Collaborative Teams That Transform Schools

Collaborative Teams That Transform Schools

The Next Step in PLCs

Explore research-based steps and strategies you can use to increase the effectiveness of collaborative teams and enhance professional learning communities.





Discover a practical, comprehensive model of effective professional learning communities. In this user-friendly guide, educators explore research-based steps and strategies they can use to increase the effectiveness of collaborative teams and enhance PLCs. Examine how the PLC process can transform critical components of education—including curriculum, assessment, instruction, and teacher development—and use reproducible agendas, scales, and checklists to improve schoolwide practices.


  • Gain a model of effective instruction and strategies for direct instruction.
  • Explore resources for collaborative teams to use as they have honest and challenging discussions, set and monitor norms, and focus on the right work.
  • Chart progress and transformation with self-evaluation surveys.
  • Study vignettes that depict how real schools have successfully implemented the strategies outlined in each chapter.
  • Answer comprehension questions to review each chapters main points.

Media Type







Professional Learning Communities

Publication Date

25 Jan 2016

Editorial Reviews

“Cassandra Erkens clearly lays out misconceptions and pitfalls teams are likely to encounter. She makes a strong argument for the importance of PLC-embedded collaborative common assessment development and offers effective protocols that help teams understand and act on their data.”

—Jan Chappuis, author, educational researcher, and consultant,, Portland, Oregon

“Collaborative Common Assessments is set to become the definitive guide for educators who are serious about utilizing common assessments to support learning rather than simply monitoring it. Grounded in research, thorough in explanation, and supported by powerful examples and stories from the field, this book will guide PLCs to use common assessments to impact both learners and teachers in positive, meaningful, results-driven ways.”

—Tom Schimmer, author and consultant, Tom Schimmer Consulting, Vancouver, Canada

“Assessment is the process of gathering evidence of student achievement to inform instructional decision making. Cassie helps us understand that the quality and helpfulness of the decision turns on the quality of the evidence on which it is based. When the decision context calls for comparable evidence across classrooms, she shows us why common assessments are the key to success. In such instances, I urge that you follow her instructions.”

—Rick Stiggins, author and consultant, Assessment Training Institute, Portland, Oregon

“Collaborative Common Assessments brings compelling clarity, meaning, and power to the work of common assessmentsnot as another high-stakes assessment event, but as a focused practice that helps all students learn. Through a well-designed, research-based framework, this book is an excellent guide for educators in their pursuit of authentic collaboration that helps bring hope and inspiration to students. The practical strategies and tools provide invaluable explanations and ideas that lead to significant collaboration, with deep impact on students and teachers alike.”

—Nicole Dimich Vagle, author and consultant, Lighthouse Learning Community, Minneapolis, Minnesota

“Erkens provides educators with a comprehensive resource to effectively implement and utilize data from common formative assessments so they can benefit studentsthose that matter the most. This amazing, extensive, and well-researched resource is a must for schools to implement high-quality assessment and data at the school level.”

—Kimberly Zeidler-Watters, director, Partnership Institute for Math and Science Education Reform (PIMSER), University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky