Great book to get started: The Differentiated School: Making Revolutionary Changes in Teaching and Learning Carol Ann Tomlinson, Kay Brimijoin, Lane Narvaez ASCD 2008
Also, to Get Started: Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division Anthony Muhammad, Solution Tree Press, 2009 Leading Change in your School: How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results, ASCD, 2009 Breaking Ranks: A Field Guide to Leading Change, NASSP, 2009 (Don’t forget BRIM – Breaking Ranks in the Middle – and new Breaking Ranks: The Comprehensive Guide to School Improvement Talk About Teaching! Leading Professional Conversations, NASSP/Corwin/NSDC, 2009
www.stenhouse.com/fiae 1.Two new, substantial study guides for Fair Isn’t Always Equal 2.Q&A’s - abbreviated versions of correspondence with teachers and administrators 3.Video and audio podcasts on assessment and grading issues 4.Testimonials from educators 5.Articles that support the book’s main themes Announcing a New and FREE Website for Perspective and Practicality on Assessment and Grading Issues!
Until Report Card Formats catch up to pedagogy, we may have to translate into three languages: Report Card Rubric Symbol English Symbol 4 Mastery 100 3 Just below 90 mastery
Three Reasons to Not Refer to Average, Above Average, Below Average Society changes its perception of what is average. “Criterion-reference” is standards-based and more helpful to everyone involved, not “norm-reference.” Averaging was invented in statistics to get rid of sample error, but in order to apply it, the experimental (assessment) design must be constant. Classroom assessments are not constant, and error is inherent.
A Perspective that Changes our Thinking: “A ‘D’ is a coward’s ‘F.’ The student failed, but you didn’t have enough guts to tell him.” -- Doug Reeves
A B C I, IP, NE, or NTY Once we cross over into D and F(E) zones, does it really matter? We’ll do the same two things: Personally investigate and take corrective action
If we do not allow students to re-do work, we deny the growth mindset so vital to student maturation, and we are declaring to the student: This assignment had no legitimate educational value. It’s okay if you don’t do this work. It’s okay if you don’t learn this content or skill. None of these is acceptable to the highly accomplished, professional educator.
Conclusions from Sample DNA Essay Grading The fact that a range of grades occurs among teachers who grade the same product suggests that: Assessment can only be done against commonly accepted and clearly understood criteria. Grades are relative. Teachers have to be knowledgeable in their subject area in order to assess students properly. Grades are subjective and can vary from teacher to teacher. Grades are not always accurate indicators of mastery.
Avoid hunt-and-peck, call-on-just-a- sampling-of-students-to-indicate-the-whole- class’s-understanding assumptions: “Does everyone understand?” “Does anyone have any questions?” “These two students have it right, so the rest of you must understand it as well.” Get evidence from every individual!
What is Mastery? “Tim was so learned, that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant, that he bought a cow to ride on.” Ben Franklin, 1750, Poor Richard’s Almanac
Working Definition of Mastery (Wormeli) Students have mastered content when they demonstrate a thorough understanding as evidenced by doing something substantive with the content beyond merely echoing it. Anyone can repeat information; it’s the masterful student who can break content into its component pieces, explain it and alternative perspectives regarding it cogently to others, and use it purposefully in new situations.
Non-mastery… The students can match each of the following parts of speech to its definition accurately: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, gerund, and interjection.
…and Mastery The student can point to any word in the sentence and explain its role (impact) in the sentence, and explain how the word may change its role, depending on where it’s placed in the sentence.
What is the standard of excellence when it comes to tying a shoe? Now describe the evaluative criteria for someone who excels beyond the standard of excellence for tying a shoe. What can they do?
Consider Gradations of Understanding and Performance from Introductory to Sophisticated Introductory Level Understanding: Student walks through the classroom door while wearing a heavy coat. Snow is piled on his shoulders, and he exclaims, “Brrrr!” From depiction, we can infer that it is cold outside. Sophisticated level of understanding: Ask students to analyze more abstract inferences about government propaganda made by Remarque in his wonderful book, All Quiet on the Western Front.
Determine the surface area of a cube. Determine the surface area of a rectangular prism (a rectangular box) Determine the amount of wrapping paper needed for another rectangular box, keeping in mind the need to have regular places of overlapping paper so you can tape down the corners neatly Determine the amount of paint needed to paint an entire Chicago skyscraper, if one can of paint covers 46 square feet, and without painting the windows, doorways, or external air vents Which one qualifies for an “A” in the gradebook?
Standards are Positives in our Lives: When a plane lands, it’s landing gear supports its weight. Water flows to our homes, and it’s healthy enough to drink. When a house is built, it withstands the wind. When we depress a key on the keyboard, it makes the letter we wish it to make. Locks lock and keys unlock. Cameras take clear pictures. Hotel beds are clean. Thermometers indicate the correct temperature.
Clarifying the Curriculum Identify our verbs. Practice making the intrinsic, extrinsic; the invisible, visible. Divide and conquer. Identify the standards that provide leverage. Share our thinking. Move from standards to evidence or outcome.
21 st Century Skills Sets (As taken from www.p21.org) Mastery of core subjects and 21st century themes is essential to student success. Core subjects include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics. In addition, schools must promote an understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects: Global Awareness Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy Civic Literacy Health Literacy Environmental Literacy
Learning and Innovation Skills Creativity and Innovation Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Communication and Collaboration Information, Media and Technology Skills Information Literacy Media Literacy ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) Literacy
Life and Career Skills Flexibility and Adaptability Initiative and Self-Direction Social and Cross-Cultural Skills Productivity and Accountability Leadership and Responsibility
Grade 6: Write and evaluate numerical expressions involving whole-number exponents. (From the Common Core Standards) What if they can write the expressions but can’t evaluate them? Does the standard require students to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole number exponents, too? Some teachers think whole numbers includes zero and negative integers, so should we require students to demonstrate proficiency with negative exponents as well? Does the standard mean students can recognize mistakes others make while evaluating such expressions?
What if they can do this by rote, but can’t explain the math behind the algorithm? What if they can do the standard this week, but can’t do it two months from now? How many times and over what period of time do students need to be able to do this in order to be considered proficient? What does it mean to exceed this standard, if that’s what our “A” grade represents?
SIX + 1 Writing Traits Sample Rubric -- Ideas and Content [From Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 SW Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204] 5 = This paper is clear and focused. It holds the reader's attention. Relevant anecdotes and details enrich the central theme or storyline. Ideas are fresh and original. The writer seems to be writing from knowledge or experience and shows insight: an understanding of life and a knack for picking out what is significant. Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that goes beyond the obvious or predictable. The writer develops the topic in an enlightening, purposeful way that makes a point or tells a story. Every piece adds something to the whole.
What will you and your colleagues accept as evidence of full mastery and of almost mastery? Spelling test non-example No echoing or parroting Regular conversations with subject-like colleagues Other teachers grading your students’ work Pacing Guides Common Assessments
A. Steps to take before designing the learning experiences: 1. Identify your essential understandings, questions, benchmarks, objectives, skills, standards, and/or learner outcomes. 2. Identify your students with unique needs, and get an early look at what they will need in order to learn and achieve. 3. Design your formative and summative assessments. 4. Design and deliver your pre-assessments based on the summative assessments and identified objectives. 5. Adjust assessments or objectives based on your further thinking discovered while designing the assessments. Quick Reference: Differentiated Lesson Planning Sequence
B. Steps to take while designing the learning experiences: 1. Design the learning experiences for students based on pre- assessments, your knowledge of your students, and your expertise with the curriculum, cognitive theory, and students at this stage of human development. 2. Run a mental tape of each step in the lesson sequence to make sure things make sense for your diverse group of students and that the lesson will run smoothly. 3. Review your plans with a colleague. 4. Obtain/Create materials needed for the lesson. 5. Conduct the lesson. 6. Adjust formative and summative assessments and objectives as necessary based on observations and data collected while teaching.
C. Steps to take after providing the learning experiences: 1. Evaluate the lesson’s success with students. What evidence do you have that the lesson was successful? What worked and what didn’t, and why? 2.Record advice on lesson changes for yourself for when you do this lesson in future years.
Feedback vs Assessment Feedback: Holding up a mirror to students, showing them what they did and comparing it what they should have done – There’s no evaluative component! Assessment: Gathering data so we can make a decision Greatest Impact on Student Success: Formative feedback
What does our understanding of feedback mean for our use of homework? Is homework more formative or summative in nature? Whichever it is, its role in determining grades will be dramatically different.
“If we don’t count homework heavily, students won’t do it.” Do you agree with this? Does this sentiment cross a line?
Two Homework Extremes that Focus Our Thinking If a student does none of the homework assignments, yet earns an “A” (top grade) on every formal assessment we give, does he earn anything less than an “A” on his report card? If a student does all of the homework well yet bombs every formal assessment, isn’t that also a red flag that something is amiss, and we need to take corrective action?
Be clear: We mark and grade against standards/outcomes, not the routes students take or techniques teachers use to achieve those standards/outcomes. Given this premise, marks/grades for these activities can no longer be used in the academic report of what students know and can do regarding learner standards: maintaining a neat notebook, group discussion, class participation, homework, class work, reading log minutes, band practice minutes, dressing out in p.e., showing up to perform in an evening concert, covering textbooks, service to the school, group projects, signed permission slips, canned foods for canned food drive…
High Final Grade Accuracy Low Final Grade Accuracy Low Use of Formative Scores in the Final Grade High Use of Formative Scores in the Final Grade Accuracy of Final Report Card Grade Accuracy of the Final Report Card Grade versus the Level of Use of Formative Assessment Scores in the Final Report Grade
Set up your gradebook into two sections: Formative Summative Assignments and assessments Final declaration completed on the way to of mastery or mastery or proficiency proficiency
Assessment AS/FOR Learning Grades rarely used, if ever Marks and feedback are used Share learning goals with students from the beginning Make adjustments in teaching a result of formative assessment data Provide descriptive feedback to students Provide opportunities for student for self-and peer assessment -- O’Connor, p. 98, Wormeli
Teacher Action Result on Student Achievement Just telling students # correct and incorrect Negative influence on achievement Clarifying the scoring criteriaIncrease of 16 percentile points Providing explanations as to why their responses are correct or incorrect Increase of 20 percentile points Asking students to continue responding to an assessment until they correctly answer the items Increase of 20 percentile points Graphically portraying student achievement Increase of 26 percentile points -- Marzano, CAGTW, pgs 5-6
The chart on the previous slide is based on an idea found in the article below: Stiggins, Rick. “Assessment Through the Student’s Eyes,” Educational Leadership, May 2007, Vol. 64, No. 8, pages 22 – 26, ASCD
Evaluating the Usefulness of Assessments What are your essential and enduring skills and content you’re trying to assess? How does this assessment allow students to demonstrate their mastery? Is every component of that objective accounted for in the assessment? Can students respond another way and still satisfy the requirements of the assessment task? Would this alternative way reveal a student’s mastery more truthfully? Is this assessment more a test of process or content? Is that what you’re after?
Clear and Consistent Evidence We want an accurate portrayal of a student’s mastery, not something clouded by a useless format or distorted by only one opportunity to reveal understanding. Differentiating teachers require accurate assessments in order to differentiate successfully.
Great differentiated assessment is never kept in the dark. “Students can hit any target they can see and which stands still for them.” -- Rick Stiggins, Educator and Assessment expert If a child ever asks, “Will this be on the test?”.….we haven’t done our job.
Successful Assessments are Varied and They are Done Over Time Assessments are often snapshot-in-time, inferences of mastery, not absolute declarations of exact mastery When we assess students through more than one format, we see different sides to their understanding. Some students’ mindmaps of their analyses of Renaissance art rivals the most cogent, written versions of their classmates.
Why Do We Grade? Provide feedback Document progress Guide instructional decisions --------------------------------------------- Motivate Punish Sort students What about incorporating attendance, effort, and behavior in the final grade?
Standards-based Grading Impacts Behavior, not just Report Cards: “When schools improve grading policies – for example, by disconnecting grades from behavior – student achievement increases and behavior improves dramatically.” (Doug Reeves, ASCD’s Educational Leadership, 2008, p. 90, Reeves)
Consider… Teaching and learning can and do occur without grades. We do not give students grades in order to teach them. Grades reference summative experiences only – cumulative tests, projects, demonstrations, NOT formative experiences. Students can learn without grades, but they must have feedback. Grades are inferences based upon a sampling of student’s work in one snapshot moment in time. As such they are highly subjective and relative.
Premise A grade represents a valid and undiluted indicator of what a student knows and is able to do – mastery. With grades we document progress in students and our teaching, we provide feedback to students and their parents, and we make instructional decisions.
‘Time to Change the Metaphor: Grades are NOT compensation. Grades are communication: They are an accurate report of what happened.
10 Practices to Avoid in a Differentiated Classroom [They Dilute a Grade’s Validity and Effectiveness] Penalizing students’ multiple attempts at mastery Grading practice (daily homework) as students come to know concepts [Feedback, not grading, is needed] Withholding assistance (not scaffolding or differentiating) in the learning when it’s needed Group grades Incorporating non-academic factors (behavior, attendance, and effort)
Assessing students in ways that do not accurately indicate students’ mastery (student responses are hindered by the assessment format) Grading on a curve Allowing Extra Credit Defining supposedly criterion-based grades in terms of norm-referenced descriptions (“above average,” “average”, etc.) Recording zeroes on the 100.0 scale for work not done
0 or 50 (or 60)? 100-pt. Scale: 0, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 -- 83% (C+) 60, 100, 100, 100, 100, 100 -- 93% (B+) When working with students, do we choose the most hurtful, unrecoverable end of the “F” range, or the most constructive, recoverable end of the “F” range?
Be clear: Students are not getting points for having done nothing. The student still gets an F. We’re simply equalizing the influence of the each grade in the overall grade and responding in a way that leads to learning.
Imagine the Reverse… A = 100 – 40 B = 39 – 30 C = 29 – 20 D = 19 – 10 F = 9 – 0 What if we reversed the proportional influences of the grades? That “A” would have a huge, yet undue, inflationary effect on the overall grade. Just as we wouldn’t want an “A” to have an inaccurate effect, we don’t want an “F” grade to have such an undue, deflationary, and inaccurate effect. Keeping zeroes on a 100-pt. scale is just as absurd as the scale seen here.
A (0) on a 100-pt. scale is a (-6) on a 4-pt. scale. If a student does no work, he should get nothing, not something worse than nothing. How instructive is it to tell a student that he earned six times less than absolute failure? Choose to be instructive, not punitive. [Based on an idea by Doug Reeves, The Learning Leader, ASCD, 2006] 100 90 80 70 60 4321043210 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 50 40 30 20 10 0 Consider the Correlation
Temperature Readings for Norfolk, VA: 85, 87, 88, 84, 0 (‘Forgot to take the reading) Average: 68.8 degrees This is inaccurate for what really happened, and therefore, unusable.
Clarification: When we’re talking about converting zeroes to 50’s or higher, we’re referring to zeroes earned on major projects and assessments, not homework, as well as anything graded on a 100-point scale. It’s okay to give zeroes on homework or on small scales, such as a 4.0 scale. Zeroes recorded for homework assignments do not refer to final, accurate declarations of mastery, and those zeroes don’t have the undue influence on small grading scales.
Grading Late Work One whole letter grade down for each day late is punitive. It does not teach students, and it removes hope. A few points off for each day late is instructive; there’s hope. Yes, the world beyond school is like this.
Helpful Consideration for Dealing with Student’s Late Work: Is it chronic…. …or is it occasional? We respond differently, depending on which one it is.
This quarter, you’ve taught: 4-quadrant graphing Slope and Y-intercept Multiplying binomials Ratios/Proportions 3-dimensional solids Area and Circumference of a circle. The student’s grade: B What does this mark tell us about the student’s proficiency with each of the topics you’ve taught?
Unidimensionality – A single score on a test represents a single dimension or trait that has been assessed Student Dimension A Dimension B Total Score 1 21012 2 10212 3 66 Problem: Most tests use a single score to assess multiple dimensions and traits. The resulting score is often invalid and useless. -- Marzano, CAGTW, page 13
Setting Up Gradebooks in a Differentiated Classroom Avoid setting up gradebooks according to formats or media used to demonstrate mastery: tests, quizzes, homework, projects, writings, performances Instead, set up gradebooks according to mastery: objectives, benchmarks, standards, learner outcomes
Gradebooks and Report Cards in the Differentiated Classroom: Ten Important Attributes 1.Everything is clearly communicated, easily understood 2.Use an entire page per student 3.Set up according to Standards/Outcomes 4.Disaggregate! 5.No averaging – Determine grades based on central tendency, trend, mode
Gradebooks and Report Cards in the Differentiated Classroom: Ten Important Attributes 6. Behavior/Effort/Attendance separated from Academic Performance 7. Grades/Marks are as accurate as possible 8. Some students may have more marks/grades than others 9. Scales/Rubric Descriptors readily available, even summarized as possible 10. Grades/marks revisable
Responsive Report Formats Adjusted Curriculum Approach: Grade the student against his own progression, but indicate that the grade reflects an adjusted curriculum. Place an asterisk next to the grade or check a box on the report card indicating such, and include a narrative comment in the cumulative folder that explains the adjustments.
Responsive Report Formats Progression and Standards Approach: Grade the student with two grades, one indicating his performance with the standards and another indicating his own progression. A, B, C, D, or F indicates the student’s progress against state standards, while 3, 2, or 1 indicates his personal progression.
Responsive Report Formats Multiple Categories Within Subjects Approach: Divide the grade into its component pieces. For example, a “B” in Science class can be subdivided into specific standards or benchmarks such as, “Demonstrates proper lab procedure,” “Successfully employs the scientific method,” or “Uses proper nomenclature and/or taxonomic references.” The more we try to aggregate into a single symbol, the less reliable that symbol is as a true expression of what a student knows and is able to do.
Report Cards without Grades Course: StandardStandards Rating English 9 Descriptor(1)(2)(3)(4) _____________________________________________________________________ Standard 1 Usage/Punct/Spelling----------------------2.5 Standard 2 Analysis of Literature------------1.75 Standard 3 Six + 1 Traits of Writing--------------------------------3.25 Standard 4 Reading Comprehension--------------------------------3.25 Standard 5 Listening/Speaking----------------2.0 Standard 6 Research Skills------------------------------------------4.0 Additional Comments from Teachers: Health and Maturity Records for the Grading Period:
100 point scale or 4.0 Scale? A 4.0 scale has a high inter-rater reliability. Students’ work is connected to a detailed descriptor and growth and achievement rally around listed benchmarks. In 100-point or larger scales, the grades are more subjective. In classes in which teachers use percentages or points, students, teachers, and parents more often rally around grade point averages, not learning.
Consider: Pure mathematical averages of grades for a grading period are inaccurate indicators of students’ true mastery. A teacher’s professional judgment via clear descriptors on a rubric actually increases the accuracy of a student’s final grade as an indicator of what he learned. A teacher’s judgment via rubrics has a stronger correlation with outside standardized tests than point or average calculations do. (Marzano)
Office of Educational Research and Improvement Study (1994): Students in impoverished communities that receive high grades in English earn the same scores as C and D students in affluent communities. Math was the same: High grades in impoverished schools equaled only the D students’ performance in affluent schools.
Accurate grades are based on the most consistent evidence. We look at the pattern of achievement, including trends, not the average of the data. This means we focus on the median and mode, not mean, and the most recent scores are weighed heavier than earlier scores. Median: The middle test score of a distribution, above and below which lie an equal number of test scores Mode: The score occurring most frequently in a series of observations or test data
Suggested Language to Use in Parents’ Handbook: Parents, as we are basing students' grades on standards for each discipline, final grades are first and foremost determined by our teachers' professional opinion of your child's work against those standards, not by mathematical calculations. Teachers have been trained in analyzing student products against standards and in finding evidence of that learning using a variety of methods. Please don't hesitate to inquire how grades for your child were determined if you are unsure.
Allowing Students to Re-do Assignments and Tests for Full Credit: Always, “…at teacher discretion.” It must be within reason. Students must have been giving a sincere effort. Require parents to sign the original assignment or test, requesting the re-do. Require students to submit a plan of study that will enable them to improve their performance the second time around.
Allow Students to Re-do Assignments and Tests for Full Credit: Identify a day by which time this will be accomplished or the grade is permanent. With the student, create a calendar of completion that will help them achieve it. Require students to submit original with the re-done version so you can keep track of their development Reserve the right to give alternative versions No-re-do’s the last week of the grading period Sometimes the greater gift is to deny the option.
Grading Inclusion Students Question #1: “Are the standards set for the whole class also developmentally appropriate for this student?” If they are appropriate, proceed to Question #2. If they are not appropriate, identify which standards are appropriate, making sure they are as close as possible to the original standards. Then go to question #2.
Grading Inclusion Students Question #2: “Will these learning experiences (processes) we’re using with the general class work with the inclusion student as well?” If they will work, then proceed to Question #3. If they will not work, identify alternative pathways to learning that will work. Then go to Question #3.
Grading Inclusion Students Question #3: “Will this assessment instrument we’re using to get an accurate rendering of what general education students know and are able to do regarding the standard also provide an accurate rendering of what this inclusion student knows and is able to do regarding the same standard? If the instrument will provide an accurate rendering of the inclusion student’s mastery, then use it just as you do with the rest of the class. If it will not provide an accurate rendering of the inclusion student’s mastery, then identify a product that will provide that accuracy, and make sure it holds the student accountable for the same universal factors as your are asking of the other students.
Grading Gifted Students Insure grade-level material is learned. If it’s enrichment material only, the grade still represents mastery of on-grade-level material. An addendum report card or the comment section provides feedback on advanced material. If the course name indicates advanced material (Algebra I Honors, Biology II), then we grade against those advanced standards. If the student has accelerated a grade level or more, he is graded against the same standards as his older classmates.
Great New Books on Feedback, Assessment, and Grading: Elements of Grading, Doug Reeves, 2010 How to Give Feedback to Your Students, Susan M. Brookhart, ASCD, 2008 Developing Performance-Based Assessments, Grades 6-12, Nancy P. Gallavan, Corwin Press, 2009 Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us, Daniel Koretz, Harvard University Press, 2008 Assessment Essentials for Stnadards-Based Education, Second Edition, James H. McMillan, Corwin Press, 2008 Balanced Assessment, From Formative to Summative, Kay Burke, Solution Tree, 2010
Recommended Reading on Assessment and Grading Arter, Judith A.; McTighe, Jay; Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom : Using Performance Criteria for Assessing and Improving Student Performance, Corwin Press, 2000 ArterJay; Benjamin, Amy. Differentiating Instruction: A Guide for Middle and High School Teachers, Eye on Education, 2002 Black, Paul; William, Dylan. 1998. “Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment,” Phi Delta kappan, 80(2): 139-148 Borich, Gary D.; Tombari, Martin L. Educational Assessment for the Elementary and Middle School Classroom (2nd Edition), Prentice Hall, 2003 BorichMartin L. Brookhart, Susan. 2004. Grading. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall Brookhart, Susan. 2004. Grading. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall
Recommended Reading on Assessment and Grading Fisher, Douglas; Frey, Nancy. Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for your Classroom, ASCD, 2007 www.exemplars.com Heacox, Diane, Ed.D. Differentiated Instruction in the Regular Classroom, Grades 3 – 12, Free Spirit Publishing, 2000 Lewin, Larry; Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, John Wiley & Sons, 1998 LewinBetty Jean. Marzano, Robert. Transforming Classroom Grading, ASCD 2001 Marzano, Robert. Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work, ASCD 2006 Marzano, Robert; McTighe, Jay; and Pickering, Debra. Assessing Student Outcomes: Performance Assessment Using the Dimensions of Learning Model, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1993
Recommended Reading Millan, James H. Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Instruction (2nd Edition), Allyn & Bacon, 2000James H. O’Connor, Ken; How to Grade for Learning, 2 nd Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press (3 rd edition coming in 2009) O’Connor, Ken; A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, ETS publishers, 2007 Popham, W. James; Test Better, Teach Better: The Intsructional Role of Assessment, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003 Popham, W. James; Classroom Assessment : What Teachers Need to Know (4th Edition), Pearson Education, 2004 Popham Rutherford, Paula. Instruction for All Students, Just ASK Publications, Inc (703) 535-5432, 1998 Stiggins, Richard J. Student-Involved Classroom Assessment (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall, 2000 Stiggins
Wiggins, Grant; Educative assessment: Assessment to Inform and Improve Performance, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997 Grant Wiggins Web site and organization: Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure (CLASS) email@example.com@classnj.org www.classnj.org firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Wormeli, Rick. Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom. Stenhouse Publishers, 2006
“I was put on earth by God in order to accomplish a certain number of things… right now I am so far behind… I will never die!” -Calvin and Hobbes
“ Opposition to change remains inevitable. In fact, if your proposed change does not engender opposition, then you should question whether or not what you are proposing really represents meaningful change.” - p. 11, Doug Reeves, Leading Change in your School, ASCD, 2009
Accept the fact that there is no one way to get your whole faculty on board. Waiting for 100% buy-in is a willful act of failure. Another Act of Willful Failure: Changing structures, programs without changing teacher beliefs as well.
How do education leaders maintain any new building or district initiative? Remember: When asking how to maintain differentiated practices, for example, we’re really asking how to maintain effective teaching.
Important Administrative Questions What are our own interpretations and preferences when it comes to assessment and grading: Are they accurate? What are we doing to keep informed? To what degree will we accept philosophies in our teachers that are different from our own? How can we tell if a teacher is assessing and grading successfully? How do we know if a teacher’s approach is developmentally appropriate for students?
Important Administrative Questions What does, “Fair isn’t always equal” look like in a classroom? Does assessment inform the teacher’s practice? How can we facilitate struggling teachers’ growth in assessment and grading?
Be careful what you wish for -- If a teacher gets into standards-based assessment and grading, some conventional practices become suspect. Are you ready for the conversations to be had? How to interpret and use of standardized testing data... When a student fails to learn, teachers question their instructional approach rather than automatically blaming the student. Teachers can change their lesson plans daily, depending on the needs of students, regardless of what’s been submitted for approval earlier. Teachers need more opportunities to increase their instructional flexibility, i.e. they need to build their repertoire of responses. Teachers are asked to make decisions based on assessment data, and they are asked to explain those decisions publicly.
Teachers will work more collaboratively with those in and out of the building. Teachers emphasize formative over summative assessment. Homework assignments will be different for some students, and it will not count heavily in the final grade, if at all. Final exams will not carry as much weight. Grading will be criterion-referenced (standards-based). This is the beginning of intense conversations on what teachers will accept as evidence of mastery, and the end of averaging, using zeroes on the 100-point scale, tabulating points, using percentages, and setting up gradebooks according to formats (Teachers will use individual standards instead). Teachers will claim that this isn’t done in upper grade levels so isn’t differentiating instruction/assessment/grading a disservice to students? Parents will need to be trained – every year.
With colleagues, reflect on the bigger questions: Why do we grade students? What does a grade mean? Does our current approaches best serve students? How do we communicate with parents? How does assessment inform our practice? Is what we’re doing fair and developmentally appropriate? How can we counter the negative impact of poverty on our students’ learning? What role does practice play in mastery? What is mastery for each curriculum we teach? What is homework, and how much should it count in the overall grade? How are our current structures limiting us?
With colleagues, reflect on the bigger questions: Whose voice is not heard in our deliberations? What evidence of mastery will we accept? What do we know about differentiated practices and the latest in cognitive theory and how are those aspects manifest in our classrooms? If not, why not? Are we mired in complacency? Are we doing things just to perpetuate what has always been done? Are we open to others’ points of view – why or why not? Does our report card express what we’re doing in the classroom? How are modern classrooms different from classrooms thirty years ago? Where will our practices look like 15 years from now? To what extent do we allow state, provincial, country, or international exams to influence our classroom practices?
Skill Sets Teachers Need in Order to Work Together to Improve Practices How to write and talk about teaching; how to make the implicit explicit Formative versus Summative Assessments Cognitive Science applied in the classroom How to critique each other constructively How to work with mentors/coaches How to read, critique, and share professional materials – text, Websites, videos, research.
Highly Recommended: 1. John Hattie, Visible Learning, 2008 2. Gerald Bracey’s works: – Bail Me Out: Handling Difficult Data and Tough Questions About Public Schools, 2000 – Reading Educational Research: How to Avoid Getting Statistically Snookered, 2006 – Setting the Record Straight: Responses to Misconceptions About Public Education in the U.S., 2004 – RESEARCH: “Tips for Readers of Research: 'Seeing Through' the Graphs.” Kappan, Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., February, 2003.
Clearly Define Standards-based Assessment and Grading Create a working definition Provide/Generate examples of what it is and is not Bust myths Practice identifying it in classrooms: videos, peer observation, written descriptions
1.Students are working in small groups on an assigned task. One student isn’t cooperating with the rest of his group, however, and as a result, the group is falling farther behind the other groups. What happens when it comes to grading the group’s product? 2. A student keeps re-doing an essay in order to improve his grade, but he seems to disregard the advice the teacher gives him on each attempt. He makes a few cosmetic changes and re-arranges some words, but there’s no substantive change. He and the teacher are getting frustrated at his lack of progress.
3. Eleven students do not do the assignment from last night. Consequently, they are not prepared to move on with the class in today’s task. What is an effective instructional response? And when it comes to assessment? 4.A student just moved into your class and school from out of state, and he seems to not have the basic foundations that you’ve already taught your class. Those foundations are very important for students to know for the next unit of study you have to teach.
A.Two students struggle with graphing the intersection of two inequalities, so the teacher asks them to graph only one instead. B. One student turns his work in on time, but only gets a B grade. Another turns in his work, but receives an F on it. Two weeks later, he re-submits the work and it receives an “A.” Is this fair to the first student who followed the rules for the deadline? C. A student gets 100% on a pre-test, so the teacher asks the student to do a personal research topic related to the general subject of the unit for the duration of their studies. D.All students in Mr. Brown’s class keep journals in math. The type of journal matches each student’s strengths and interests. For example, one journal is for the students whose verbal skills are stronger than their math skills. Students keep a list of math terms learned in class and then use the terms in sentences. Another journal is for students have good visual-spatial skills. These students draw pictures to remind them of math vocabulary. How do we assess them fairly?
Tips for Difficult Conversations, taken from the www.stenhouse.com/fiae Website: 1.Honor the perspectives and experiences participants bring to the group. 2.Set the tone from the beginning: Ask everyone to play Socrates or Devil’s Advocate at every turn. If possible, make it a responsibility to be contrarian so as to help everyone fully explore the idea or principle. Unexamined concepts don’t serve us as well as fully examined ones do, and we give ideas life through debate, not quick acquiescence. One way to do this is to distribute large index cards with, “Yeah, but…” or, “Yeah, and…” written boldly across the front. Participants wave the cards when they have a concern. The card in their hands reminds that it’s okay to debate and share concerns, and waving them gives them a vehicle to introduce them.
3. Provide the big picture perspective. When there is serious division among the group, or one teacher is largely contrarian in an uncooperative way, ask the larger questions of what you’re studying: “What if we applied this policy to all students in all situations – Would it still be effective?” “What’s the role of homework?” 4. Ask them to try the new idea on just one assessment, for just one subset of students, or for a finite period of time, then to return to the group with the results for group consideration. This helps everyone see the endeavor as analytical and clinical, and no one is panicked by permanence. (Call it a, “Pilot” program)
Start with a Few… Identify 3 or 4 staff already differentiating or willing to give it a shot…and support their journey with everything you’ve got. Ask them to present their journey to the faculty -- ‘mistakes, successes, ‘everything. Invite a parent or three to be a part of the conversations.
Create a Culture of Expectancy “This is our way of doing things around here.” Letter to potential new faculty Immersion -- If it’s in sight, it’s in mind, so put it in sight. Publicize at faculty meetings, newsletters, letter to parents, news organizations, Website Promote in public spaces used by teachers Attach differentiated instruction practices to professional goals and annual evaluation
Changing a Building/District’s Culture Great publications for culture change can be found at: Corwin Press Solution Tree Lead and Learn ASCD NASSP NAESP NSDC Jossey-Bass
D i f f e r e n t i a t e s t a f f d e v e l o p m e n t a n d e v a l u a t e t e a c h e r s u s i n g p r o p e r a s s e s s m e n t p r o t o c o l s. End hypocrisy…
Teachers Lead Identify two or more teachers to coordinate the journey for the building. Empower them to make decisions on behalf of the faculty. Maintain a place on the school’s Intranet to post questions and have them answered by teachers or guest experts (local and national trainers and authors on differentiation). Ask these teachers to train you and the rest of the administration as well – ‘creates credence, empathy, and knowledge
Put time, energy, people, and money into coaching/mentoring teachers. Consider: -- PLC’s -- Critical Friends Network -- Teacher Action Research Teams -- Becoming a Lab School for a local University -- Beginning Teacher Induction programs
1.What do we want our students to learn? 2.How will we know when they have learned it? 3.How will we respond when some students don’t learn? 4. How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who have demonstrated Proficiency? Professional Learning Communities Standards-based Assessment and Grading Practices
“Dipstick” frequently. (a John Saphier term) This includes a checklist for evidence of standards-based assessment/grading in your Walk-through observations. Ask teachers to present evidence in planning and practice. Consider both quantitative and qualitative measures. What would this look like?
Bring at least one parent to every conference or in-service training.
Open each Faculty Meeting with the Idea A different group shares their interactions with the topic for five to ten minutes each meeting. Rotate different departments and grade levels through the presentation duty.
Use Department Meetings At every department meeting: Discuss an aspect of the idea and prepare a report for the administration Ask: What does this look like in our discipline?
Conduct Instructional Roundtables One-hour or less Someone (not limited to leaders) posts a topic for discussion and a location for the meeting two weeks in advance All are invited, but ‘must have one idea to share (photocopied) as ticket to the roundtable
Teacher Inservice Training Alberta Assessment Consortium www.nmsa.org www.ascd.org www.sde.com www.nsdc.org www.leadandlearn.org www.nassp.org Specific subject professional organizations Authors and presenters www.aeispeakers.com Speaker’s bureaus “Wisdom Within” – experts in the building already Consider Webcasts, E-Seminars, or Videocasts
Conduct Monthly or Quarterly meetings Gather together to debrief in small groups about how things are going with the new initiative.
Conduct Book Study Groups Teachers and administrators Request study guides from publisher, if available One month in duration, if possible
Disseminate articles/ideas in teacher boxes Keep the idea(s) in front of teachers so it doesn’t get moved to the back burner. Make sure to follow up with a structured interactions.
Inform Parents Educate parents of the school’s new emphasis and invite them to look for evidence of it in action. Invite parents to help critique the impact of the new emphasis.
Publicize! Add the new program or emphasis to the school’s publications such as newsletters, Website, Work Plan, accreditation materials, and promotional school materials.
Regularly Affirm Small Steps public recognition at faculty gatherings private notes of thanks & encouragement take over a teacher’s class in order to give her an extra planning period refer a teacher looking for help to a successful teacher post teacher successes somewhere visible invite news organizations to interview teachers who’ve been successful ask successful teachers to take on leadership roles
Peer Observation System Create a system of collegial feedback in which teachers observe and analyze each other’s lessons in light of the new faculty emphasis. Assign someone the task of coordinating who’s partnering with whom, as well as the dates and times for observations and post-observation analysis. Observations can be in person by giving up an occasional planning (or providing a sub for a non-planning period slot), or it can be done by video-taping the class and analyzing the lesson with a colleague later. Enlist retirees and parents to do the video-taping, if that’s easier.
Keep a Sense of Humor Humans are inconsistent and messy – embrace it. Three steps forward, two steps back. Humor bonds.
Accept a Multi-Year Learning Curve Most big initiatives require 3 to 5 years to become the culture of a school, with vigilant attention to progress and training of new faculty members.
C.B.A.M. -- Concerns-Based Adoption Model Teachers move through different stages of concern – for themselves, for the task, for the new idea’s impact – as well as through stages of use. If we respond to each level of concern and how teachers are using the idea, teachers are more willing to partake in the new initiative.
Teachers Use of the New Idea 6 – Renewal 5 – Integration 4a/4b – Refinement/Routine 3 – Mechanical 2 – Preparation 1 – Orientation 0 – Non-use
Great CBAM Resources: Taking Charge of Change Shirley M. Hord, William L. Rutherford, Leslie Huling- Austin, Gene E. Hall ASCD, 1987 Also try, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory catalog: www.sedl.org/pubs/catalog/items/cbam15.html
Keep the timeline and accomplishments ever-visible. Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Gather & Analyze Data to Determine Priorities Explore Possible Solutions Assess Readiness & Build Capacity Create & Communicate Improvement Plan Implement Plan Monitor & Adjust From, Breaking Ranks A Field Guide for Leading Change, NASSP, 2009 www.nassp.org (BRIM for Middle Level!)