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Micro Grants

Funding to Seed and Scale

Micro grants are one part of Assessment for Learning’s ways of learning together, as we know that funding this work is important. To this end, we put the call out for proposals from teams who have a clear learning priority connected to the AFL Theory of Action or our guiding question: How does Assessment for Learning relate to learner belonging, equity, and liberation? Awards are made in various amounts to support the team’s work on the ground.


When selecting grantees, we strive to look for teams comprised of diverse community members across age, role, and range of racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender and sexual identities that might also include students, caregivers/families, and/or other community partners. 


Grantees are then invited to share their learning with the wider Assessment for Learning Community whether that is through virtual webinars, attending a convening or gathering, or blogging about their journey exploring their inquiry questions.


Check out the grantees below and see what they’re working on!

Winter 2023 Grantees

Low Country Education Consortium (South Carolina)
  • How can our Community of Practice utilize a robust online course catalog shared across our partnership network to expand students' opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences?

Cuba High School (Cuba, NM)
  • What happens when learning and assessment process becomes transparent to the community, shifting the power to students as leaders and elevates the cultural and linguistic wealth in the community? How is student engagement and belonging affected when young people are paid for their work in the community, honoring their time, energy, expertise, and knowledge? 

Escondido Union High School District (Escondido, CA)
  • How might we engage families to build a shared understanding of equitable assessment design? How might family engagement impact our assessment practice?

Desert View High School Learning Ambassadors (Sunnyside Unified School District)
  • How can we codify a structure in which students partner with educators and peers to learn, discuss and inform formative assessment and student agency skill development across Desert View High School and SUSD? 

Laconia School District (Laconia, NH)
  • As we continue our work with PBL and PBA,  how do we strengthen the students Learning Exhibition?

Clark Street Community School (Middleton, WI)
  • How can we best utilize our common, school-wide rubrics and our commitment to youth adult partnerships to help learners deepen their understanding of the liberatory power of feedback and revision cycles?

San Marcos Middle School (San Marcos, CA)
  • How are we three dimensionally assessing our student learning using common rubrics in our science department?

San Diego Unified School District - Science Cohort
  • How can we create assessments (performance tasks/project-based assessments) that empower students' sense of identity and appreciation of their cultural knowledge?

Office of Innovation for Education - University of Arkansas
  • How do we involve more educators, particularly those from our underserved communities, in developing their understanding of how to use Assessment for Learning as a powerful tool for developing belonging and supporting equity in their classrooms?

Alternative Choices in Education x Aurora Institute, CompetencyWorks
  • Through inquiry around the role assessment for learning practices can play in a competency-based education system, Alternative Choices in Education (ACE) sought to host a learning visit that brings together competency-based educators to explore questions of how assessment for learning relates to learner belonging, equity, and liberation?

Tucson Unified School District x Future Focused Education
  • How does community engagement combined with youth participatory action research (YPAR) provide students with opportunities to engage in high-level assessment outcomes through rich and meaningful learning experiences that promote equity and support necessary change in and outside the classroom?

Spring/Summer 2023 Grantees

Alabama Aerospace & Aviation High School (Alabama)
  • Through the practice of Healing Circles and the embedding of cultural practices into the culture of the school and classrooms, how might we center Black, Brown and Indigenous rituals, practices and ways of knowing in support of healing and joy of all learners at ALAAHS?

Capital District Writing Project (oakland, California)
  • The Capital District Writing Project will explore how to create conditions for belonging, equity, and liberation by approaching assessment through an artistic lens. Building on questions of “education freedom dreams,” the Capital District Writing Project will explore the following questions: 

    • What happens when we come together as a community to design new approaches to assessment reflective of the arts and of freedom dreaming? 

    • How can teaching artists help us revolutionize our approach to assessment? 

    • What do we learn when students co-design assessments?

    • How can our assessments move towards what students know as opposed to what they don't know? 

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (michigan)
  • In the practice of place-based education what are some key design elements of a system that provides students with equitable access to a community’s social capital?  Specifically, we are interested in coming together of a digital platform (created by CommunityShare) that matches community partners with teachers (and their students) to help them co-create and organize local stewardship projects with a broad, relationship-rich support system for place-based learning, how can we integrate the power and efficiencies of technology with the thoughtful, caring support of humans?  

The Kohala Center, Inc. (Hawai'i)
  • What tools might we as a team develop that will help our community of learners to assess for belonging, equity, and liberation of individuals, collectives, and ecosystems through ʻāina accountability?

Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment (at University of Massachusetts Amherst) 
  • How do we create a school-wide performance assessment system that promotes learner belonging, equity, and liberation, and that maximizes local innovation, creativity, and tailoring to each community’s assets and needs? How do we demonstrate that this school-wide performance assessment system improves demonstrations of academic proficiency and growth among  students of color, low-income students, English Learners, and students with disabilities?

New Hampshire Learning Initiative (New Hampshire)
  • New Hampshire Learning Initiative seeks to design an educator community of practice to support assessment for learning and create the conditions for learner belonging, equity, and liberation? As they pursue this learning community, they will explore the following questions: 

    • How might we access student funds of knowledge and the role of place based learning in creating classrooms that are agile and responsive to student learning?

    • How do we create identity safe classrooms? 

    • How might we expand the invitation to other teachers ie: NH PLACE for an ongoing community of practice on assessment for learning? 

Oakland High School Environmental Science Academy (oakland, ca)
  • How can student-driven, graduate capstone community action projects: 

    •  provide students with an experience of equitable participation in a group, a sense of belonging, and participation in liberatory action for their communities?

    • empower students to be assessment-capable learners able to drive their own learning goals?

    • build student confidence and competence in their career pathway-aligned content knowledge and skills so they develop a strong academic identity?

San Diego Unified School District, Instructional Innovation Department (san diego, ca)
  • We will explore the intersection of connecting standards-aligned content within meaningful, diverse, student-centered contexts, through the lens of instructional best practices and bright spots. It is important that we, as a large district who serves multiculturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse student populations, make visible how educators are designing and bringing students into the learning process so that they can have a greater sense of connection, belonging, and overall engagement. From this line of inquiry, our team is hoping to better understand:

  • How teachers might invite students into the instructional design and/or feedback process?

  • What practices are teachers leveraging to promote learner-centered, standards-aligned instruction and assessment of learning?

  • What would it look like to have bodies of evidence (varied assessments) where context (student-centered design) and content (standards-alignment) are present?

  • What are implications for learner equity and belonging when both content and context are intentionally paired?

Science Leadership Academy Middle School (Philadelphia School District) 
  • In the third year of implementing a Grading for Equity inspired pilot, Science Leadership Academy will explore what they are learning from their pilot, how their work has influenced student and parent agency, and get a deeper understanding of how their learners have influenced their system. 

Skyline High School Capstone Project (Oakland Unified School District) 
  • How can we design Capstone Action Project scaffolds and assessments that uplift and expand our students' sense of belonging, equity, and liberation, especially for our Black students?

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