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Making Collaboration Work Module VII: Assessment and Grading

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1 Making Collaboration Work Module VII: Assessment and Grading
South Georgia GLRS Lenox Georgia This slide is in the handouts.

2 Essential Question How do we think differently about assessment and grading in the co-taught classroom? Our learning target for today.

3 Do word problems in a math class assess mathematical understanding?
Word problems assess reading comprehension. First - we must be very clear that we are assessing what we intend to assess. For example . . .

4 Guiding questions for determining appropriate assessments:
What are your essential and enduring skills and content you are trying to assess? How does the assessment allow students to demonstrate 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? Is this assessment more a test of process or content? Is that what you’re after? This slide is in the handouts. Was the assessment designed with the end in mind? Did we use the intended learning/target/standard to formulate our assessment? Does a true/false test allow all students to demonstrate mastery? Does the assessment ‘assess’ or ‘test’ the complete objective/standard? Could some students demonstrate mastery in some way other than say – an essay – and be considered proficient? And what are we really assessing? Have we protected students from bias? Is the assessment valid? Does it test what we want students to know, understand and be able to do? HO

5 So, what is effective assessment?
Clearly identify learning goals. Identify prerequisite skills. Pre-assess students’ existing knowledge base, understanding, and skills. Identify students’ interests. Identify students’ preferred ways of learning. Use ongoing/formative assessment. This slide is in the handouts. What will we have done when we effectively assess learning in our classrooms and in this school? Must be absolutely clear – on target – if you will. What do we want students to know, understand and be able to do as a result of the learning experience? To accomplish this we must be very clear about the standard and all the skills, bacckground, and knowledge that it requires. What will students need in terms of skills and attitudes to facilitate their learning? Why? To get a clear picture of student proficiencies in relation to a standard’s/unit’s key knowledge, understandings, and skills. We must preassess our students to know is they possess the prerequisite skills necessary for success. Once we have these defined then planning, grouping, and learning can begin. Where are our students in terms of the knowledge, understanding and skill they will need in order to succeed. If we have an idea of what is necessary for success then we need to know each student’s location on the continuum toward mastery of the standard. We need to pre-assess to gather this information. Examples of preassessments (Examples are in the handouts): Anticipation/Reaction Guide Purpose: To access prior knowledge. Three Column Chart Purpose: To access prior knowledge, identify areas needing clarification, and check for understanding. Squaring Off Purpose: To identify where individual students are in relation to a specific topic in order to help group students for a future task. Yes/No Cards Thumbs Up Pinch Cards Fist of Five 5 – I know it so well I could explain it to anyone. 4 – I can do it alone. 3 – I need some help. 2 – I could use more practice. 1 – I am only beginning. After preassessing, we have three options: Improve the prerequisite skill. Work with the student’s existing prerequisite skill level. Work around the prerequisite skill. How can their interest be used to ‘hook them’ – to pique their curiosity about various topics? Ask for examples from participants. (Example of non text-based inventory is in the handouts.) In our classrooms there may be students that need something that is not text-based. To highlight the phenomenal power of this assessment – look in your handout for The Remembered Moment by Peter Senge in Schools That Learn. Take one minute to read. 5. How do each of your students prefer to learn (e.g., alone, in groups, visually, kinesthetically)? How do you prefer to learn? (Stop here and see handout that begins, “Look at the list below.” Let participants read and record the three ways they learn best in this setting. These are their preferred ways of learning.) 6. What assessment strategies can be used to check where students are in their learning? Can we use ready made assessments? Must we use teacher-made assessments? is there only quantitative, or qualitative? The answers are: we use all of these and we need multiple assessments in multiple formats to make valid, professional decisions about each student's learning. To help us remember - draw a triangle, (anywhere on your handout) and at one point write quantitative – those paper and pencil tests or quizzes, CRCTs, ITBSs, performance products using a rubric – all those assessments that can provide quantitative data about student learning. On another point, write observations. You do this all the time, we observe what students do, how they respond or don’t respond and we need to make anecdotal records about this so that we can have a clearer picture to add to our album of each student. And on the remaining point write conversations, we need to talk to students and listen to students – conversing with us and with each other and all others about their learning. What a great source of insight into their thinking, knowing, understanding in addition to providing a very clear description of where students are in their learning. HO

6 Victoria Bernhardt, 1998 “Data help us to understand where we are right now, where we want to go in the future, and what it is going to take to get there.” Ongoing/formative assessment is crucial for improving student learning.

7 Learning by Doing DuFour, DuFour, and Eaker, 2006
“Frequent monitoring of each student’s learning is an essential element of effective teaching; no teacher should be absolved from that task or allowed to assign responsibility for it to state test makers, central office coordinators, or textbook publishers.” The authors of a new book mince no words about what we need to provide for students on their journey toward mastery.

8 What is ongoing assessment?
For Of Summative Assessments Assessment to capture learning at one point in time Norm-referenced standardized tests, chapter tests, etc. Outcome: Improve the instrument Understand the extent to which students met the intended targets Addressing curricular changes, instructional strategies and materials Formative Assessments Assessment to increase student learning Clear information for students on their progress towards the learning target Outcome: Clear feedback to offer students about their learning Immediate instructional changes based on students’ progress towards the target This slide is in the handouts. One snapshot/photograph v. a photo album HO

9 Ongoing formative assessment
Feedback Exit cards Journal prompts Homework assignments Questioning Conversations with student Quizzes/pre-tests Weekly letters Frayer diagram Problem to solve Journal entry Self-reflection Checklists Clipboard notes All ( and these are a very few of the possibilities) used to monitor progress – both in teaching and learning. Be sure that feedback is provided to students.

10 Effective formative assessment:
Students should be able to answer three basic questions: Where am I going? Where am I now? How can I close the gap? Sadler (1989) How can we as teachers be sure that students have answers for these questions? Some ideas and strategies are . . .

11 Where am I going? Strategy 1: Provide a clear and understandable vision of the learning target. Strategy 2: Use examples of strong and weak work. “Students that can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot.” Marzano, 2005 Marzano (2005) asserts that students who can identify what they are learning significantly outscore those who cannot. Share targets before beginning instruction, in language your students can understand. For example: if introducing a reading comprehension unit on inferencing, you might say, “We are learning to infer. This means we are learning to make reasonable guesses on the basis of clues.” When standards call for a performance assessment, such as ‘writes clearly and effectively,’ introduce the language of scoring guide. For struggling readers you may need to create a student-friendly scoring guide.

12 Where am I now? Strategy 3: Offer regular descriptive feedback.
Strategy 4: Teach students to self-assess and set goals. Quality not quantity determines effectiveness of feedback. Identifies success and also offers student a recipe for corrective action. Have students identify strengths and weaknesses of work before you offer feedback. Respond with your feedback.

13 How do I close the gap? Strategy 5: Design lessons to focus on one aspect of quality at a time. Strategy 6: Teach students focused revision. Strategy 7: Engage students in self-reflection and let them document and share their learning.

14 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. This slide is in the handouts. Given your answers and thoughts and research on this topic, several indicators about assessment and grading become evident. One important difference is: assessment and grading are not the same things. HO

15 Differentiated assessment is a concept that makes it possible to maximize learning for ALL students.
It is a collection of instructionally intelligent strategies and assessments based on student-centered best practices that make it possible for teachers to create different pathways that respond to the needs of diverse learners. SDE Training Manual, 2005 It other words, we are accommodating the learning needs of all of our students.

16 The primary goal of both reporting and grading is . . .
Communicate to important audiences, such as students and parents, high-quality feedback to support the learning process and encourage learner success. Communication! To students, parents and teachers!

17 Principles of Effective Grading and Reporting
Grades and Reports should be based on clearly specified learning goals and performance standards. Evidence used for grading should be valid. Grading should be based on established criteria. Not everything should be included in grades. Avoid grading based on averages. Focus on achievement and report other factors separately. This slide is in the handout. We will quickly look at each of these principles. HO

18 Principle 1: Grades and Reports should be based on clearly specified learning goals and performance standards. Beginning with the end in mind – there is a set of preestablished, clearly delineated, content-specific learning goals. We then determine the appropriate evidence of meeting those goals and select the assessment to yield that evidence. How good is good enough? What constitutes an A?

19 Ken O’Connor, (2002) points out:
“In order for grades to have any real meaning we must have more than a simple letter/number relationship; meaningful performance standards require that there be description of the qualities in student work for each symbol in the grading scale.” Ken O’Connor 2002 points out: “In order for grades to have any real meaning we must have more than simple a letter/number relationship; meaningful performance standard require that there be description of the qualities in student work for each symbol in the grading scale.” Rubrics? Students know these when unit begins? Exemplars and other ‘levels’ of work are available to students?

20 Principle 2: Evidence used for grading should be valid.
Assessments should measure what we intend to measure (DNA essay: writing or science? Word problems on a math test) evidence of learning cannot be ‘hidden’ behind a student’s limited English proficiency, learning disability or inability to read directions. Grades should not be influenced by penmanship or forgetting to put name on the paper. As best as possible, grades should be about what a student can do and not enveloped in a fog of other factors.

21 Principle 3: Grading should be based on established criteria.
The true meaning of a grade is compromised/altered when it reports a student’s achievement relative to others. Tomlinson and McTighe suggest that we work to a J curve rather than a Bell curve - a system in which all students have access to the curriculum and the possibility of earning high grades based on achievement judged against clearly defined standards.

22 Principle 4: Not everything should be included in grades.
Formative assessments provide opportunities for students to practice, take mental risks, learn from mistakes and revise work. We do want to record information about completed assignments, willingness to revise, persistence (work habits), but these are separate from achieving the standard and should reported differently.

23 Principle 5: Avoid grading based on (mean) averages.

24 Consider this scenario:
Students were asked to keep a record of temperatures in Valdosta for five days and determine the average temperature for the school week. Monday – Tuesday – 68 Wednesday – 72 Thursday – 70 Friday – (Father threw newspaper out) Average - 56 O’Connor (2002) suggest that grades should be determined from various sources of evidence, rather than calculated in purely quantitative manners. This involves judgment; however, when our judgments are guided by clear goals, valid measure, and explicit performance standards, we can render fair and defensible judgement through grades. If your system requires averages, advocate using median or mode, not the mean to arrive at a grade. And what about assigning zeroes to student who fail to turn in work on time or to complete assignments. This tactic relates back to fundamental purpose of grading: to accurately communicate achievement. The example here is used to show that zeroes do not accurately report the level of work being demonstrated by a student. Tom Guskey (2000) “We certainly recognize the importance of student's work habits and believe that students should be expected complete assignments, put forth effort, and follow reasonable guidelines. The point is to distinguish process from results. (By the way, one alternative to a “zero” is to assign an “I” for Incomplete or Insufficient Evidence followed by known consequences; e.g., staying in from recess or after school to complete required work.) (pg 48). In the book, Whatever It Takes, the authors demonstrate that Incompletes are assigned but all work must be completed and schools make the necessary adjustments for students to complete all assignments. In other words, if incompletes are used, there must be mechanisms in place that support students and make it possible for them to complete the missing work. This would most likely involve human and financial resources (after-school, Saturdays, summer school, someone to manage a ‘make up hall’, etc.

25 Principle 6: Focus on achievement, and report other factors separately. Too often, grades reflect an unknown mixture of multiple factors. When other ingredients beyond achievement are included in a grade (e.g., effort, completing work on time, class participation, progress, attendance, homework, attitude, behavior, etc.) the problem become self evident. Three students could earn the same grade for very different reasons (Think about valedictorians/salutatorians). All other factors need to be reported, but separately.

26 Why? The clarity of communication is present.
The impact of student motivation is protected. Success breeds success! Why? The clarity of communication is present And the impact of student motivation is protected. Students are more willing to play the school game if they believe that they have a chance to be successful. If we limit success exclusively to standards-based achievement, we are unwittingly disenfranchising those students who work diligently and make significant personal gains, yet are hampered by disabilities, language and other barriers. Success breeds success!

27 Reporting Systems Rather than only report cards
Include multiple methods for communication Report cards Checklists Developmental continua for reporting progress Rubrics for work habits Narratives Portfolios Student-led conferences Parent meetings The richer the system, the more likely we are to achieve the goal of providing accurate information that supports future learning and encourages growth. Co-taught classrooms will use every resource and every opportunity to ‘report’ to students, parents and themselves assessment results. In schools and classrooms where reporting systems are not yet compatible with these recommendations – teachers can still report students’ standings relative to essential outcomes in a grade space, and attach comments reflecting progress and work habits. They can meet with parents and students to explain and communicate the value of a learner's academic growth and approaches to learning.

28 Assessment and Grading
Can it be balanced, fair AND differentiated? Talk to a neighbor and answer our essential question.

29 Resources South Georgia GLRS: Phone: 229-546-4367
Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design; ISBN Handbook on Differentiated Instruction for Middle and High Schools; ISBN Assessing Student Outcomes; ISBN Differentiated Assessment and Grading; Differentiated Instruction Guide for Inclusive Teaching; ISBN Brain Compatible Classrooms; ISBN How to Meet Standards, Motivate Students, and Still Enjoy Teaching! ISBN: The Mindful School: How To Assess Thoughtful Outcomes; ISBN HO

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