Von Frank, 2014), Answers to Essential Questions about Standards, Assessments, Grading, and Reporting (with L. Jung, 2013), Benjamin S. Bloom: Portraits of an Educator (2nd ed., 2012), and Developing Standards-Based Report Cards (with J. Bailey).


Laura J. Link, Ed.D.,

is an Assistant Professor in the Professional Studies Department of the College of Education and Public Policy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.  She holds a doctorate in Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Memphis, and her research focuses on developing and supporting highly-effective leaders and organizational cultures that prioritize collaboration, meaningful assessment, and effective grading practices. She is the co-author of Cornerstones of Strong Schools: Practices for Purposeful Leadership (with J. Zoul, 2007), and author of the forthcoming book chapter Leadership in Grading Reform in What Do We Know About Grading? (

Guskey, T. R., & Brookhart, S. M., Eds., 2018) and article titled Teachers’ Perceptions of Grading Practices: How Pre-service Training Makes a Difference (January, 2018). Dr. Link serves on IPFW’s CAEP Assessment Steering Committee, co-leads district-wide K-12 Assessment Leadership Academies, co-facilitates IPFW’s Leadership Academy, directs IPFW’s Professors in Partnership K-16 collaborative, and has led an array of other professional development academies, classes and initiatives over her career. Since 2002, Dr. Link has presented locally and nationally on the topics of high-impact leadership, teacher support, K-12 grading, and more.

Before joining IPFW, Dr. Link served as Chief Academic Officer at Jackson-Madison County Schools in Jackson, TN, and was Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning as well as Chief of Talent Management for Shelby County Schools in Memphis, TN, the 14th largest school district in the nation. She served as 1 of 7 Transition Steering Committee members charged with leading the largest school district merger in United States’ history. Additionally, Dr. Link has served in an array of central office and school-based administrative roles (in both urban and suburban settings) and has taught elementary, middle, high school and college students over her 27 years in public and private education. Dr. Link also served as a long-standing state Board Member of Learning Forward Tennessee and is currently the state President of Learning Forward Indiana, a professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in K-16 professional development.