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The ABCs of Assessment Improving Student Learning Through New Approaches to Classroom Assessment.

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Presentation on theme: "The ABCs of Assessment Improving Student Learning Through New Approaches to Classroom Assessment."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ABCs of Assessment Improving Student Learning Through New Approaches to Classroom Assessment

2 An Era of Standards No Child Left Behind (NCLB) State standards New accrediting standards

3 Wrong Directions High-stakes standardized testing Teaching to the test Lost focus on teacher-designed classroom assessment

4 But now we have an opportunity to change those wrong directions by refocusing our attention on the way we assess students in our classrooms. New research is proving that teacher-based classroom assessment is not only a valid means of assessing students but is even an effective way to improve student learning!

5 Why is teacher-based classroom assessment an effective way to evaluate students and to improve student learning?

6 Because teachers are constantly questioning students and giving them tasks that require students to demonstrate their learning. Information about student learning can be thought of as the “pulse” that paces and sustains learning in the classroom.

7 Research tells us that a few key features are necessary for this classroom assessment to be effective. These features are both attitudes towards assessment and structural features of how it is employed.

8 If classroom assessment is seen merely as a method of determining students’ grades, it will be less effective as a way of improving student learning.

9 “Surely, classroom tests have helped teachers dispense grades since the Middle Ages. But classroom tests can do so much more. If teachers use classroom assessments properly, students’ performances on those tests can help teachers make far better instructional decisions.” W. James Popham, Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know (2005)

10 “The best classroom assessments also serve as meaningful sources of information for teachers, helping them to identify what they taught well and what they need to work on.” T.R. Guskey, How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning (2003)

11 A: Assessment for learning rather than just assessment of learning; B: Backward design; C: Collaboration and change. ABCs of the new classroom assessment

12 Assessment for learning The purpose of assessment for learning is to improve student learning, not just audit it. It encourages formative assessment: ways to find out how students are doing when there is still time to remedy learning gaps.

13 Assessment for learning Besides formative assessment, assessment for learning favors “authentic assessment” approaches and tools that approximate most closely the kinds of tasks and skills that adults perform in the real world.

14 Assessment for learning also emphasizes the importance of communicating clear criteria for success to students and then providing regular and effective feedback so that they know what they need to do to master the goals of the course.

15 ABCs of the new classroom assessment Assessment for learning Backward design Collaboration and change

16 Backward Design A new approach to course design and curriculum writing; Replaces the “first I teach, then I test” method of assessment; Instead of beginning with the material to be covered, the teacher begins by deciding what assessment will determine whether the student has mastered the course goals.

17 Backward design requires that we first decide what students will need to do to demonstrate that they have learned what we want them to learn. Then, we design instruction with the assessment in mind. In this way, we can be sure that we are assessing the most important learning goals of the course and that our instruction is in sync with those goals.

18 But isn’t this what is known as teaching to the test?

19 Not if instruction is planned to teach skills and knowledge that are generalizable to a whole class of tasks. The tasks on any assessment should represent a sampling of representative tasks, not an exhaustive catalogue. Students should be able to complete many different tasks using the skills and knowledge mastered during the course of instruction. This is known as transfer.

20 Advantages of developing our classroom assessments at the beginning, before instruction begins? Clearer explanations of content provided to students; Sharper focus in all areas of the course on the most important goals for student learning.

21 What should a teacher consider before designing the assessments? The student learning outcomes and objectives; Whether the learning outcomes are best measured by selected-response or constructed response assessments; How to avoid bias in assessments.

22 The student learning outcomes and objectives should define the most important goals of student learning for the course. The assessments should be designed to measure them. If they do not, then the assessments are not valid.

23 Selected response or constructed response assessments? Selected-response assessments: true/false, multiple choice, short answer. Most appropriate for measuring a student’s recollection of memorized information. Constructed-response assessments: essays, performance exams, portfolios, projects, and presentations. Most appropriate for measuring a student’s skills, the ability to do something.

24 Absence of bias in the assessment? If an assessment item or task offends or unfairly penalizes a group of students on the basis of personal characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, religion, or race,then the assessment results will be distorted by bias. However, disparate impact does not necessarily equal assessment bias.

25 How to ensure that your assessments are free of bias? Become sensitive to the existence of bias and the need to eliminate it; Show any questionable item to a colleague representative of the group in question.

26 ABCs of the new classroom assessment A: assessment for learning rather than just assessment of learning; B: backward design; C: collaboration and change.

27 Collaboration and change Can an individual teacher, working alone, succeed in changing her assessment approach and practices so that they actually improve student learning, not just audit it? Perhaps, but research suggests that teachers meeting and talking together can more effectively change their assessment practices.

28 How might teachers collaborate on changes to their assessment practices? Would they need any resources from the college to do this?

29 Have there been any new ideas and approaches in this presentation that you would like to try to incorporate into your classroom teaching?

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