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Heather Whitman

ollie-afe-2018: Educational Leadership: The Quest for Quality--article - 14 views

  • overflow of testing
    • nickol11
       
      I couldn't agree more with this statement. I feel like every other week we are testing our students through MAP, Iowa Assessments, etc. I am also from a TAP school so we are doing Pre/Post/Strategy testing in our rooms, as well.
    • stephlindmark
       
      I would love to learn more about a TAP school as that is a new term to me. I would agree with this statement too about doing testing overload.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      This is still a very true statement eight years after this article is written! The movement/shift is to move to more project based learning etc. but our testing systems have yet to make any changes. Very frustrating for teachers and students.
    • dykstras
       
      Progress monitoring for intervention students comes to mind when I read this. These kids generally struggle enough as it is, so rather than use instructional time to help them learn more, we test tehm instead.
    • staudtt
       
      This is one of my biggest pet peeves with education today. We get kids for only so long and so much of it is sucked away by standardized testing.
    • jwalt15
       
      I also agree with this statement and others comments. I wish we could find a good balance of testing and actual hands-on learning. Testing is stressful on everyone and takes the fun out of learning.
  • The four categories of learning targets are
    • nickol11
       
      This is the main goal of our current district. I find this information to be really important as there are so many items and content areas being assessed. I feel it is important to look and asses in all of these areas for our students to really make sure they are learning the items we are giving them.
  • Are results communicated in time to inform the intended decisions?
    • nickol11
       
      I feel that this is an essential part of teaching in addition to that of learning targets. Students must know where they are going before they start. They need a glimpse of what may be expected of them and possibly what not to do, as well.
  • ...63 more annotations...
  • performance assessment and personal communication,
    • nickol11
       
      I agree that we should see more performance based assessments with much for feedback for students. As we know each student is different this type of assessment create and opportunity for a student to create something to showcase their learning. Many times they will become more engaged and will retain much more information in the long gun. I am curious if some teachers stray away from these assessments?
    • brarykat
       
      You ask a very good question.  I was trained in project-based learning.  Students can benefit so much from it but it can be overwhelming for the teacher without training.  I would guess many teachers shy away from performance based assessments for the same reason.  Putting forth more time in feedback to students could be a deterrent also. Especially in middle school or high school due to the number of students.  Time for grading and to write feedback for performance based assessments would be necessary to do it with fidelity.
  • grouping the assessments into levels
    • nickol11
       
      I am grateful to be apart of a district that recognizes this need and is providing us time to build our assessment plans while we are building our learning targets.
  • Who will use the results to inform what decisions?
    • jhazelton11
       
      I think this is an important question. Who are the results for? The teacher? The student? The parent? Administrators? Legislators? I'm not sure the right answer, but it's an important question to consider.
    • stephlindmark
       
      I feel that everyone uses that results differently too to meet their needs and can construe them to fit their agenda.
    • krcouch
       
      Totally agree with this! Who actually sees the results and how are they using it? Every teacher uses it differently for sure. And they need to be used to best benefit the student.
    • Heather Whitman
       
      Many districts are moving to standard based grading. After more explanations and understanding to students, families, community, staff, and legislators occurs, I think this will help. The focus on the standard and after breaking it down many ways and with much thought, the results are shared. I agree that people can construe the results to look better or gain something, but we have to focus on who matters. It is for the students and those doing the teaching to really make decisions where to go next. Let the data talk.
  • Creating a plan like this for each assessment helps assessors sync what they taught with what they're assessing
    • jhazelton11
       
      Having the end in mind is important in teaching, because otherwise we aren't teaching what we are assessing, which ultimately makes our assessments useless.
  • descriptive feedback linked to the targets of instruction and arising from the assessment items or rubrics communicates to students in ways that enable them to immediately take action, thereby promoting further learning.
    • jhazelton11
       
      This is time-consuming... every teacher knows this is helpful, but we don't always have the time to provide the immediate feedback. Aghhhh...
    • brarykat
       
      Right… and we are now a society with expectation of immediate feedback on many aspects of life that waiting can cause great frustration.  Technology has provided many ways for teachers to provide immediate feedback, but without trainings many educators don't have knowledge of support tools.
    • blockerl
       
      I really like using Google Docs in my classroom to provide immediate feedback to students, especially when typing an essay. For example, this week I had students "finish" their memoirs much faster than their peers. With the use of Google Docs, I was able to provide them with immediate feedback about what they can do to improve their paper. Immediate feedback is hard, but I try to get papers back with clear feedback to my students as quickly as possible.
  • self-assess and set goals.
    • jhazelton11
       
      I'm trying to understand this better as I'm creating an online class for students to take. I'm trying to understand how students can take some ownership of their assessment and learning, but also struggling a bit to wrap my mind around it.
    • Jen Van Fleet
       
      There is a huge effect size for student goal setting. So essentially, huge ROI if students understand what is the goal and where they are in relation to the goal and how they are going to move closer to the goal. So if you can create the opportunity for students to self asses, it will be time worth spent.
  • formative point of view
    • jhazelton11
       
      There's certainly more focus on formative assessment nowadays compared to years ago, where we did more summative.
    • srankin11
       
      Agree! It is important for teachers and students to have the feedback of knowing where they are instead of figuring it out after taking a summative assessment.
  • The assessor needs to have a clear picture of what achievement he or she intends to measure.
    • hansenn
       
      These targets should be the criteria on your rubric or the focus of your questions. It can be challenging to create questions that directly relate to the targets.
    • brarykat
       
      I agree.  Rubrics can help students and the teacher stay focused on the expected outcome.  I appreciate the suggestion that the teacher should use rubric verbiage in the feedback to the student.  Which also means the vocabulary in the rubric needs to be clear and understandable.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      I think rubrics are critical for assignments/projects. We are letting the students know what the expectations are for the assignment.
  • not
    • hansenn
       
      I once read that you were not suppose to use not in a selected response, but I still use them because it makes students compare and contrast the concepts.
    • dykstras
       
      I agree. It's not a trick question.
  • Students learn best when they monitor and take responsibility for their own learning.
    • hansenn
       
      I have been trying to have my students use a rubric to evaluate their own progress. If i have time to talk to the student and compare our scores and provide oral feedback it works better. Online meeting with the student might be more difficult.
    • stephlindmark
       
      I think when any human does self-reflection their is more meaning behind it and we carry those skills with us longer and they are personalized.
    • dykstras
       
      I tried to do this through Google Forms and share results with parents at conferences, hopefully to show correlation between what their kid thinks they understand versus what they demonstarte they understand. I have to admmit, it failed. Kids ranked themselves high almost everytime as if they thought it would affect their grade. it ended up having no impact on achievement. Perhaps I will try a different approach at a later time.
    • bbraack
       
      When a student takes responsibility for their own learning, then when they understand or meet the standard, then they know they have learned something and did it they feel good and have accomplished something.
  • ongoing information needs of teachers and students.
    • hansenn
       
      The needs of the school or teachers is to be able to grade the assessments. If standardized test are selected response and short answer because the results can be calculated quickly. They can measure some higher thinking skills, but most are not. Why do people place so much importance on the test.
    • stephlindmark
       
      Great question and observation!
  • We're betting that the instructional hours sacrificed to testing will return dividends in the form of better instructional decisions and improved high-stakes test scores.
    • Mike Radue
       
      I find this interesting. Authors are betting that giving up instructional time in favor of testing will pay off in terms of better decisions about students and what seems to be for some, the ultimate goal of improved standardized test scores. Assuming assessment structure and frequency is balanced as the paper outlines, that's a good bet.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      what is interesting is that most teachers are doing formal assessment throughout their teaching, using RTI (response to intervention) time etc.
    • dykstras
       
      See my comments on the 'overflow of testing' highlight. Guess I should have read a little further. This is like betting on giving up one hour of instructional time every Wednesday for professional development will increase student achievement.
    • carlarwall
       
      We also need to find a balance of instruction and assessment. How can we expect students to perform well on assessments when there is little or no time for instruction on the concepts being assessed because of all the testing.
    • blockerl
       
      I'm interested to know what they are basing this on. So, if I test my students more, they will learn more?
  • Figure 2 clarifies which assessment methods are most likely to produce accurate results for different learning targets.
    • Mike Radue
       
      This is an excellent visual to help assessors think carefully about the learning target and in turn selecting a proper assessment method. It even has some flexibility supporting a multiple measures type of approach. Accuracy is important and this matrix can help serve that goal.
    • brarykat
       
      Well said Mike.  I think this would be a helpful document for teachers to keep in a ready reference file.  I hadn't considered some of the reasons why certain assessments would not be a good match with the learning targets. The explanations whether good matches or not are quite helpful.
    • blockerl
       
      I, too, really like this chart. It is a nice, simple thing for teachers to use when they are in their teams coming up with Common Formative Assessments.
    • staudtt
       
      As eveyone has stated, this chart really does a good job of breaking down quality ways to look at learning targets. It keeps it simple yet you get some quality information.
  • Will the users of the results understand them and see the connection to learning?
    • Mike Radue
       
      Assessment, as a science, can be tough to comprehend for professional educators, let alone a 8 year old, a parent, a school board member or some guy reading an article in the Des Moines Register. Ask ten people to explain validity and reliability and you might be surprised at the results. What I like about the concept in this article is that it emphasizes the "context" of the assessment. Do users of results truly understand what they are looking at and most importantly connect to a big picture and take the next step? Communication is important but so is education and review of assessment principles for all users of results to understand.
    • jwalt15
       
      Great observation Mike! You summed up this article perfectly. All of the focus and discussion on assessments doesn't do any good if the people involved aren't truly understanding the information that is being shared with them. People can't comprehend next steps if they don't understand the information in the first place.
  • Educators are more likely to attend to issues of quality and serve the best interests of students when we build balanced systems, with assessment-literate users.
    • Mike Radue
       
      Great conclusion and mission. After reading this, I have definitely been challenged to take a closer look at how I view assessment, its purpose and what to do with the results. Seeking balance in the manner in which we conduct assessment and committing to improve assessment literacy for myself and others is a key take-away for me.
    • stephlindmark
       
      Seeking balance in assessment is something I gained from this article too. I will be looking at assessment differently.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      Agreed! Balance is the key to anything. We need to show the students that assessment is important in any form. It is how we grow not only academically, but personally.
  • results that point student and teacher clearly to next steps
    • brarykat
       
      Over the years I've observed increase in doing constructive lessons due to results of assessment. When I was new to this profession the assessment was the focus.  Now I see more emphasis on helping close gaps in learning located through assessments. However, time for assessments to be evaluated and locate those areas that need review or to reteach (possibly in a different method) is mandatory. Allocating the time needed for teachers to evaluate results should be a priority for administration.  
    • lisamsuya
       
      I agree. I think following the PLC framework helps teachers collaborate about the learning needs based on assessments.
    • Jen Van Fleet
       
      Hi Lisa! I completely agree with adding stock to the PLC framework so that teachers have intentional and regular time to have these conversations when there is plenty of time to act up on results and adjust instruction.
  • Assessment quality and assessment balance
    • stephlindmark
       
      I believe we need both quality and balance. I believe we were on the right step with Smarter Balance when the decision was made to halt that process and put it on hold for various reasons.
    • lisamsuya
       
      I couldn't agree more. Smarter Balanced is the most standards based assessment available and instead of top quality for our kids and teachers, the legislature chose to spend less for lesser quality for our kids. You can see it's a hot topic for me.
  • basis of a single measure
    • stephlindmark
       
      This is a sad day when we as educators take one single measure and make life long decisions.
    • carlarwall
       
      I totally agree! Basing decisions on one assessment is like interviewing someone for a job and only asking one question. We need to look at multiple artifacts when making decisions that are best for students including any social/emotional needs of the student.
    • krcouch
       
      Agreed! a single measure should not dictate what our students know and how they learn. Students learn many different ways...visual, auditory. and test many different ways...
    • emmeyer
       
      So true! One test, or one event, should not define a student. That goes against us teaching our students to be life long learners and having a growth mindset.
  • including students
    • stephlindmark
       
      The learning targets and reason for the assessment needs to be first and foremost clear to the students. Teachers need to take the assessment before hand to assure it aligns with the teaching standards that they intended to be taught.
    • dykstras
       
      Our district has made a strong push to write all learning targets in student friendly language, often times utilizing "I can" statements
  • learning targets
    • stephlindmark
       
      These have to be clear and concise and match to the common core.
    • carlarwall
       
      Clear learning targets are not only key when assessing, but they are also important during instruction. With that being said, that does not mean just posting them in your room, but using them throughout instruction.
  • choices in the assessment methods
    • stephlindmark
       
      Using a choice of assessment methods is important to capture for all students their knowledge on a learning target.
  • noise distractions
    • stephlindmark
       
      I was in a classroom the other day and she had the radio playing in the background and it was a distraction for me. I was trying to work with a special ed student on a science assignment and has a hard time concentrating.
    • srankin11
       
      If a student focuses better with music, why wouldn't a teacher have that student use ear buds? There are many students that would be distracted by the music/radio and may not say anything to the teacher.
  • Feedback to students can use the language of the rubric
    • stephlindmark
       
      Using the same wording from the rubric is another way to enforce the students' learning and reinforce skills.
    • dykstras
       
      Again, I should continue to read before commenting. I just said the same thing in a previous post :-)
    • emmeyer
       
      I agree, using the same language helps to reinforce for students that this is important.
  • Ongoing classroom assessments serve both formative and summative purposes and meet students' as well as teachers' information needs.
    • stephlindmark
       
      The key here is formative and summative and ongoing assessments. We don't stop with one and move on we want all students to learn the prioritized standard to mastery.
  • The goal of a balanced assessment system is to ensure that all assessment users have access to the data they want when they need it, which in turn directly serves the effective use of multiple measures.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      This is critical! We need to have balance in our instruction and assessment. We don't want to be that teacher that practices "Death by assessment".
  • Effectively planning for the use of multiple measures means providing assessment balance throughout these three levels, meeting student, teacher, and district information needs. This is done using both formative and summative assessments, large-group and individual testing, assessing a range of relevant learning targets using a range of appropriate assessment methods.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      This is critical and just reaffirms that balance is the key. Teachers need to be adding/weaving the various assessments within their normal routine.
    • staudtt
       
      And the key/struggle at times is finding what type of assessment/s fits the learning target/s to maximize the time a teacher has.
  • he decision makers might be students and teachers at the classroom level; instructional leaders, learning teams, and teachers at the periodic level; or curriculum and instructional leaders and school and community leaders at the annual testing level.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      This is a critical piece! There has to be some guidance from the district level to school level to teacher level, but buy in really has to be at the teacher/student level. Another thought could be that it is driven from the bottom up instead of top down.
  • (selected-response, extended written response, performance assessment, and personal communication)
    • stephlindmark
       
      It is important to keep all four of these options within the assessment for students to show their knowledge.
  • Making decisions that affect individuals and groups of students
    • lisamsuya
       
      I have always disliked the notion of adults thinking a test score will determine a child's future, and then impacting that future by giving that child the message that their test scores are who they are.
    • jwalt15
       
      I agree with your dislike of the notion of adults thinking a test score will determine a child's future. I feel that puts too much pressure on student's when they are testing and increases their anxieties. Single test scores cannot accurately measure one's thinking and abilities. I wish that society would change their thinking and listen to educators who are actually in the classrooms.
  • organize the learning targets represented in the assessment into a written test plan that matches the learning targets represented in the curriculum.
    • lisamsuya
       
      This is difficult but important work. In my experience teachers are not well trained in creating assessments that are aligned in this way. I have attended some trainings in this, and as an instructional coach, I try to support quality assessment creation by teachers. However, in the long run, I think that it is better if schools adopt materials that include assessments that are aligned to common core and are already vetted by organizations such as EdReports to be of high quality. It saves times, and the models from these materials actual teach the teachers along the way of how to create tests aligned to learning targets
  • stable estimates of student achievement
    • trgriffin1
       
      A major challenge we are confronting at JHS is that assessments (and by that I really mean evaluations/grades) are 'dead'. They aren't about growth, they are entered as numerical grades into Infinite Campus. This has made 'assessment' a dirty word (like the overflow idea below).
    • Jen Van Fleet
       
      I know what you mean. This year with some SBAR transition work, the teachers did not have to enter the district end of term assessments for math (and maybe other content areas?), but the teachers were told they could still use the assessments. It was interesting to listen to conversations when teachers could actually assess and then just use the info to inform their instruction rather than just to perform a function in Campus.
    • dassom
       
      I love the word stable in this sentence. We have CTT that arent giving enough CFA's to catch kids before it's too late. We have the flipside though the some CTT's are giving almost to much assessment that the kids aren't getting a chance to struggle (which is not the correct tern). I think with practice teachers will get better at it, but it definately needs to be a quality good balance. Too much or too little can be harmful both ways.
  • Clear Purpose
    • trgriffin1
       
      Too often the purpose of the assessment is to see if a student knows the content or not at the end of a unit or chapter. This article would be good to share to change that idea.
    • tifinifog
       
      Exactly. We need to think about the final product or big idea of what we want them to know even before creating a test/assessment.
  • Sound Assessment Design
    • trgriffin1
       
      This is a major challenge! Teachers need support in learning about and reflecting on assessment design.
    • srankin11
       
      Agree! I believe teachers not only need the support but also the time. To write a sound assessment takes time. For many subjects, there may be quality assessments included with textbooks. For other classes, all assessments must be written by the teacher. This takes time to produce a quality assessment.
  • Student Involvement in the Assessment Process
    • trgriffin1
       
      This is a daunting idea when a teacher may teach 6 periods of the same content to 25 students at a time. Teachers need to see this as doable and students need to develop these skills.
  • selected-response formats, extended written response, performance assessment, and personal communication
    • dykstras
       
      Multiple assessment methods is and always has been best practice. Choosing only one style of question type can prohibit many learners from expressing their knowledge of the material. There are too many lerner styles in any given class to apply a one size fits all assessment.
  • teachers must provide the results in a way that helps students
    • dykstras
       
      This is where I think our work with rubrics shows students how to grow.
  • taking advantage of dependable data
    • dykstras
       
      It all boils down to this for me. What data do I have? Why do I have it? What am I going to do with it? How will it impact student achievement?
  • common assessments
    • leighbellville
       
      Common assessments are a focus now during our Professional Learning Communities (PLC) work. There have been concerns expressed by educators that students are asked to complete too many assessments now. However, I have also observed when additional assessments can allow students more flexibility in terms of movement based on individual growth. If a student is tested only once per year and this one piece of data is used to guide decisions throughout the year that would not be in the best interest of the student either.
    • dassom
       
      I know common assessments can be terrifying to teachers because of what it actually showing. The results are a reflection of how well your students did, but it is also a reflection of how well you did teaching the concepts. It's hard to be in "competition" with another teacher. When teams develop that true collaborative mindset they are less likely to see it as a competition but with the wrong dynamic sadly that's exactly what it could seem like. I think the common assessments also hold the teams accountable to each other because it's what they are agreeing to teach their kids.
  • formatively
    • leighbellville
       
      Formative assessment is such an important piece. Students need feedback throughout the learning process, and providing ungraded feedback is essential. For those interested in learning more about formative assessment, I found the book Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam to be helpful.
  • For example, if the teacher wants to assess knowledge mastery of a certain item, both selected-response and extended written response methods are good matches, whereas performance assessment or personal communication may be less effective and too time-consuming
    • leighbellville
       
      It is an important point to consider whether we are choosing the right assessment. I have observed previously when personal communication was chosen as the assessment method, which was not the best use of the student or teacher's time. Though opportunities should be provided for personal communication, we need to consider when it will have the most impact.
    • Heather Whitman
       
      Performance assessment can be time consuming but can be a big picture look and communication between student to student, student to teacher, student to expert can help grow as well. Earlier the article pointed out the need to have multiple measures. I see the need to really focus on what the goals are and use the table below to help people make decisions based on the current need.
  • A mechanism should be in place for students to track their own progress on learning targets and communicate their status to others.
    • leighbellville
       
      Asking students to track their own progress in relation to learning targets and communicate their status to others can be impactful. When students self-assess and dig deeper into the language of the learning targets to set goals, they will have a much clearer understanding of the expectations.
  • Only assessments that satisfy these standards—whether teachers' classroom assessments, department or grade-level common assessments, or benchmark or interim tests—will be capable of informing sound decisions.
    • carlarwall
       
      Having criteria for assessment and understanding the purpose is so important.
  • Do the results provide clear direction for what to do next?
    • carlarwall
       
      This statement is so important. When we are analyzing the results of assessment we should not just looking at how many points a student got. Digging deeper into what they were successful at, where they had any misconceptions and then planning from there is so important.
    • krcouch
       
      so important. They need to know where to go next and what they can do to improve.
  • current practice
    • Jen Van Fleet
       
      I'm going to push back on "current" here. I know that in Davenport teachers are working HARD to look at common formative assessments and daily quick checks to inform instruction so that kids are ready when they reach the common summative assessment. It's a work in progress, and not everything is perfection yet. However, conversations about learning in real time are happening, and it's awesome.
  • Most assumed that a low score or grade was probably justly assigned and that a decision made about a student as a result was as defensible as the evidence on which it was based
    • Heather Whitman
       
      moodle_iowa
    • Heather Whitman
       
      I have heard adults remember the testing as a child and parents say, "My child just isn't a good tester." I don't test very well. I avoided getting a masters from some schools because they required the GRE to get into the program. NO WAY! I often wonder why a GRE score determines who can take the courses and pay anyway? How should our colleges/universities look at the biases of testing and/or knowing some people haven't taken certain courses in 20 years?
  • multiple measures
    • krcouch
       
      I agree. Multiple measures is a better measure of sucess.
    • emmeyer
       
      Yes, this encourages our growth mindset!!
    • Heather Whitman
       
      I think the multiple measures really help us see the whole kid. What if I am artistic in nature and don't show what I know on the basic tests? What if I am ultra creative in writing? What if my strength is technology, and I disengage because all I want to do is create. Multiple measures is imperative, and we need to look at different ways as well.
  • t also helps them assign the appropriate balance of points in relation to the importance of each target as well as the number of items for each assessed target.
  • wealth of data
    • bbraack
       
      There definitely is a wealth of data with all of the testing students have to go through. Sometimes it seems that nothing is really done with it or that there is so much that it is hard to understand or interpret the data.
    • emmeyer
       
      On the other hand, right now, our district only has the FAST test for reading and there are no other consistent assessments across the district.
  • NCLB has exposed students to an unprecedented overflow of testing.
    • bbraack
       
      It seems that students have to take so many tests, such as, Iowa Assessments, MAP, or whatever and it doesn't really seem much is done with the data. I know if I was a student I would be frustrated with all of the tests they have to take.
  • quality and balance
    • bbraack
       
      I think the key here is quality and balance, but because of all of the Standards that have to be taught in a year, sometimes the quality isn't what you would like and there really isn't a balance with all of the types of assessments students have to take.
    • Kim Foley-Sharp
       
      This is critical. We, and I really mean the state/districts go overboard at times and do too many assessments. Students and teachers need a balance - otherwise it is just another case of teaching to the "test'>
  • such as "Focuses on one specific aspect of the subject" or "Makes an assertion that can be argued."
    • blockerl
       
      I would be fine with this as long as the student also explains how their assignment "Focuses on one specific aspect of the subject." If we just as them to apply a piece of the rubric to their assignment, they are going to often just pick something that sounds pretty good and copy/paste it into the reflection.
  • The classroom is also a practical location to give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do, adding to the accuracy of the information available from that level of assessment.
    • blockerl
       
      This is a good point. Performance assessment and personal communication are great ways to measure a student's learning and/or knowledge. I think sometimes we forget about this because we are so used to preparing students for a selected-response test.
    • dassom
       
      I know giving multiple assessments over the same learning target can seem time consuming for teachers, and makes it less likely to happen. If teachers had training or ideas of how to assess in a fast or effective way they might be able to take advantage of this concepts, which most know is a valuable but hard to do with time constraints.
    • tifinifog
       
      Great idea. I like the idea of practical use. It goes back to the saying "when am I ever going to use this" statement. Its good to have students know or understand how, when or why they need to know.
  • clear statements of the intended learning
    • dassom
       
      I think of the clear learning targets as the lessons that the teachers are promising to teach. In my district we have pacing guides as well as end of the quarter assessments that are the same district wide. All the teachers are expected to teach these concepts. The style may be different but the outcome or learning targets still need align. It holds teachers accountable but also is promising the students fair curriculum district wide.
  • assessment literate
    • dassom
       
      I've never see this term before but I think it truly applies to the process of our CTT process in our district. We have the question to ask what do we do if the don't know it, and then the follow up question what do we do if they still don't know it. It's important for teams to understand what information will be obtained from the results and what the plan is for kids that are proficient or successful at the assessment the first or even second time around.
  • formative applications involve what students have mastered and what they still need to learn
    • staudtt
       
      This is something I still struggle with doing well. Sometimes it is a time thing, but helping guide students before the summative is important and I'm trying to better at.
  • effective feedback
    • srankin11
       
      Effective feedback is so important to student learning success. It's not the final grade that is important but the learning that has taken place.
  • teachers can choose among the four assessment methods
    • srankin11
       
      Assessing in a variety of ways helps to see what the student has learned. Giving short-answer formats may be quick to give results plus give practice to taking standardized tests. Having some assessments that require higher-order thinking may give other results that could be beneficial.
  • Assessment literacy is the foundation for a system that can take advantage of a wider use of multiple measures
    • jwalt15
       
      This is a powerful statement because I feel that assessment literacy and design is not an area of focus in teacher preparation programs. At least it wasn't a focus when I was an undergrad, but hopefully that is changing.
  • vague directions,
    • tifinifog
       
      Too often seen teachers have different ways of giving standardized tests. Some kids are allowed to read after test, others have to go over test until others done and others get to play on devices until finished. Kids want to hurry up to be done just to have fun. Consistency is crucial.
  • self-assess and set goals.
    • tifinifog
       
      This is a great example of how a teacher could let the student see the rubric prior to the project/test so they can set a goal or try to improve from a prior test.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
    • Heather Whitman
       
      I think the key here is to use the Understanding by Design format. This helps people to focus on what truly needs learned. It is easy to lose track of the goals and the results are distorted or biased.
  • cultural insensitivity
    • Heather Whitman
       
      I think this is often overlooked. It is not intended and most are unaware. As our schools become more diversified, I think this is a huge part we need to address. We have to learn more about our students' lives and cultures. Then evaluate language or cultural expectations. Some cultures don't want students to look at people in their eye when talking. How does this work when they present? Are we thinking through what their thoughts are when presenting?
Joanne Cram

ollie_4-fall14: Educational Leadership: The Quest for Quality--article - 13 views

  • Student Involvement in the Assessment ProcessStudents learn best when they monitor and take responsibility for their own learning. This means that teachers need to write learning targets in terms that students will understand.
    • bgeanaea11
       
      This seems to be to be a critical component to engaging students in their learning.
    • joycevermeer
       
      Writing learning targets in tersm that students will understand can be a challenge...especially with younger children.
    • scampie1
       
      Having I can statements make a huge difference in what the learning will be. All students need this!
    • Nicole Wood
       
      I think goal setting and tracking is way students can take responsibility for their own learning.
    • nathanjenkins
       
      Learning targets and "I can" statements reach all students and guide them in their learning, but even more so help to maintain attention for students that get off task easily or loose focus. Having these short-term goals posted in the classroom can aide in self-guidance of the students. A quick gesture to the poster or board with these goals can redirect without too much effort.
    • Joanne Cram
       
      Student involvement in assessment always produces deeper understanding. When students can create their own learning targets (when guided by the educator), this is deeply beneficial because they've created a mini road map to help them navigate through the content. They won't have any surprises, only answers to the learning targets they hoped to gain.
  • Clear Learning TargetsThe assessor needs to have a clear picture of what achievement he or she intends to measure. If we don't begin with clear statements of the intended learning—clear and understandable to everyone, including students—we won't end up with sound assessments.
    • bgeanaea11
       
      I feel we often assess for the sake of assessing without keeping our focus on what it is we want the student to gain from it in the long run.
    • Deb Vail
       
      I completely agree. I was constantly assessing formatively, but I hate to admit that summative assessments that I created for my units were more assessment for the sake of assessment. I should have approached it more big-picture
    • Deb Vail
       
      Also, I think that clearly communicated learning targets are so important. How many times have I taken classess or sat through PD and was doing what was asked of me, but I wasn't sure why.
    • Kristina Dvorak
       
      I agree, having clear learning targets is helpful for students.  It gives them an idea of what is most important in a lesson and gives students a guide for learning.  
    • Kathleen Goslinga
       
      I agree with Deb and Kristina that students need to have clearly defined learning targets which will guide students as to the area of focus. Assessment should be done for a purpose and an outcomes.
    • criley55
       
      I also agree that we can't keep what we are teaching a mystery to the students. They need to know the learning targets so they know what is expected of them. Then they will be able to connect with the content and engage in the learning.
    • Joanne Cram
       
      I think it's important to have a road map that is constantly being referred to- and instructors that ask the question, are we getting there? If the assessment can't answer that question, maybe the instruction needs to be adjusted, or the assessment needs to be thrown out.
  • Keys to BalanceThe goal of a balanced assessment system is to ensure that all assessment users have access to the data they want when they need it, which in turn directly serves the effective use of multiple measures.
    • bgeanaea11
       
      I like the use of the tern balance. It implies we need to USE assessments for information instead of just because we feel we need to assess everything. The issue of access is also critical because if we do not give teachers access to the data directly they cannot effectively use it!
    • Kathleen Goslinga
       
      Direct access to data provides teachers with feedback as to whether further instruction is needed in a specific area or if students understand and you can move forward. I often question why we start another unit immediately after a test when there may be a need to step back and review an application before moving forward.
    • joycevermeer
       
      If we respond to what the assessment data is telling us we won't always be doing the same things with the same children. Planning for individual and small group instruction becomes necessary if we truly want to scaffold learning.
    • Joanne Cram
       
      Balance as a whole is essential in any learning environment- especially in assessment. Students need to have ample time spent in learning environments that allows them the success they earn in an assessment environment. After that time is used in assessment- students need to know that those assessments will drive the instruction in the future, and they see the value in assessment.
  • ...74 more annotations...
  • What decisions will the assessment inform?
    • bgeanaea11
       
      This is a good question we should ask before each assessment! Why are we assessing this? What will we do as a result?
    • joycevermeer
       
      Yes, and the answer to the question of why we do assessment can't be "because we have to".
    • scampie1
       
      Or because I have to enter something in a LMS system
    • Deb Vail
       
      Great question. I think we often assess because we feel we should and we always do; it's just part of a routine. This question forces more of a big-picture plan for assessment.
  • begin with a clear picture of why he or she is conducting the assessment.
    • Lynn Helmke
       
      I believe that this statement is so true.  The teacher and students must have a clear picture of why the assessment is happening.  I am afraid that many times it is because the curriculum says that it is time for a particular test or the district has said it is time.  But, then the assessments are only being used to give a letter grade or to get stats for a certain audience like the school board.
    • criley55
       
      I completely agree. We can't let pacing guides dictate when an assessment is necessary or what we use it for.
  • Are results communicated in time to inform the intended decisions?
    • criley55
       
      I know there is never enough time to get everything done but if we are not providing timely feedback, then it was a waste of time to give the assignment in the first place.
    • Bev Berns
       
      Using results in a timely fashion is so important!
  • Specific, descriptive feedback linked to the targets of instruction and arising from the assessment items or rubrics communicates to students in ways that enable them to immediately take action, thereby promoting further learning.
    • joycevermeer
       
      This statement really ties into what we learned in unit 1 about rubrics. Having a rubric helps you to be able to give specific descriptive feedback that make continuous improvemnt more likely.
    • Deb Vail
       
      I agree. This is really a biggie. Tmely, specific feedback that is linked to specific learning goals is so important. It takes time, but it sure has an impact on learning.
    • jbdecker
       
      In starting to teach a course online for the first time this fall being able to easily provide written feedback to each and every student has been a positive of the online format. Yes, it takes time and I don't know exactly how soon the students view the comments that I make but it has the potential to make a real impact on student performance and learning. 
  • next steps in learning
    • joycevermeer
       
      Next steps in learning--teachers quickly understand that they must provide this, but don't always see it's connection to how we assess.
    • Kristina Dvorak
       
      It might be helpful to look at ourselves as coaches, a coach would give feedback to help an athlete improve.  They wouldn't say, "that's average" and move on.  Our assessments shouldn't do this either.  
  • the need for all assessors and users of assessment results to be assessment literate
    • joycevermeer
       
      These examples really help one to understand how various assessment methods have different functions.
  • it's important to know the learning targets represented in the written curriculum.
    • scampie1
       
      This is a challenge for many of us with the new Iowa Core which has process and content targets. Knowing how to assess processes is new to many of us.
    • scampie1
       
      It also requires deep understanding of the curriculum.
    • Kristina Dvorak
       
      For me, as an art teacher, I have had experience assessing the process.  However, I don't always include it in the final assessment like I should.  It is always interesting to hear the student's perspective in the process they went through when learning.  
  • Most assessments developed beyond the classroom rely largely on selected-response or short-answer formats and are not designed to meet the daily, ongoing information needs of teachers and student
    • scampie1
       
      Teachers often rely on text book published assessment tools that may or may not reflect the intended learning needs of the teacher.
  • Educators are more likely to attend to issues of quality and serve the best interests of students when we build balanced systems, with assessment-literate user
    • scampie1
       
      This statement made me think about the LMS some schools have that make formative assessment a challenge. They tend to require grades for weekly reports to parents that may not be reflective of the process of learning.
  • inform students about their own progress
    • Nicole Wood
       
      I think it is always important to keep in mind the value of students taking ownership in their learning and being aware of their own progress toward standards.
    • Kristina Dvorak
       
      Yes, when students take ownership of their own learning they are more successful.  It is important to keep in mind when designing assessments.  
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • Sound Assessment Design
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • Sound Assessment Design
  • ods are most likely to produce accurate results for different learning targets.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • It calls attention to the proper assessment method and to the importance of minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
  • Examples of bias include poorly printed test forms, noise distractions, vague directions, and cultural insensitivity.
    • Nicole Wood
       
      This was a good reminder to me that many variables impact assessment results in addition to the just the assessment methods.
    • Deb Vail
       
      The vague directions reference is key. It is so critical that directions are clear, but that is easier said than done at times.
    • Diane Jackson
       
      It is easier said than done. I have written directions that I thought were very clear but evidently were not as I had several questions from students. I'm trying to get better at this.
    • Bev Berns
       
      It's interesting that assessment result inacuracies are connected to external factors. So true!
    • Joanne Cram
       
      So many kids don't have any idea what the instructions are, but are too afraid to ask for clarification because they don't want to stick out. It's essential for teachers to make sure that all students know what is expected of them.
  • A mechanism should be in place for students to track their own progress on learning targets and communicate their status to others.
    • Nicole Wood
       
      I consider data binders a great tool for helping students track their own progress on learning targets. They can also use it to communicate their progress to parents at conferences.
    • jbdecker
       
      Teachers being able to organize the grade book or other assessment scores in an online classroom environment might be a powerful tool in allowing students to easily see the progress they are making towards a learning target throughout a particular online course. 
    • Diane Jackson
       
      Students having access to the progress they are making would help give students the motivation to keep improving and a sense of accomplishment.
    • criley55
       
      It seems like a lot of work up front getting things set up for students to be able to track their progress but it is much more meaningful when they are taking responsibility for their learning and have that internal motivation.
  • Ongoing classroom assessments serve both formative and summative purposes and meet students' as well as teachers' information needs.
    • Nicole Wood
       
      I think ActivExpressions (used with Interactive Whiteboards) are an outstanding tool for gathering formative data on student learning. They provide immediate feedback and a method of saving results for teachers to review at a later time.
  • students can use the results to self-assess and set goals
    • Deb Vail
       
      Students have got to be given time for metacognition and reflection to maximize current learning as well as future learning.
    • Lynn Helmke
       
      I believe that it is important for students to be involved in setting goals for their learning and monitoring their own progress.  The research has been available for years on this topic.  
    • Diane Jackson
       
      I agree. It is so important to have students involved in their own learning and in monitoring their progress. I know for me it would have been beneficial to have those options when I was in school. "in the olden days" when I was in school, we weren't given options. Would have been nice!
  • provide the results in a way that helps students move forward
  • written test plan
    • Kristina Dvorak
       
      This works for some subjects, but not all.  I don't know that I would give my students in drawing a written test.  The written test is a product in my case. 
    • jbdecker
       
      Kristina, The way I read this is that it wouldn't have to be a written test for the students but that we as instructors should have a written plan that shows how our assessments are assessing the various learning targets we are trying to hit.
  • Clear Purpose
    • Travis Wilkins
       
      While in the classroom this was a constant struggle when working with many of the assessments that we were being asked to give to students.  Often we as teachers were not sure of the purpose of the assessments we were being asked to give.  While this did not mean that the assessments were not worthwhile, the lack of communication and development of teacher understanding was a big problem.  On some levels I think we are currently seeing similar miscommunication in schools that are for the first time implementing FAST or another DE approved assessment with their students.  I have spoken with teachers that have little or no context to the different tests within the FAST program and therefore are unaware of the purpose.  This does not mean that they are poor assessments or not worth the time - we know differently.  However, without a clear purpose the information gained from the assessment might easily be lost.
  • Who is the decision maker?
    • Travis Wilkins
       
      This is another area of confusion that I have experienced in the classroom.  As schools started to implement IDM, then RTI, and now MTSS many assessments and interventions started popping up at the elementary level.  Often there was confusion as to what the results of these assessments and interventions would mean, and who would make the decisions.  Having a clear understanding of who will be making the decisions and insuring that those individuals have the background knowledge and understanding to make these decisions is crucial.
    • Travis Wilkins
       
      This is another area of confusion that I have experienced in the classroom.  As schools started to implement IDM, then RTI, and now MTSS many assessments and interventions started popping up at the elementary level.  Often there was confusion as to what the results of these assessments and interventions would mean, and who would make the decisions.  Having a clear understanding of who will be making the decisions and insuring that those individuals have the background knowledge and understanding to make these decisions is crucial.
  • At the level of annual state/district standardized assessments, they involve where and how teachers can improve instruction—next year.
    • jbdecker
       
      Our Social Studies department at our school requested the Social Studies test data from lasts years Iowa Tests from our district.  We were told that even though all of our students had taken the test that we would not be given any breakdown of the data.  Needless to say we were more than a little frustrated by this decision. Unfortunately, even though all of our students took the test it costs money to get a breakdown of the data and the district wasn't willing to pay for that at this time. Why give the assessment if you aren't going to use the data from it to try to improve?? 
  • Reasoning targets, which require students to use their knowledge to reason and problem solve.
    • Kathleen Goslinga
       
      I see this directly relating to higher order thinking skills where are students are being encouraged to think at a much deeper level and not settle for a single answer. We need to be questioning how and why certain things take place and this would be one way that students are being held accountable for their own learning.
  • Performance skill targets, which ask students to use knowledge to perform or demonstrate a specific skill, such as reading aloud with fluency.
    • Kathleen Goslinga
       
      The performance skill target provides students with another way to be demonstrate/share their understanding of a specific concept instead of a written test.
    • ajbeyer
       
      These type of assessment and targets are the key to know if students have understood the material that has been presented to them! moodle_iowa
  • Product targets, which specify that students will create something, such as a personal health-related fitness plan
    • Kathleen Goslinga
       
      What a great way to differeniate instruction. Learning styles vary and its important to provide students with multiple options in completing an assignment.
    • Diane Jackson
       
      I agree with you. Giving students choice in how to express what they have learned is so important. That's a key component in Universal Design for Learning.
  • A Solid Foundation for a Balanced System
    • Lynn Helmke
       
      I absolutely agree:   balanced systems for assessing learning with assessment-literate users.  When a district has many teachers, an implementation plan on how to have all teachers assessment-literate is crucial.  Then how is a district going to measure the success?  It needs to be included in the teacher evaluation process. (Lynn
    • Bev Berns
       
      Many schools are using DuFour's PLC framework to drive teacher collaboration around data points. Wonderful work!
  • Because classroom teachers can effectively use all available assessment methods, including the more labor-intensive methods of performance assessment and personal communication, they can provide information about student progress not typically available from student information systems or standardized test results.
    • Lynn Helmke
       
      The assessment methods utilized by teachers in the classrooms can have the greatest impact on student learning IF the teachers know how to use assessments to impact instruction. Hence, the need for good professional development concerning assessment. (Lynn)
    • Adrian Evans
       
      You raise an interesting point Lynn, "the need for good professional development concerning assessment" (Helmke, L. 2014). I wonder how such a professional development would be received- both at the different building levels (elementary, middle and high schools) as well as looking at different parts of the state.
    • ajbeyer
       
      The teacher is the most powerful player when it comes to assessment. The teacher who sees that child day after day has a more accurate understanding of the performance of the student than a standardized test. This should be a taken into consideration more than the standardized test.
  • Teachers can minimize bias in a number of ways. For example, to ensure accuracy in selected-response assessment formats, they should keep wording simple and focused, aim for the lowest possible reading level, avoid providing clues or making the correct answer obvious, and highlight crucial words (for instance, most, least, except, not).
  • Bias can also creep into assessments and erode accurate results
    • Adrian Evans
       
      I am amazed when I create a test for our Professional Learning Committee, the amount of rigor that we, as teachers, put into choosing the correct verbage and vocabulary for individual questions.
  • Will the users of the results understand them and see the connection to learning?
    • Adrian Evans
       
      The idea of people understanding the results really speaks to me. My wife is an "Instructional Design Strategist" (read Coach) for an elementary school. She knows a lot. She especially knows a lot about assessing at the elementary level, and whenever we would go into a parent-teacher conference for our daughters, she would make sure that the teacher explained the data to me, as she already knew what the score meant. If I just went on what I understood, well my kids were way off the A-D grade charts because they were scoring M and E- little did I know that those meant Meeting and Exceeding...
  • Who will use the results to inform what decisions?
    • Adrian Evans
       
      This is very true. As more and more people (parents, students, teachers, administrators, elected officials as well as the rest of the public) are looking at education, we must be able to justify not only what we are looking to assess but why
  • having more assessments will mean we are more accurately estimating student achievement
    • criley55
       
      Just giving an assessment isn't helping improve student achievement, its' what you do with the information you get from the assessment.
  • Using misinformation to triangulate on student needs defeats the purpose of bringing in more results to inform our decisions.
    • ajbeyer
       
      We try to use so much information and I think it's important to use the RIGHT information when when comes to assessing. moodle_iowa
  • Effectively planning for the use of multiple measures means providing assessment balance throughout these three levels, meeting student, teacher, and district information needs.
    • ajbeyer
       
      Effective planning starts with the teacher. Planning for the needs and assessments of all learners it where effective assessment can be powerful. If they teacher takes the time to plan the assessment, then his or her teaching will probably match that assessment. moodle_iowa
  • What Assessments Can—and Cannot—Tell Us
    • Travis Wilkins
       
      This is a component of assessments that I think has flown under the radar for too long.  In my experience in the classroom, we were often inundated with mounds of data that we had been given very little training or time to understand what it could or could not tell us about our students.   Rather than data bing used for decisions for which they were not suited, it was more common for the data to be collected and never used.
  • Effective Communication of Result
    • Travis Wilkins
       
      This was something that we often struggled with as classroom teachers.  We were collecting more and more data that had the potential to tell us great things about our students, however, the format or system in place did not allow great opportunities to communicate this information with parents.  If we had better system processes in place I think that many of the parents in the community would have been thrilled with the work we were doing.  However, some of our systems limited the communication of results in a timely manner.  While the teachers saw the connection to learning, their were times where I felt the parents did not understand the work we had been doing with their students.
    • Joanne Cram
       
      Since I'm about a week late, I've read through most of these points and my "notes" that I was going to post have all been addressed. This is the one that was most important as a take home to me. I think that assessing without feedback is a huge issue in education. I understand that as teachers, we get busy. But what is the point of giving a grade if there is no learning behind why the grade was assigned?
mschutjer

ollie-afe-2019: Educational Leadership: The Quest for Quality--article - 6 views

    • nealjulie
       
      I thought this quote was interesting. I always believe that having more than one data point helps a teacher see more of a rounded picture of that student. Relying on just one assessment isn't fair to the student. I believe we should look at multiple assessments, formative assessments, check points to help our students grow. JN
  • assessor needs to have a clear picture of what achievement he or she intends to measure. I
    • rhoadsb_
       
      Assessment needs to be directly tied to the standard you are teaching too.
    • Deborah Cleveland
       
      When we were rolling out the Iowa Core, we really emphasized how content, instruction, and assessment were part of the "curriculum". Each piece playing an integral part in student learning.
    • nealjulie
       
      I think we as teachers need to make sure we are focused on what essentials we need to assess. We have the mindset that we must teach the content, and not the process. JN
  • ...66 more annotations...
  • Do the results provide clear direction for what to do next?
    • nealjulie
       
      Do we use the data for reteaching? JN
  • Students learn best when they monitor and take responsibility for their own learning
    • kmolitor
       
      I really like this idea of having students take responsibility for their own learning, and putting the learning target in language they can understand would definitely help!
    • mpercy
       
      I agree that students do learn best when they take on the responsibility but I also think this is the ideal situation and often does not happen. How do we motivate more students to do this?
    • alisauter
       
      I agree with this, but it seems so foreign to students. I think we need to plan on a lot of modeling to shift the responsibility to them.
    • nealjulie
       
      Student friendly learning targets! I believe involving students in tracking their own learning targets is very powerful! It's high on the Hattie scale. JN
  • f we don't begin with clear statements of the intended learning—clear and understandable to everyone, including students—we won't end up with sound assessments.
    • Wendy Arch
       
      While this seems like a straightforward idea, in reality, making a learning purpose clear and understandable to everyone - students included - can be difficult. Especially in English, the skill were teaching is not clear cut. CCSS Reading Literature 11-12.6 asks students to "Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant." However, there's no "right" answer to this skill. Student analysis of "what is really meant" could encompass a huge range of ideas. Crafting an assessment and teaching/learning opportunities that clearly delineate "proficient" analysis from "poor" analysis can't always be put into clear and understandable language. How can you quantify the qualitative?
    • kimgrissom
       
      There is truth in the challenge. But I know I have been guilty of knowing what I was looking for but not clearly communicating it to students. Then they are left to guess...which means they are likely to guess in at least some ways incorrectly. I think the more modeling we do, the more "anchor papers" we provide, the better students achieve our expectations. Putting those expectations into words and examples is its own challenge, but a worthy one.
    • cathy84
       
      It is nice to hear from other high school English teachers about the difficulty of measuring such subjective skills. I always struggled. One strategy I did find helpful was assigning paragraph writing as an assessment and scoring them 1-5, with a 3 being adequate and a 5 outstanding Then we would do several together and discuss what constituted a 3 and the differences between 3-4-5. That did seem to help, and students personalized the challenge of getting at least a 3 to show competency and reaching for outstanding.
  • t also helps them assign the appropriate balance of points in relation to the importance of each target as well as the number of items for each assessed target.
    • annott
       
      I really like this chart, it's easy to follow and easy to read.
  • minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
    • Wendy Arch
       
      This is where I know as an English teacher, I can get bogged down in the details. All of my writing assignments have an assessment category for "M.U.G.S." as we call them (mechanics, usage, grammar, spelling), but those aren't actively taught and retaught every unit. We just expect students to have a certain level of proficiency at this point. However, that isn't always the case. There are MANY students who have not internalized the "rules" of writing. Their mechanics (punctuation) seems haphazard, grammar atrocious, usage nonexistent, and spelling like they fell asleep on their keyboard. However, a complete lack of those skills might not prevent them from being able to distinguish "what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant." I have to be careful to not allow my internal bias against poor writing ability to distort an accurate estimate of a student's learning and demonstration of the skill.
    • kmolitor
       
      When I read through this about minimizing bias it made me think of the old ITBS/ITED tests and a student we had that was new to this country. The student was very bright but he did not perform well on the test because of bias. One example I recall was he had no idea what a fir tree was as where he was from there was no such thing.
  • Will the users of the results understand them and see the connection to learning?
    • Wendy Arch
       
      This is also where I struggle. Our department uses the online program Turnitin.com to give students feedback on written assessments and grade almost all work. This is partially to alleviate issues with plagiarism, but mostly because it gives students and teachers a one access point to communicate feedback. The program allows users to submit rubrics that students can see. We've started assessing rough draft using the final rubric so students can see where their work is in the rough draft stage so they know which paper criteria need work. They also can view my feedback on the paper that tells them how to fix what they need to fix. My frustration is when students aren't willing to go back and look at the feedback on the paper or rubric so they know what learning skills they still need to work on. How can we motivate them to look at the results, see the connections, and make the progress in learning?
    • kmolitor
       
      That is a great point! How do we motivate kids to go back and look at the feedback and make changes. Many of our kids just want to know what do I need to know to pass the test or assignment and once they pass that's all that matters.
    • jennham
       
      You have mentioned before that kids always want to know what they have to do in order to get an A or pass...but that's what I want to know when I take a course. I want/need to know what the expected outcomes are. I feel that kids have so many classes, tests, and assignments that if they don't ask those questions or think in that kind of a structured fashion that they will crash and burn. I get that we want them to LEARN and be passionate, but especially in required courses, the passion just isn't always there and the class literally is a box to check off.
  • From a formative point of view, decision makers at the classroom assessment level need evidence of where students are on the learning continuum toward each standard
    • Wendy Arch
       
      This is another area where I personally struggle. The time and flexibility needed to be truly responsive is astronomical. I currently teach 4 of the 10 sections of English 10 at Indianola High School. As a class cohort, we try to be within a day or two of each other in content delivery. However, if my students don't get a concept, it's difficult to take a day to reteach since that throws off my alignment with the other teachers. It also means that I would have would have different periods at different places. I'm hoping the flipped and blended learning opportunities will help with the time and organization issues I currently have. If I can break groups up into smaller cohorts based on skill, then use flipped/blended methods for each group, I can (hopefully) accomplish more within the time frame. It makes organization more complicated, but allows more flexibility.
    • kimgrissom
       
      This is why common formative assessments can be so helpful. If some of your students aren't getting something, it's likely that others aren't either. If you look at the whole team's formative data, it could be that everyone needs to adjust rather than just you.
    • barbkfoster
       
      And if your class is doing more poorly than another class, you can have conversations about the different instructional practices being used. We all do our best but it's ok to not be the best. Together we can do what is best for our students.
  • Do the results provide clear direction for what to do next?
    • mgast40diigo
       
      We receive a lot data but never do much with it. What do other schools do with their data? There are great questions within this paragraph that should be asked when the results are in. MG
  • A grade of D+, on the other hand, may be sufficient to inform a decision about a student's athletic eligibility, but it is not capable of informing the student about the next steps in learning.
    • mgast40diigo
       
      SBL and transitioning from all letter grades is a lengthy process but very beneficial for feedback purposes. MG
    • tommuller4
       
      I agree with you about the SBL and how it shows a student exactly what they know or what they need to improve on. A letter grade just give them a percentage of the time they have a correct answer. Doesn't give them any information at what they know or don't know.
    • kmolitor
       
      I agree Matt, but how do we get kids to go back and internalize the feedback?
  • aim for the lowest possible reading level,
    • mgast40diigo
       
      I am curious to see if the new Iowa Assessments focus on this. MG
    • kimgrissom
       
      I think this is also interesting because I know there are some tests that do this purposefully to "increase the rigor" of the test. For instance, AP exams notoriously use vocabulary to make the questions harder. This is saying it could be not just separating those who know less about the content, but also those who have different background, cultural knowledge, or just English as a first language. I, too, wonder how the ISASP will do with this.
    • mpercy
       
      Are we challenging our top students and preparing them for their futures when we use low reading levels? Seems to contradict what we are trying to accomplish.
    • rhoadsb_
       
      This is so very important as we are seeing a dramatic increase in student populations that are not fluent in English.
    • jennham
       
      I have developed a system where I always read math tests out loud. That way students are not missing information due to not understanding the vocabulary.
    • chriskyhl
       
      Jenn that's an interesting concept of reading the tests outloud....have never thought of doing that in a HS classroom but might help!
  • The classroom is also a practical location to give students multiple opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do, adding to the accuracy of the information available from that level of assessment.
    • rhoadsb_
       
      This is an important thing to consider in the design of your course.
    • tmolitor
       
      I agree, providing students multiple opportunities to show their knowledge, and understanding needs to be done.
  • Most assessments developed beyond the classroom rely largely on selected-response or short-answer formats and are not designed to meet the daily, ongoing information needs of teachers and students.
    • mgast40diigo
       
      I fall into this trap with assessments. I do need to incorporate more questions that focus on higher DOK levels. MG
    • jennham
       
      You are not alone. So do I. When I have an average of 70+ students to assess on math skills, these are easier.
  • Five keys to assessment quality
    • sjensen21
       
      To summarize, the 5 keys to assessment quality are: 1. clear purpose 2. clear learning targets 3. sound assessment design 4. effective communication of results 5. student involvement in the assessment process
    • cathy84
       
      Great idea on how to use an annotation tool. I can see this being very beneficial to high school students
    • chriskyhl
       
      thats a really cool usage! Could see teaching my kids to do this when doing technical reading
  • grouping the assessments
    • sjensen21
       
      Grouping assessments into levels: ongoing classroom assessment (daily work/observation), periodic interim/benchmark assessment (weekly quizzes/ group work), and annual state/district standardized assessments. I would add summative unit assessments (tests/projects) here also.
    • kmolitor
       
      Grouping assessments should give us a better picture of where students are at and help to identify where they need help.
  • cannot measure more complex learning targets at the heart of instruction
    • sjensen21
       
      Our school district is doing the ISASP this year for the first time. This is a computer based test based on the Iowa Core. I worry how these results will be used to evaluate student mastery of content specific standards. How much effort will students put into the test and are there too many distractors that will bias the results?
    • kimgrissom
       
      Those are legitimate concerns. On the other hand, what this quote makes me think of regarding the ISASP is that at least the types of questions are not only selected response. So many of the standards in the Core can not be measured by the only multi-choice questions in the previous test.
  • Bias can also creep into assessments and erode accurate results.
    • sjensen21
       
      On the new computer based standardized tests, ISASP, I worry that there will be skewed results, because this if the first time students have had to take a standardized test online.
  • descriptive feedback
    • kmolitor
       
      We do need to make sure that our feedback is helpful. Telling students "fix this" or "revise this paragraph" doesn't help them learn, the feedback needs to be more specific and point to the learning target.
    • tommuller4
       
      I totally agree with giving feedback about why they missed a question or problem. If you just count it wrong the student might now have any idea why they got the question wrong.
  • The assessor must begin with a clear picture of why he or she is conducting the assessment.
    • kimgrissom
       
      I think a lot of times we default to "for a grade" but there are lots of other reasons to consider.
    • tommuller4
       
      I think this is very important sentence. I know I don't do the greatest job of outlining learning goals everyday and explaining value in each. It's same thing for test. Are testing because its end of chapter or because you want to assess learning goals from the chapter that were the most important from the chapter and meet the standards for your class.
    • annott
       
      I agree Tom, I am not the best at covering learning targets with students. And maybe standards based learning will help focus my lesson designing and improve student learning.
    • rhoadsb_
       
      I think it is very important that we focus on the learning that is taking place within our classrooms and not on grading. Our assessments should be an avenue to strengthen learning and to inform the teacher what they need to do for learning to continue to occur.
    • alisauter
       
      This reminds me of UBD, or working backwards. The teacher knows the outcome first, and then builds the learning and assessments.
  • Selecting an assessment method that is incapable of reflecting the intended learning will compromise the accuracy of the results.
    • kimgrissom
       
      I thought the assessment brainstorming we did at the end of last week with ways to assess face-to-face vs. online was an interesting way to think of all the ways we can assess. I think as teachers we often default to a couple content-specific norms and it would be good to open up to other alternatives on occasion.
    • barbkfoster
       
      Many years ago I remember assessing my math students at the end of the year with a multiple choice test. None of my tests during the year were multiple choice, but finals were required and it was the most efficient way to get my grades done :( I'm sure it did compromise the accuracy of the results.
  • This means that teachers need to write learning targets in terms that students will understand.
    • kimgrissom
       
      I was a part of a John Hattie book study this year. In Visible Learning he talks a lot about success criteria being so clear that students can accurately self-assess their work. I think that's a really great goal for any rubric or learning target.
    • rhoadsb_
       
      Again here we should aim to write them in the lowest reading level possible
  • common assessments.
    • kylelehman
       
      I totally agree with this statement that we are assessing more than ever before. I don't think that it has to be a bad thing. However, I could see from a student's point of view that it could be overkill if they don't understand why.
  • Teachers have choices in the assessment methods they use
    • mpercy
       
      Is it important for assessments to contain all 4 types of responses?
    • jennham
       
      I don't think so. I think the teacher is to pick the best assessment method for that particular learning target.
    • tmolitor
       
      I agree with Jen. I think the teacher would need to use professional judgement to decide what the best assessment method would be. Sometimes it may include all 4 types though.
  • inform what decisions?
    • kylelehman
       
      This has been a large debate that we have been having at our district. We need some sort of feedback roll out that will say how we have managed the data and what the data is and will be used for.
    • tommuller4
       
      I think is important part for a teacher after each assessment to use results to maybe modify teaching topics that students performed poorly on. Maybe need an extra day to cover certain topics more in depth if students struggled with it on test or maybe we have a poorly written question on the test causing students to miss points.
  • communicated
    • kylelehman
       
      This has been another large debate that we have had. We want to make sure that our assessments are given back in a timely manner but we also want to make sure that they have correct and accurate feedback as well as to help the student know what they did well and where to improve and all of that takes time.
    • barbkfoster
       
      TIME! It's a four-letter word in teaching! The feedback we give students is WAY more important than the grade, and way more time consuming. How do we effectively give the feedback necessary for student growth in a timely manner? I'd love to hear strategies from others here.
  • Summative applications
    • kylelehman
       
      I think that this becomes more and more important as we look into SBG. Summatives are what tell you the story of how the students mastered something and if you want to see the evidence along the way, that becomes the formatives.
  • Periodic interim/benchmark assessments can also serve program evaluation purposes, as well as inform instructional improvement and identify struggling students and the areas in which they struggle.
    • mpercy
       
      Our math department has been looking at the AAIMS tests for Algebra students which could be used as data to support the learning taking place.
    • annott
       
      This makes me think of the concept of scaffolding. Which I have used in my classroom when lesson designing. Now I need to do the same thing with assessing. Assess students periodically both formative and summative.
  • minimizing any bias that might distort estimates of student learning.
    • kmolitor
       
      As teachers we do have to be careful of bias and making assumptions. When I read through this about minimizing bias it made me think of the old ITBS/ITED tests and a student we had that was new to this country. The student was very bright but he did not perform well on the test because of bias. One example I recall was he had no idea what a fir tree was as where he was from there was no such thing.
    • cathy84
       
      I completely understand this. Teaching writing and reading at the secondary level is so very difficult.
  • Creating a plan like this for each assessment helps assessors sync what they taught with what they're assessing
  • Knowledge targets, which are the facts and concepts we want students to know.
    • annott
       
      As our district moves toward standards based grading, understanding our knowledge targets is naturally happening during this process.
    • alisauter
       
      We are working on Power Standards in our buildings. I think this would fit with those too.
    • barbkfoster
       
      It all goes back to 1) what do we want them to know and 2) how will we know when they know it. We are working hard on choosing power standards. It is a long and exhausting process but a necessary one. Even after power standards are chosen, we need to break them down into learning targets our students can understand.
  • students to track their own progress on learning targets
    • whsfieldbio
       
      I have seen this done throughout a unit of student with a Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light rating for students to self assess their percieved understading of a learning target. This self assessment was revisited frequently and used to drive student to specific learning activities that they needed to work on.
    • tmolitor
       
      I think allowing the students to self-assess and set goals is really beneficial. I like the idea of using red light, green light, and yellow light for students to show the teacher their understanding.
  • performance assessment or personal communication may be less effective and too time-consuming
    • whsfieldbio
       
      One dilema that teacher face is the factor of time which we all know. I have worked with teacher who have over 200 students in their classes and often default to a selected response assessment item even when a performance based would be more appropriate. It is challenging to assess and provide feedback in timely manner with this many students. This is not an excuse, but a barrier that needs to be explored.
  • or making the correct answer obvious
    • whsfieldbio
       
      I would also suggest to make non correct answers plausible and avoid answers that are glaringly impossible. If student select the incorrect answer then teachers could be able to identify misconceptions from an item analysis.
  • dependable data generated at every level of assessment.
    • whsfieldbio
       
      I wonder how much professional develoment or preservice teacher training is spent on looking at data to make decisions. There is most likely a range of understanding of what data should be used to design instruction. This is why is it good to have a strong PLC for teachers to work through data and assessment creation (which is really challenging in itself).
    • chriskyhl
       
      we are starting this assessment process and it is very challenging
    • mistermohr
       
      It is amazing to me that data acquisition/analysis and student feedback/scores are largely two separate endeavors. In this day and age, these should be the same step. Without some automation, I don't think this can actually be done. At least not in a meaningful manner.
  • track their own progress on learning targets
    • whsfieldbio
       
      I have seen this done throughout a unit of student with a Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light rating for students to self-assess their perceived understanding of a learning target. This self-assessment was revisited frequently and used to drive student to specific learning activities that they needed to work on.
  • if students will be the users of the results because the assessment is formative
    • rhoadsb_
       
      Use of formative assessment is vital to the success of students and to inform teachers. this should be a daily practice and done through multiple types of measures.
  • n the past, few educators, policymakers, or parents would have considered questioning the accuracy of these tests.
    • alisauter
       
      Is this because educators had more trust among these stakeholders back in the day?
  • Assessment literacy is the foundation for a system that can take advantage of a wider use of multiple measures.
    • alisauter
       
      We need to be teaching assessment literacy in teacher prep classes.
  • inform students about their own progress
    • mrsmeganmorgan
       
      Shouldn't this be the goal of all assessments? If it serves other purposes great. If this does not become the focus of the assessment, then a student will start chasing points.
    • mschutjer
       
      Ideally testing should serve the purpose of helping the teacher and student see areas where they need improvement...
  • clear curriculum maps for each standard, accurate assessment results, effective feedback, and results that point student and teacher clearly to next step
    • mrsmeganmorgan
       
      I believe that this is important because highlights the role feedback plays in the assessment process. I think we often forget feedback.
    • tmolitor
       
      I agree, feedback is really important. It also needs to be provided as quickly as possible.
    • zackkaz
       
      Feedback is most certainly key for something that can be so subjective like writing, but I also think providing feedback on LOT can also improve students understanding. I know that is something I struggle with - leaving the necessary feedback. There's always a time crunch, and sometime students that assessed well receive little feedback even though they could use it too.
  • students can use the results to self-assess and set goals.
    • mrsmeganmorgan
       
      We need to model how to self-assess and set goals. I was guilty of expecting that my students knew how to do this.
    • Deborah Cleveland
       
      Yes. It is indeed a paradigm shift for teachers and students. Modeling the process to students and talking about it will help them get the most out of the assessment process.
  • learning targets represented in the assessment into a written test plan that matches the learning targets represented in the curriculum.
    • mrsmeganmorgan
       
      I wonder if the creators of ISASP has taken this into consideration. It would be interesting to learn how they accomplished this.
    • cathy84
       
      Excellent point!
    • cathy84
       
      I wonder who "we" are when the authors say "we're betting." I don't think it's the teachers, for we know the limits of testing.
  • cultural insensitivity.
    • cathy84
       
      I think this is a way bigger problem than ,most people realize.
    • cathy84
       
      I think this is a real problem with ISASP
    • zackkaz
       
      I'm willing to let ISASP run its course though - I think it is vastly improved from the old ITBS. At least it does have open ended questions and require students to process and write instead of the good ole A, B, C, or D.
  • Making decisions that affect individuals and groups of students on the basis of a single measure
    • robertsreads
       
      The idea that a single measure can accurately assess students is absolutely baffling to me. ~KMR
    • chriskyhl
       
      definitely a scary concept with the large presence and weight placed on these assessments
    • mschutjer
       
      it seems this concept totally contradicts what education stands for. Only good test takers like these tests.
  • We're betting that the instructional hours sacrificed to testing will return dividends in the form of better instructional decisions and improved high-stakes test scores
    • robertsreads
       
      I could not agree with this more. The amount of hours we spend preparing students for a single test is astounding. The time would be better served to actually teaching students content.
  • The goal of a balanced assessment system is to ensure that all assessment users have access to the data they want when they need it, which in turn directly serves the effective use of multiple measures.
    • robertsreads
       
      Given the requests for data from our administrators and other stakeholders, this is imperative.
  • From a summative point of view, users at the classroom and periodic assessment levels want evidence of mastery of particular standards; at the annual testing level, decision makers want the percentage of students meeting each standard.
    • robertsreads
       
      It is more beneficial for students to demonstrate mastery of standards than for students to test well.
  • assessment formatively
    • barbkfoster
       
      I feel like we could do a better job of formatively assessing students. When students hear the word assessment, they think quiz or test and they get apprehensive. We need to change their mindset and show them how they can use formative assessments (exit tickets, class polls, one-minute papers, etc) to help them take control of their own learning.
  • the use of multiple measures does not, by itself, translate into high-quality evidence
    • jennham
       
      I happy to say that in our district we are working very hard at using only those assessments that we find useful to both the teachers as well as the students. We have drastically cut back on the number of assessments our students take.
  • At the level of annual state/district standardized assessments, they involve where and how teachers can improve instruction—next year.
    • jennham
       
      I feel this takes us dangerously close to teaching to the test. Is that really what is best for students? Changing everything around in order for them to score well on standardized tests? If the goal is truly to benefit students and how they learn, I am all for it no matter what.
  • "I can make good inferences. This means I can make a guess that is based on clues."
  • Who is the decision maker?This will vary. The decision makers might be students and teachers at the classroom level; instructional leaders, learning teams, and teachers at the periodic level; or curriculum and instructional leaders and school and community leaders at the annual testing level.
    • zackkaz
       
      For those that teach AP they also have the AP board to assess