Professional Learning Opportunities


Data and Assessment Literacy (MnDAL) Professional Learning Opportunities

The opportunities below offer various levels of support for educators and leaders interested in furthering their learning about assessment and data use. 

  1. On-Demand Learning (MnDAL Course for Educators and Leaders)
  2. Implementing the MnDAL Course with Teachers (virtual community of practice meetings)
  3. Year-long cohort for teacher teams: Student Agency in Learning (SAIL)

1. On-Demand Learning: MnDAL for Educators and Leaders Online Course

MDE partnered with WestEd to produce a growing library of professional learning resources for teachers and leaders in the Canvas learning platform. Each module contains articles, discussion boards, videos, and activities for use in professional learning. Preview and access each topic at the On-Demand Learning page

2. Implementing the MnDAL Course at your site - Virtual Community of Practice Meetings

Join a monthly Community of Practice series focused on the content of the MnDAL online learning course during the 2023–24 school year. This series invites school and district leaders to come together to collaborate around ways to use content from the MnDAL modules to enhance data and assessment literacy throughout their system, leading to improved educational opportunities for students and teachers.
Meetings will be held virtually once a month beginning in September, with a Tuesday afternoon and a Friday morning option available to participants.

During each meeting, participants will be expected to have reviewed the modules outlined for each session, and be willing to implement the tools and discuss ideas with others. 


Participants will become familiar with collaborative data-based decision making and assessment literacy concepts. Participants will receive a curriculum framework and tools to use for structuring professional learning at their own sites.

  • Participants can earn educator CEUs for each meeting attended.
  • Leaders can earn administrative CEUs for attending all four meetings. 

3. Year-Long Cohort: Student Agency in Learning (SAIL) 

In the 2022-23 school year, teams of educators and leaders from 15 schools across the state participated in Minnesota’s first Student Agency in Learning (SAIL) cohort. SAIL content integrates principles of formative assessment with student identity, and classroom culture - to enrich and deepen instructional practice in support of student agency. MDE is excited to announce the application is open for teams interested in participating in the 2023-24 school year! 

If you are ready to register for the 2023-24 cohort, please submit one application for your site team by June 30th.

Each school-based team should include one school leader, one site facilitator (teacher or leader), and at least four additional teachers. School system leaders like instructional coaches, peer coaches, and RCE advocates are encouraged to apply as part of a school-based team. Leaders play a significant role in supporting the opportunities, culture and conditions that advance teacher learning. Schools that are most successful in SAIL have teachers and leaders working alongside one another to learn about and support the changing roles of students, through formative assessment. Lastly, teams should already have an established meeting structure for professional learning (like MnMTSS linked teams; PLCs, co-planning or grade-level teams) that meet weekly or bi-weekly within your school schedule. This is critical successfully planning the site-based community of practice meetings.

Teachers will participate in continuous learning cycles of new content, the application of formative assessment skills in the classroom, community of practice meetings, and self-reflection on progress within a blended, digital and in-person learning design. The blended learning design encourages teachers to take risks and integrate new content with existing expertise, while also developing an awareness of where they will lean in to improve student outcomes.


By the end of the year-long cohort, teachers report a significant shift in students’ development in their formative assessment practice over time. Through SAIL, teachers learn how to explicitly model and teach students to:
  • Use success criteria to guide their learning
  • Talk about evidence of their learning
  • Persevere in their learning
  • Give more thoughtful and extended answers during classroom dialogue
  • Engage with feedback to further their own, and peers, learning
  • Set academic and personal goals
  • Ask questions of themselves and others
  • Reflect on and learn from mistakes
All materials and training on facilitation will be provided, as well as cohort meetings to discuss what is and isn’t working and learn from a network of peers across the state. 
If you would like more information about SAIL or would like to still participate in the 2023-24 school year, please contact Kendra Olsen.
SAIL Module Content
ModuleTitle and TimeLearning Outcomes

Introduction to Formative Assessment and Student Agency

3-4 Weeks

Teachers will be able to:

  • Describe the changing roles of students and teachers in formative assessment
  • Articulate formative assessment as a process of eliciting, interpreting, and using evidence during learning
  • Articulate the relationship between formative assessment, learning culture, student identity, and agency

Eliciting and Interpreting Evidence

4-5 Weeks

Teachers will be able to:

  • Identify classroom routines through which to elicit and use evidence of learning from students
  • Develop strategies for students to understand what success will look like if they have met the learning goal
  • Apply key practices to strengthen key conditions (learning culture, identity, agency) that are prerequisites to students’ use of evidence

Using Learning Goals and Success Criteria

4-5 Weeks

Teachers will be able to:
  • Create learning goals and success criteria for students
  • Engage students in co-creating learning goals and success criteria
  • Articulate how learning goals and success criteria support students to use evidence of learning

Teachers and Students Responding to Evidence to Guide Next Steps in Learning

4-5 Weeks
Teachers will be able to:
  • Apply new strategies to use evidence of learning to adjust teaching
  • Utilize strategies of asset-based pedagogies to support students to reach the learning goals

Reflection, Celebration, and Next Steps in Learning

4 Weeks

Teachers will be able to:
  • Clarify key learnings from the course and how those are applied in the classroom
  • Explore the course Guiding Principles of agency, identity and learning culture, and clarify the shifts in these practices for teachers and students


The cohort will begin with two kickoff meetings in August for site leaders and facilitators and a teacher launch in late September. Ongoing monthly facilitator meetings will also be scheduled to support the community of practice meetings at each site led by each school's designated site facilitator. There are independent learning and application activities between sessions that are discussed at each site's meeting. Participants must be willing to engage in each session, complete practice activities, apply new learning using the professional learning structure, provide feedback to inform ongoing content improvement, and agree to share their learning with others. Commitment for participation in SAIL includes:
  • Designating a site leader who will develop a professional development calendar that aligns to your school and district calendar (WestEd and MDE will provide sample resources);
  • Attendance at the virtual SAIL Leadership Launch and Facilitator Launch in August for all site leaders and/or facilitators;
  • Attendance at the virtual SAIL Teacher Launch in September;
  • Engagement in asynchronous online learning throughout the school year via Canvas (roughly 1 hour per week);
  • Implementation of the tools and practices learned in the asynchronous modules;
  • Attendance at all synchronous virtual meetings for site facilitators (monthly; 6 total).

Additional Resources


Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success, COMPASS, is a statewide education system created through a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Minnesota Service Cooperatives and Regional Centers for Excellence. COMPASS is designed to meet schools and districts where they are in the work to accelerate student learning and match the state's response to those needs. Learn more about COMPASS here.

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If you would like to request online or in-person professional development regarding any of the resources found on this site, or if you have general feedback regarding the site, please submit a request below to the Statewide Testing Division at MDE or contact Kendra Olsen, at or 651-582-8542.