Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Assessment Jigsaw

Finding your grading compass
By Carol Ann Tomlinson
·      Mrs. Tomlinson was discouraged because she felt that giving bad grades in the beginning of the year was contributing to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
·      She began to worry that the negative grades were discouraging her students, and came up with a list of ways in which she could change her grading policies. These are some of the highlights of the list.
o   Grading does not contribute to learning, and the better the teaching, the better the grades should be.
o   Good grades should represent personal struggle, and A’s that don’t represent growth is a lie.
o   Use rubrics as guides and tools, but never guarantee A’s if they do everything they are supposed to.
o   Consistent feedback is a better way of providing support then grades will ever be.
o   Students should be involved in analyzing their own work, which will help improve their work.
·      By embracing these principles, Mrs. Tomlinson believes that she is a better teacher, and that teachers should think about how their grades impact the learning.
Grade Inflation: Killing with Kindness
By Bryan Goodwin

·      From the early 90’s till now, the number of students with A’s has nearly doubled, while test scores have not raised by that much.
·      Some believe that the concerns are overblown, and that we should be really concerned with whether the grades accurately reflect the students learning.
·      One reason that grades are going up is that teachers are placing greater emphasis on aspects like participation and behavior, especially in low-income areas where grades are used to keep kids in line.
·      Another reason that grades are inflated is that more kids today are going to college, and teachers took measures to accommodate them.
·      One negative of inflated grades is more kids going to college based on these grades and dropping out, which costs both the families and the state a lot of money.

Diagnostic, Formative & Summative Assessments - What’s the difference?
By Linda Gonzalez

     This post attempts to give a brief overview of the assessment, how they can be use to inform instruction, and how to implement them in the classroom.
     this occurs before instruction.  This focuses on one area or domain of knowledge.  It can provide educators with information about student’s prior knowledge before instruction.
     It can help teacher develop lesson plans and provide differentiated instruction to meet students needs.
     This is normally embedded with the instructional process.
     Can be use to determine what needs or topics have to be address next with a student. 
     An educator can use it to find gaps between what students have learned and what they are struggling with.
     It not only includes test and homework but also interactive process. 
     Is given after a specific point.
     Examples: high stake test, standardized state exams, district or interim test, midterms and final exams.
     It can check student’s mastery of a subject.
     While many types can be confusing and can be consider controversial,  it is important to remember that they should be used as a framework to inform the instruction process.
“Assessment Professional Development Guide”
By Edutopia Staff

Why is Assessment Important?
·         Important in checking for student understanding
·         Can make changes and modify accordingly
·         "Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?"
·         "Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?"
·         "Is there a way to teach the subject better, thereby promoting better learning?"
·         When assessment works best, it does the following:
Provides diagnostic feedback
     What is the student's knowledge base?
     What is the student's performance base?
     What are the student's needs?
     What has to be taught?
Helps educators set standards
     What performance demonstrates understanding?
     What performance demonstrates knowledge?
     What performance demonstrates mastery?
Evaluates progress
     How is the student doing?
     What teaching methods or approaches are most effective?
     What changes or modifications to a lesson are needed to help the student?
Relates to a student's progress
     What has the student learned?
     Can the student talk about the new knowledge?
     Can the student demonstrate and use the new skills in other projects?
Motivates performance
For student self-evaluation:
     Now that I'm in charge of my learning, how am I doing?
     Now that I know how I'm doing, how can I do better?
     What else would I like to learn?
For teacher self-evaluation:
     What is working for the students?
     What can I do to help the students more?
     In what direction should we go next?

What are some types of assessments?
·         Learning requires problem solving to build mental models
·         What should be assessed:
o     learner's ability to organize, structure, and use information in context to solve complex problems.
·         Standardized tests
·         Common core
o     Difficult to assess because evidence-based.
o     Important to ask:
§                      Is it portfolios?
§                      If portfolios are a part of evidence-based assessment, what else is
§                      Reflections? Work samples? Best work?
·         Alternative assessments
o     Examples of these measurements are open-ended questions, written compositions, oral presentations, projects, experiments, and portfolios of student work.
·         Authentic assessment can include many of the following:
·         Observation
·         Essays
·         Interviews
·         Performance tasks
·         Exhibitions and demonstrations
·         Portfolios
·         Journals
·         Teacher-created tests
·         Rubrics
·         Self- and peer-evaluation
How do Rubrics Help?
·         scoring guidelines that can be used to provide consistency in evaluating student work.
·         let students know what is expected of them, and demystify grades
·         opportunity to do self-assessment to reflect on the learning process
·         teachers can grade project- or performance-based assessments consistently from student-to-student
·         measure the quality of a body of work
·         Team Rubrics
o     guideline that lets each team member know what is expected of him or her.
     Shows the quantitative value of the behaviors or actions.
     For instance:
                                     Did the person participate in the planning process?
                                     How involved was each member?
                                     Was the team member's work to the best of his or her ability?
·         Project Rubrics
o    lists the requirements for the completion of a project-based-learning lesson.
     For instance:
                                     What is the quality of the work?
                                     How do you know the content is accurate?
                                     How well was the presentation delivered?
                                     How well was the presentation designed?
                                     What was the main idea?
·         Sample Rubrics
     Collaboration Rubric for Group Work from a high school science project, San Diego City Schools
     Oral Presentation Rubric from a middle school humanities project, Louisiana Voices
     Written Report Rubric from SCORE
     Math Problem-Solving Rubric from Utah Education Network
     Discussion Participation Rubric ( PDF download) from a ninth grade humanities project, School of the Future
·         websites that offer free tools to generate your own rubrics:
o     Rubistar
o     Assessment & Rubric Information
o     rubric section of the Authentic Assessment Toolbox, by Dr. Jon Mueller of North Central College
More Resources on Comprehensive Assessment:
     Edutopia's Comprehensive Assessment Core Strategy page
     Article: "Assessment for Understanding: Taking a Deeper Look"
     Video: "An Introduction to Comprehensive Assessment"
     Article: "Studies in Success: A Survey of Assessment Research"
     Video: "Assessment Overview: Beyond Standardized Testing"
     Article: "Comprehensive Assessment: What Experts Say"
     Schools That Work Package: "Comprehensive Assessment: A New York Success Story"
     Article: "Toward Genuine Accountability: The Case for a New State Assessment System"
     Article: "Measuring What Counts: Memorization Versus Understanding"
     Article: "Assessment: No Single Measure Tells the Story of Student Achievement"
     Package: "Reinventing the Big Test: The Challenge of Authentic Assessment"
     Article: "10 Takeaway Tips for Authentic Assessment"
     Article: "How you can replicate authentic assessment in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years..."

     Article: "Standardized Testing Fails the Exam"

     Discussion Group: Assessment

     Blog: "Tame the Beast: Tips for Designing and Using Rubrics" by Andrew Miller

High School

     UrbanPlan Project at Alameda High School in Alameda, CA

     Comprehensive Assessment at Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, WA

     Performance Assessment at Urban Academy in New York, NY 

Ohio Dept. of Education website:

“What are some types of classroom assessment and what student evidence can they generate?”

·         Closed tasks
o     Multiple-choice
o     True/false
o     Fill-in-the blanks
o     Solve (w/o showing process)
o     Useful for:
§                      assessing content-based standards
§                      assessing of knowledge, facts, skills or concepts
§                      takes less time
·         Open tasks and constructed responses
o     Tasks with different possible answers
o     Different possible processes
o     Useful for:
§                      Use of processes or strategies
§                      Ability to interpret info
§                      Ability to apply info
§                      Reasoning
§                      Ability to communicate thinking
·         Performance tasks
o     Integrative tasks that yield specific products
o     Authentic assessments
o     Extended projects
o     Useful for:
§                      Assessing ability to organize, synthesize and apply information and skills
§                      Use of resources
·         Informal assessments
o     Teacher observations
o     Teacher checklists
o     Conversations or interviews
o     Useful for:
§                      Process or strategy use
§                      Reasoning
§                      Understanding a topic or concept
§                      Ability to communicate and collaborate
·         Self-assessment or reflection
o     Student journals or reflection logs
o     Student checklists
o     Group reflection activities
o     Daily/weekly self evals
o     Teacher-student interviews
o     Useful for:
§  Developing student awareness of strengths and weaknesses (metacognitive  skills)
§  Show student process and thinking/reasoning skills
§  Reveals student disposition towards topic or learning
§  Helps identify student goals

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