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Urban District Leadership Networks Retreat May 22, 2013

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1 Rich Tasks for Real Kids Aligning Assessment Practices to the Common Core State Standards
Urban District Leadership Networks Retreat May 22, 2013 Hillsborough County, FL Good morning! This morning’s session focuses on the importance of aligning system-wide assessment practices to the Common Core. As we know, and as the research has shown, the assessment practices our students encounter in school – the means by which we indicate and inform the quality of their learning – send incredibly strong signals to them about what’s important in education: about what kind of skills they should seek to master and about the kinds of things they should seek to know and understand about the world. For better or worse, the kind of assessment practices that our kids encounter in school are the lens through which they develop a sense of what they are capable of doing and what kind of value they bring to their own lives and the lives of others. As we continue to implement the Common Core and aspire to empower all students with the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st-century, it is therefore critical that we succeed in aligning assessment practices with both the spirit and the substance of the Common Core. Today, we’re going to talk about rich tasks for real kids. Before I continue, I’d like to… (Welcome participants.)

2 Session Norms Minimize distractions Shorten your runway
Be active & accountable learners Review session norms

3 Session Goals To deepen our understanding of the purpose of assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) To explore how assessment practices impact a student’s journey toward college and career readiness To consider the research on effective assessment practices To understand how assessment practices aligned to the CCSS can raise rigor and expectations for all students To consider how to leverage new opportunities to deepen CCSS-alignment across all aspects of assessment systems and within all classrooms During this session, we’ll consider some key principles of Common Core-aligned assessment and what it will take to ensure that all students are supported through well-aligned assessment systems. Let’s review the goals for this session: (Review session goals) A copy of these goals is in your binder. We would appreciate it, when evaluating the session, if you would refer to these goals. That will help us improve our work. Thank you.

4 Food for Thought “For a relatively low outlay, assessments could expose academic weaknesses and make it possible to pressure schools and teachers to improve. But, as long as that remains their primary purpose, assessments will never fully realize their potential to guide and inform teaching and learning. Accountability is not the problem. The problem is that other purposes of assessment, such as providing instructionally relevant feedback to teachers and students, get lost…” Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education “Public Policy Statement,” 2013, p. 7 As our field continues the full implementation of new assessment systems, it’s fair to say that getting ready for assessments for accountability will be a heavy focus for schools, teachers, and students. Preparing for new assessments will consume enormous amount of time, attention, and financial resources. That said, we have an important question to answer: How do we leverage our HUGE INVESTMENT in new assessments to advance Common Core-aligned teaching and learning in all of our classrooms? Let’s start this morning by considering a policy statement released this year by the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, a blue ribbon panel of nationally-recognized assessment and policy experts, including our very own Ross Wiener. (Read quote with emphasis on the two closing sentences. Pause. Reread the last sentence with emphasis. Advance to next slide.)

5 “A focus on standards and accountability that
Food for Thought “A focus on standards and accountability that ignores the processes of teaching and learning in classrooms will not provide the direction that teachers need in their quest to improve.” Stigler and Hiebert, “Understanding and Improving Classroom Mathematics Instruction: An Overview of the TIMSS Video Study,” 1997 Now, let’s consider this 16-year-old finding from the 1997 TIMSS Video Study. (Read quote with emphasis on “processes of teaching and learning.”) The Gordon Commission is saying what solid research into teaching and learning has shown for a long time: assessment for accountability, which includes a significant share of regular classroom assessment, is assessment for MEASUREMENT that tells of HOW MUCH students have learned, is generally not the kind of assessment that provides information on HOW TO IMPROVE teaching and learning. The Common Core is an opportunity to dust off what we’ve known for a long time. The question we’ll grapple with today is: What does the Common Core suggest should be our north star principles when thinking about how we leverage assessment to improve teaching and learning?

6 What’s the story of assessment in your district?
Let’s turn now to a story that you know a lot about: the story of assessment in your district. Thinking critically about where your district is in terms of aligning assessment practices to the Common Core needs to begin with thinking about where you’re district has been in the years leading up to Common Core. It’s your turn to use your clickers to answer a few questions so we can get a better sense of where we’ve been in order to understand where we need to go in regards to assessment.

7 In the main, teachers in my district use classroom assessments primarily as…
Instruments to grade students. Processes to improve teaching and provide feedback to students. Opportunities to engage students in intellectually demanding work. I am not sure I know the answer.

8 Say they’re ‘OK’ with it. Say they’re exhausted by all the testing.
If I asked students in my district about their level of enthusiasm for assessment, they would… Clap and cheer! Say they’re ‘OK’ with it. Say they’re exhausted by all the testing. Run and hide!

9 In my district, assessment is primarily used for…
Accountability. Informing teaching and learning. Informing district and school-level decisions. I’m not really sure.

10 Let’s talk about Miguel
Miguel begins kindergarten this year and will graduate from high school in 2026 and from college in What will Miguel’s world be like in 2030? We can’t know for sure, but a few things are certain: It’s likely that the career Miguel chooses doesn’t exist today. Advanced technology will be more central to Miguel’s life and that of his peers than for any previous generation in human history. Miguel’s generation will grapple with the impact of global challenges using understandings that have not yet been achieved and with technologies and solutions that have not yet been invented. The exponential pace of change means the world in which Miguel lives today will likely bear little resemblance to the world he will know in 2030. There’s another story I want to tell, and that’s the story of Miguel. When you think about it, there is probably a Miguel beginning kindergarten in everyone one of your district this fall. For our purposes today, my Miguel represents the tens of thousands of students who will begin school this fall and who will graduate from college in 2030. We can’t say for certain what the future holds, but we can say some things about what Miguel’s world will be like. (Quickly read four sub-bullets. Advance to next slide.)

11 Miguel and the CCSS While school can’t prepare Miguel for every challenge he will face in the future, a quality and inspired CCSS-aligned education can empower Miguel to: Demonstrate independence and self-directed learning Value evidence, reason logically, and think conceptually and abstractly Analyze and use data Comprehend as well as critique Construct and present viable arguments Use media and technology strategically Persevere in making sense of and solving problems Understand and appreciate different perspectives and cultures Develop the skills and dispositions necessary to the responsible exercise of citizenship in an advanced democratic republic These capacities, developed in the context of a well-rounded education, will ensure that Miguel can engage with and contribute to the 21st-century world effectively and with purpose. While school can’t prepare Miguel for every challenge he’ll face, a quality education aligned to the Common Core can ensure that Miguel heads into the future being able to, among other things: 1 minute to jot down what the CCSS can do… (Read three of four sub-points.) Miguel’s best chance for the future is a high-quality, well-rounded education that enables him to engage effectively with his high-paced and ever-changing world.

12 Miguel, the CCSS, and Assessment
Ensuring that Miguel – and all students – are able to acquire 21st-century knowledge, skills, and dispositions requires the development of an assessment system (diagnostic, formative, interim, summative) aligned to the CCSS that: Raises instructional rigor and empowers every student to become college and career ready. Develops deep content knowledge and literacy across the curriculum and deep mathematical understanding across topic areas. Focuses primarily on assessment for learning and thus provides timely and meaningful feedback, support, and the opportunities for practice and improvement that are necessary to master the CCSS. Integrates into the daily instructional experience of teachers and students, thereby enabling students to transfer and apply knowledge and skill to novel and complex challenges. But how will we know that Miguel is preparing for that future? What kind of assessment system can signal not only how well Miguel is learning but also how best to improve and accelerate his learning? The Common Core offers important clues that can help us consider some key principles when it come’s what a Common Core-aligned assessment system should be designed to do. An assessment system designed to prepare Miguel to meet new learning expectations: (Read sub-points.)

13 Table Talk Take three minutes to discuss your thoughts to the following: How does your vision of a CCSS-aligned assessment system compare and contrast to current or past assessments practices in your district? Think about the story of assessment in your district, past and present, and think about how it compares and contrasts to what we understand about the nature of Common Core-aligned assessment. Take three minutes to discuss at your table your thoughts to this question: (Read question and begin timer.) (Solicit a maximum of two respondents for concise reflective answers.)

14 What does the CCSS say about assessment?
“While the Standards delineate specific expectations in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language, each standard need not be a separate focus for instruction and assessment. Often, several standards can be addressed by a single rich task…This means that students can develop mutually reinforcing skills and exhibit mastery of standards…across a range of texts and classrooms.” CCSS ELA & Literacy, p. 5 “Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of sufficient richness.” CCSS Math, p. 4 The CCSS ELA & Literacy standards also stress the following: “The Standards insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language be a shared responsibility within the school.” CCSS ELA & Literacy, p. 4 Now, let’s get a little more specific and let’s dive into the Common Core and investigate what it says about assessment. In ELA and Literacy, the standards say that: (read quote with emphasis) In mathematics, the standards say that: (read quote with emphasis) (Read the remainder of the slide.) I want you to keep the notion of a “shared responsibility” in mind, because we’ll reflect on that in just a little while. The paradox of what the Common Core says about assessment is that it says very little and a whole lot at the same time.

15 What does the CCSS say about assessment?
From the CCSS, we can infer that assessment aligned to the CCSS: Should balance assessment of discrete standards with assessment of multiple standards within “rich tasks” or “tasks of sufficient richness.” Is a “shared responsibility,” which creates opportunity to ensure coherent instruction across subjects areas and topics. Is less about testing and more about the kind of instructional practice that supports student mastery of the CCSS. From the little that the Common Core says about assessment, we can infer three overarching principles of Common Core-aligned assessment: (Read/paraphrase sub-bullets.)

16 It’s your turn! As we move to think about how we continue to pursue alignment of our assessment systems to the Common Core, let’s take stock of where we are right now and our district’s priorities. Use your clicker to register your most honest perspective regarding the following prompts.

17 Already deeply aligned to the CCSS.
Since your teachers have learned about and/or studied the CCSS, district-wide expectations for classroom assessment practices are… Already deeply aligned to the CCSS. In the process of shifting toward CCSS alignment. Looking much the same as before the CCSS. We do not yet have district-wide expectations for assessment practices.

18 Diagnostic Formative Interim Summative
What form of assessment is your district most focused on in the implementation of the CCSS? Diagnostic Formative Interim Summative

19 Miguel, the CCSS, and Rich Tasks
While the CCSS do not offer guidance to Miguel’s teachers on how they should use an assessment system to develop his mastery of the standards or how to share responsibility for instruction, the CCSS do make clear what kind of assessment practice – balanced with assessment of discrete standards – should be at the instructional heart of his learning experience: assessment through rich tasks. While Common Core doesn’t say how teachers should use any particular assessment system to advance the Common Core, it is clear about what kind of assessment practice should be at the heart of the instruction that Miguel will encounter in school: Assessment through rich tasks.

20 What are “rich tasks”? Assessment through “rich tasks” or “tasks of sufficient richness” can drive focus and coherence in the daily instructional experience for teachers and students. Rich tasks address multiple standards – sometimes across subject areas or topics – and can provide students worthwhile and cognitively challenging opportunities for feedback and deeper learning. What are rich tasks? Fundamentally, rich tasks can take many diverse forms, as you’ll see, but at their core, rich tasks address multiple standards – sometimes involving content across subject areas and mathematical topics – and can drive the kind of focused and coherent instruction that is both worthwhile and cognitively challenging for students. What the Common Core is suggesting is that through rich tasks students can make the critical link between the standards and what’s worth knowing and mastering in this world. Rich tasks can be the vehicles through which we can engage all students in more effective learning.

21 What does a rich task look like?
Illustrative Mathematics 7th-Grade Task: College Athletes Below are the heights of the players on the University of Maryland women's basketball team for the season and the heights of the players on the women's field hockey team for the 2012 season. Part E: The women on the Maryland field hockey team are not a random sample of all female college field hockey players. Similarly, the women on the Maryland basketball team are not a random sample of all female college basketball players. However, for purposes of this task, suppose that these two groups can be regarded as random samples of all female college field hockey players and all female college basketball players, respectively. If these were random samples, would you think that female college basketball players are typically taller than female college field hockey players? Explain your decision using answers to the previous questions and/or additional analysis. Let’s take a look now at several tasks that meet the standard of a rich task. This math task comes to us from the Illustrative Mathematics Project. It’s called “College Athletes.” I have Part E from this task displayed on the presentation, but at your tables you can find copies of the complete task. At your table, take three minutes to review and discuss the task and identify evidence that this is a rich task. (Solicit one volunteer to share his/her analysis. Insist on evidence.) What makes this a rich task? Students will need to… Use numerical data from random samples to draw comparative inferences about two populations. Solve real-life problems and justify conclusions based on data.

22 What does a rich task look like?
Literacy Design Collaborative Sample Middle School Task: Are the financial gains of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, worth the environmental risk? After reading informational texts and viewing multi-media, write a letter to your state legislator that addresses the question. Support your position with evidence from the text(s). Be sure to acknowledge competing views. Give examples from past or current events or issues to illustrate and clarify your position. This middle school literacy task comes to us from the Literacy Design Collaborative. (Read LDC prompt.) At your table, take three minutes to review and discuss this task and identify evidence that this is a rich task. (Solicit one volunteer to share his/her analysis. Insist on evidence.) Remember when I asked your to remember the notion of the “shared responsibility” called for by the Common Core? What does this task make your think about it terms of curriculum and instruction at a school? What makes this a rich task? Students will need to… Read multiple, cross-disciplinary complex texts, including non-print media, to develop content knowledge. Produce clear and coherent writing using textual evidence to analyze a real-world issue and support an argument.

23 What does a rich task look like?
Smarter Balanced Sample 11th-Grade ELA Performance Task: Nuclear Power Part 1: After you have reviewed the research sources, answer the questions below. From the sources you have reviewed, summarize 3 major arguments that support, and 3 major arguments that oppose, the use of nuclear power for generating electricity. For each of the arguments, cite at least one source that supports this fact or point of view. Evaluate the credibility of the arguments and evidence presented by these sources. Which of the sources are more trustworthy and why? Which of the sources warrant some skepticism because of bias or insufficient evidence? Part 2: Write an argumentative report that recommends the position that your congresswoman should take on the plan to build a nuclear power plant in your state. Support your claim with evidence from the Internet sources you have read and viewed. You do not need to use all the sources, only the ones that most effectively and credibly support your position and your consideration of the opposing point of view. What makes this a rich task? Students will need to… Produce clear and coherent writing using textual evidence to support an argument. Evaluate the credibility of claims. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English.

24 What does a rich task look like?
Smarter Balanced Sample 4th-Grade Math Performance Task: Planting Tulips, Part 3 The class finds a bag containing bulbs that are each 1 ½ inches wide and decides to use them in their rectangular planter. Following the planting guidelines, answer the questions and show your calculations. This picture shows a tulip bulb that is 1 ½ inches wide. Use your ruler and mark an “X” where the next bulb could be planted. Using your drawing, calculate the total length of space that is needed for each bulb with a 1 ½-inch width. Your answer should include the width of the bulb shown. How many tulip bulbs with a 1 ½-inch width can be planted in a single row that is 5 feet long? How many tulip bulbs with a 1 ½-inch width can be planted in a single column that is 2 feet long? How many total tulip bulbs with a 1 ½-inch width can be planted in the 5-foot by 2- foot rectangular planter? Explain or show your reasoning. What makes this a rich task? Student will need to… Solve real-world problems involving measurements. Construct chains of reasoning that will justify or refute propositions or conjectures. Select and use appropriate tools strategically.

25 What does research say about “authentic intellectual work”?
“Authentic [intellectual] experiences should, to the extent possible, not be contrived and will often involve multiple measures across time to provide a comprehensive picture of students’ knowledge and abilities.” (McAlister, 2001, p. 23) “Participation in authentic intellectual activity helps to motivate and sustain students in the hard work that learning requires.” (Newmann, Bryk, and Nagaoka, 2001, p. 30) “Students [should be] made to feel safe to engage with the teacher and fellow students, and with interactions focused on collaborative learning, not competition among peers.” (Orland and Anderson, 2013, p. 3) “Meaningful, contextualized experiences tend to promote better learning.” (McAlister, 2001, p. 31) “Evidence indicates that assignments calling for more authentic intellectual work actually improve student scores on conventional tests.” (Newmann, Bryk, and Nagaoka, 2001, p. 29) Engaging all students in authentic intellectual work will represent a tremendous shift for schools, teachers, and the students themselves. Much of the work we ask students to do could not be said to be authentic, in that students, especially our most struggling, understand a clear connection between what they’re doing, what they’re learning, and how they can apply that learning to new and novel situations. So when we engage students in authentic intellectual work that is necessarily demanding, most especially of students who haven’t always done well in school, what does the research say about the impact of authentic intellectual work? (High sub-bullets 2, 4, and 5.) Sometimes our teachers feel a tension between engaging all students in classroom learning and designing authentic intellectual experiences that challenge all students. The CCSS and solid research suggest that, in fact, it is through authentic intellectual work that all of our students will have the best chance of demonstrating their capacity to achieve at the highest levels. At the end of the day, what we know is that kids rise to the occasion.

26 Table Talk Take three minutes to discuss your thoughts to the following: What are some primary advantages of assessing students through rich tasks versus more conventional classroom assessments? What are some of the practical curricular and instructional implications for your teachers and students of assessment through rich tasks? We’ve just spent about 15 minutes reviewing some sample tasks that could be considered rich tasks. They ask students to engage in cognitively challenging work, across multiple standards, and some even have application outside of school, thereby increasing the opportunity to engage students in work that is worth doing. Take three minutes now at your table to reflect on the following questions: (Read questions.) (Solicit two volunteers to provide reflective answers.)

27 What might a research-based, CCSS-aligned assessment system look like?
All diagnostic, formative, interim, and summative assessment systems are aligned to the CCSS and drive coherence in curriculum and instruction. Rich tasks build students’ interest in and engagement with authentic intellectual work that prepares all students for college and careers. CCSS-aligned assessment is primarily assessment for learning, designed to provide actionable information to improve teaching and learning – not merely to give students a grade. The system achieves an appropriate balance between assessment of discrete standards vs. multiple standards in the context of rich tasks. As we move to pull our learning together, let’s consider what a research-based, CCSS-aligned system might look like. For starters… (Read/paraphrase bullets.) What we see emerging from our understanding of the Common Core and the picture that research draws related to assessment is a system that supports effective instruction through assessment practices centered on authentic, cognitively challenging, engaging, and real-world tasks that advance student learning and achievement.

28 Now, back to Miguel… The promise of the CCSS is an education that prepares Miguel, and all other children, for success in college, career, and the 21st-century. When it comes to assessment in school, for Miguel it should be: Less like a test and more like a valuable challenge worth tackling. About getting useful feedback to improve and refine his work so he comes to know what quality work is. A seamless extension of his daily instructional experience, with application beyond the classroom. Technology-enhanced and personalized when appropriate. An opportunity to demonstrate through multiple modes of expression his knowledge, logic, ideas, values, insights, creativity, imagination, convictions, and passions. Let’s end this part of the session by thinking once again about Miguel, and all the Miguels you have known and will know in your district. The Common Core present a special opportunity to afford him a truly quality and inspired education. In order to achieve the promise of the Common Core, going forward, assessment for Miguel should be… (Read/paraphrase bullets.) This is hard work, it’s fulfilling work for us and for our students, and, ultimately, it’s the work that the Common Core demands in the service of all of our students.

29 It’s your turn! Let’s end this portion of the session with a few more questions about what you took away from this workshop and we’ll collect some data that will enable UDLN to support your assessment work more effectively in the future. Use your clicker to register your most honest perspective regarding the following prompts.

30 What was your most important takeaway from this presentation?
Purpose of CCSS-aligned assessment Definition of “rich task” Research supporting authentic intellectual work Importance of CCSS-aligned assessment systems

31 By 2014-15, all students in my district will…
Engage on a daily basis with CCSS-aligned assessment. Engage with CCSS-aligned interim/benchmark assessments. Engage with CCSS-aligned assessment in some classes but not all. Be focused on summative assessments for accountability.

32 What is your district’s biggest challenge to ensuring that all students engage with CCSS-aligned assessment? Principal and teacher understanding of the purpose of CCSS-aligned assessment School-level supports for teachers and students District-level supports for principals and instructional leadership teams District-wide strategy to align assessment practices to the CCSS

33 Thank you! Questions? Thank you for your active engagement and deep thought. I would now like to turn to Nicole Binder, manager of assessment for Hillsborough County Public Schools, who will share with us a some important information about the district’s recent experience administering the PARCC pilot tests.

34 References “Common Core State Standards,” Common Core State Standards Initiative, May McAlister, Brian. “The Authenticity of Authentic Assessment: What the Research Says… Or Doesn’t Say,” in Custer R. L., Schell, J., Scott, J. S., McAlister B.K. & Hoepfl, M. (2000) Using Authentic Assessment in Vocational Education: ERIC Monograph (Information Series No. 381). Newmann, Fred, et al. “Authentic Intellectual Work and Standardized Tests: Conflict or Coexistence?” Consortium on Chicago School Research, Orland, Martin and Janice Anderson. “Assessment for Learning: What Policymakers Should Know About Formative Assessment,” WestEd, Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, Item and Task Prototypes, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Sample Items and Performance Tasks, Evals…

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