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The Why and How of “Less Teaching, More Assessing” Kathryn Anderson Alvestad, Ph.D. National Academy Foundation 23 rd Annual Institute for Staff Development.

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Presentation on theme: "The Why and How of “Less Teaching, More Assessing” Kathryn Anderson Alvestad, Ph.D. National Academy Foundation 23 rd Annual Institute for Staff Development."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Why and How of “Less Teaching, More Assessing” Kathryn Anderson Alvestad, Ph.D. National Academy Foundation 23 rd Annual Institute for Staff Development Washington, DC July 19, 2007

2 Education Update February 2006 Volume 48, Number 2 John Wilcox summarizes a presentation made by Grant Wiggins during a session at ASCD’s Fall, 2005 Conference on Teaching and Learning.

3 Article Summary “Designing and using feedback systems gives teachers a way to assess student learning on the fly – while the learning is still happening – and make midcourse corrections to help maximize student performance.” Grant Wiggins Wilcox, J. (2006). Less Teaching, More Assessing. Education Update, 48(2), p. 1.

4 Paradoxically… “…the rise of standards sometimes leads teachers to spend less time giving feedback to students.” And, unfortunately… “Less feedback means less time spent practicing, thinking about, and mastering new material, and that makes it less likely that students will meet the standards.” Wilcox, p. 2

5 The Solution Is… Plan ways to give and receive feedback to and from students during instruction. Decide how to proceed – with the lesson or the next day’s lesson or the unit – based on the information gathered. This necessitates slightly less teaching and slightly more assessing. Hence, the intriguing title!

6 Session Objectives This session will: 1.Present numerous ideas to demonstrate how formative assessment practices can be integrated into daily instruction; 2.Describe how teachers can use the information yielded by formative assessments to make instructional decisions that lead to maximized student achievement; 3.Give participants the opportunity to share valuable insights about assessment FOR learning compared to assessment OF learning.

7 Background Why Using Feedback (Formative Assessment) is One of the Most Fundamental Teaching Skills

8 DRIP Syndrome Schools and teachers typically suffer from the DRIP syndrome: Data Rich/ Information Poor Richard DuFour (2004). “What Is a Professional Learning Community?” Educational Leadership, 61(8), 6-11.

9 Goal for Classroom Teachers Teachers can create classrooms that are information rich by providing opportunities for students to show what they know, providing useful feedback to both the teacher and the students.

10 Food for Thought “The most powerful single modification that enhances achievement is feedback.” J. H. Hattie (1992), “Measuring the Effects of Schooling.” Australian Journal of Education.

11 Grant Wiggins on Feedback “Feedback is different from advice or guidance. It’s also different from praise or blame. Feedback is information. ‘Good job!’ is not feedback; it’s praise. Praise isn’t information; it’s affirmation.” Wilcox, p. 2

12 Good Feedback: Is quick and ongoing, taking place right after or during the learning. Is contextual; an integral part of the learning or activity. Addresses individual learners and their progress, not the whole class. Presents a manageable amount of information so students can process and act on it. Models or demonstrates the desired behavior. Is specific; Breaks tasks into component parts;

13 Good Feedback: Provides opportunities to try the activity again; Is descriptive, not evaluative; Includes what learners didn’t do in addition to what they did do; Uses a shared vocabulary that all learners can understand; Relies on mutual trust, the belief that the teacher and students are partners in the feedback process. Wilcox, p. 2

14 Better Known as… Formative Assessment Formative assessment “…refers to all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by the students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged.” Black, P.J. & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the Black Box: Raising the Standards Through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2),

15 Also Known As… Assessment for Learning: Assessment that occurs throughout the learning process that is designed to make each student’s understanding visible, so that teachers can decide what they can do to help students progress. Earl, L. & Katz, S. (2006). Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind: Assessment for Learning, Assessment as Learning, Assessment of Learning. Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education.

16 Assessment for Learning In assessment for learning, teachers use assessment as an investigative tool to find out as much as they can about what their students know and can do, and what confusions, preconceptions, or gaps they might have. Earl & Katz

17 Assessment for Learning The wide variety of information that teachers collect about their students’ learning processes provides the basis for determining what they need to do next to move student learning forward. It provides the basis for providing descriptive feedback for students and deciding on groupings, instructional strategies, and resources. Earl & Katz

18 Consequences “Failure to use formative evaluation is myopic, for formative data collected early can help rechannel time, money, and all types of human and materials resources into more productive directions.” Fitzpatrick, J. L.., Sanders, J. R., & Worthen, B. R. (2004). Program Evaluation: Alternative Approaches and Practical Guidelines, 3 rd Ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

19 Objective 1 Practical Ideas for Effective Formative Assessment

20 Formative Assessments Journaling Quick Check Mid-Course Correction Pitch Slam Wrap-Around Entrance Slips Exit Passes Two Heads Think-Pair-Share Response Cards Individual Dry/Erase Boards

21 Journaling Dialogic Journal – students and teacher converse with one another either on paper or electronically Double-entry Journal – students divide the pages of their journal in half, recording quotes from the text on one side and their thoughts on the other side Reflection Log – students collect reflections on their own learning either through free response or through prompts or a combination of both

22 Quick Check The teacher asks one or more of the students to complete the task that is being taught either orally or briefly in written form.

23 Mid-Course Correction The teacher stops at a logical point in the lesson or activity (in college classes, at the break!), and asks the students to jot down notes about their understanding of the concepts so far.

24 Pitch Slam The writer has 60 seconds to promote his or her idea about something. Can be used before, during, or after a lesson. Can be in response to something that was read, or something that was encountered in the lesson or the previous lesson.

25 Wrap-Around Present several stem sentences Students respond reflectively in writing Share responses orally Alternative: Allow each student to create a stem sentence and write it on a slip of paper. Collect them, read them aloud, and have students write down the one they want to respond to. Write responses, then share orally.

26 Entrance Slips & Exit Passes Entrance Slip: Students respond to a specific or general prompt about the lesson that was completed the day before. Exit Pass: Students sum up what they learned or respond to a brief prompt and leave the response with the teacher as they leave the classroom. Yesterday I was a little confused by the experiment we did.... I couldn’t figure out the homework, either....

27 “Two Heads” Activity Students find a partner or are assigned one. They get together and talk about a question or a problem that is assigned by the teacher. They make a joint decision and share it with the whole group during debriefing.

28 Think, Pair, Share First, students think about the question or problem by themselves; Next, they pair up with a partner to think together; Lastly, they join another pair to share their thoughts. Debriefing provides feedback to the teacher.

29 Response Cards Each student is given a set of cards on which possible responses have been written – letters (A, B, C, D) that correspond to the choices on a multiple-choice question, numbers that correspond to possible correct responses, the words “true” and “false,” or any other response options that are appropriate. The teacher poses a question and the students hold up the card that signals their response.

30 Individual Dry Erase Boards Each student receives a small dry erase board and a dry erase marker. The teacher poses a question, then the students write their response on their board and hold it up for the teacher to see. Alternately, students can share their responses in pairs or small groups, come to consensus on the correct response, and hold up one board for the group.

31 One-Minute Quiz Students are given a single question or problem to solve, which they do on a small piece of paper or an index card. The teacher collects the papers and checks them for accuracy, then sorts them into piles for correct vs. incorrect. The teacher then carefully examines the incorrect responses to see if there is a common error.

32 Written Feedback Criteria are established during course design, based upon instructional objectives which are “backward mapped” from standards and curriculum. Criteria are reflected in rubrics and other scoring tools. Students turn in draft work, which is reviewed by the teacher using the criteria, and written feedback is provided based on comparing the work to the criteria. Students revise their work using the written feedback as a guide.

33 Objective 2 Using Information to Make Instructional Decisions

34 Using Pretest Information Assess what students already know and can do. Organize the resulting information so that it is clear which students have prerequisite knowledge and skills beyond what you intend to teach, which ones have the necessary prerequisite knowledge and/or skills, and which ones do not. Use the information to plan instruction.

35 Planning Instruction and Assessment What do my students need to know and be able to do? How will I know it when I see it? How will I assess it? What kind of information will my assessments yield? What decisions will I need to make after analyzing the data? What is the best way to organize the information?

36 Collecting the Information Checklist for Each Student Clothespins in the Bucket Collection of Index Cards Paper Trail Skills Matrix for the Entire Class

37 Checklist for Each Student List the skills covered in a unit or lesson. Keep the checklists for all of the students in the class together in alphabetical order on a clipboard that you keep with you as you teach. Check off the skills on each student’s checklist as you observe evidence of mastery. Review the checklist at the end of every day and transfer the information you have gathered to a spreadsheet or other more permanent format.

38 Clothespins in the Bucket Write each student’s name on the flat side of a spring-loaded clothespin. Dump the clothespins in a receptacle at the beginning of each day or lesson. As you do Quick Checks or other formative assessments, select a clothespin from the receptacle and call on the student whose name appears on it. If the student responds correctly to the assessment, clip the clothespin to one side of the receptacle. If the student responds incorrectly, clip the clothespin to the other side of the receptacle. Summarize the results of your assessment when you have time.

39 Collection of Index Cards Write each student’s name on a card. Keep the stack of cards with you at all times. Make very brief notes on the cards throughout the day. Review the cards at the end of every day and transfer the information you have gathered to a spreadsheet or other more permanent format.

40 Paper Trail Distribute Entrance Passes, Exit Passes, Index Cards, or One-Minute Quiz Cards at the beginning of class. Students record responses to the formative assessment prompts on the paper or cards. Collect the responses at the end of the class period or day, sort them, and make notes accordingly.

41 Skills Matrix List students’ names in the first column and the skills covered in a unit or lesson along the top row. Keep the matrix with you as you teach or post it in an easily accessible place in the classroom. Check off the skills for each student as you observe evidence of mastery. Review the matrix at the end of every day and transfer the information you have gathered to a spreadsheet or other more permanent format.

42 Using the Information Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

43 Content What a student should come to know (facts), understand (concepts and principles) and be able to do (skills) as a result of a given segment of study.

44 Process The opportunity for students to make sense of the content.

45 Product A vehicle through which a student shows what he or she has come to understand and can do as a result of a considerable segment of learning.

46 Possible Decisions Change the content (what is being taught or the sequence for what is being taught) Change the process (the strategy for teaching, including opportunities for practice) Change the product (the mechanism by which students must demonstrate mastery) REVIEW<> RETEACH<> RESTRUCTURE<> ENRICH<>MOVE ON

47 Instructional Strategies Stations Agendas Complex Instruction Orbital Studies Centers Entry Points Tiered Activities Learning Contracts Compacting Problem-Based Learning Group Investigation Independent Study

48 Contact Information Kathryn Anderson Alvestad, Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor Measurement, Statistics & Evaluation 1230A Benjamin Building University of Maryland College Park, MD


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