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Expeditionary Learning Releases Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment

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    Lauren Parent

New Book Offers a Revolutionary Approach to Student Assessment

New York – January 14, 2014 – Expeditionary Learning, a leading K-12 education non-profit at the forefront of the movement to raise expectations and outcomes for students, teachers, and schools, today released its new book - Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment, authored by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, and Libby Woodfin. The book provides everything teachers and school leaders need to implement a Student-Engaged Assessment system in their schools.

Student-Engaged Assessment is not a single practice. It is an approach to teaching and learning that equips and compels students to understand goals for their learning and growth, track their progress toward those goals, and take responsibility for reaching them. This requires a set of interrelated strategies and structures and a whole-school culture in which students are given the respect and responsibility to be meaningfully engaged in their own learning.

Leaders of Their Own Learning draws upon Expeditionary Learning’s 20 years of experience in helping teachers and schools do more than they think possible. The book provides a blueprint for igniting students’ capacity to take responsibility for their own learning, building the independence, critical thinking skills, perseverance, and self-reflective understanding they need to meet the demands of the Common Core, reach higher levels of achievement, and succeed in college, career, and life,” Berger said.

The book contains chapters on eight key practices that will engage students in making academic progress, improve achievement, and involve families and communities in the life of the school. Each chapter describes a practice, gives advice on how to begin, and explains what teachers and school leaders need to put student-engaged assessment into practice in their own classrooms and schools. The companion DVD offers compelling video clips that illustrate the practices in real schools with real students—to serve as models, raise questions, and stimulate discussion.

“With increasing emphasis on students leading their learning, Expeditionary Learning has been consistently turning this lofty aspiration into proven classroom practice. Leaders of Their Own Learning is an essential guide for practitioners about how meaningful assessment processes truly are a valuable learning tool,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and governor of West Virginia, 2001–2005.

Mr. Wise added: “This book uses experience and data to show how reaching college- and career-ready goals is accomplished by comparing individual performance to standards, not by comparing students to each other. While written for teachers and school leaders, this book will also be invaluable to policy makers seeking to implement the intentions of college- and career-ready standards.”

Leaders of Their Own Learning was published by Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand; Paper or eBook; ISBN: 978-1-118-65544-3.

For more information and to view a video trailer of the book, visit   

About Ron Berger

Ron Berger is Chief Academic Officer for Expeditionary Learning. Ron was a public school teacher and master carpenter in rural Massachusetts for over 25 years. His writing and speaking center on inspiring quality and character in students, specifically through project-based learning, original scientific and historical research, service learning, and the infusion of arts. He works with the national character education movement to embed character values into the core of academic work. Ron works closely with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he did his graduate work and now teaches a course that uses exemplary student work to illuminate Common Core State Standards.