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assessment assortment: using formative and summative assessment to improve student achievement and instruction in the area of literacy. Lisa Caudill July 2009. Something to think about….

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assessment assortment: using formative and summative assessment to improve student achievement and instruction in the area of literacy

Lisa Caudill

July 2009

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Something to think about…

“In fact, the very best schools may be doing the most harm because they are accomplishing what they are setting out to do.”

- James Skeen

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Statement of the problem

  • Evolution of Assessment and Accountability

  • Standards – Promoting student achievement or encouraging poor instruction?

  • Impact on learning and instruction

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Research question

Does the synthesis of formative and summative assessment, in conjunction with strategy-based instruction, influence student achievement and instruction in literacy?

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Literature reviewassessment

  • Rick Stiggens (2007)

    • Summative assessment winners and losers

    • Assessment that verifies learning vs. Assessment that supports learning

  • Amerin & Berliner (2003)

    • Have students learned more than they did before high stakes testing policies were introduced?

  • Black & Wiliam (2005)

    • Assessment OF learning vs. Assessment FOR learning

  • Harlen (2005)

    • Assessment is assessment – what is the purpose?

    • Synergy improves dependability

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Literature reviewinstruction

  • Keene & Zimmermann

    • Impact of high stakes testing on reading instruction

    • Decoding vs. Understanding

  • Miller

    • Metacognitive instructional strategies

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Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of integrating strategy-based instruction and formative assessment strategies with existing summative assessment methods on student achievement and student-centered instruction in third and fourth grade literacy classrooms.

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Through implementing well-designed student-centered assessment rooted in strategy-based instruction to existing measures of student achievement, it is hypothesized that students will show increased achievement and instruction will improve in order to meet student needs.

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  • Participants

    • Sample size

      • 80 homogeneously grouped students in 2 third and 2 fourth grade classrooms

      • 4 educators, 2 third grade teachers, 2 fourth grade teachers

  • Plan

    • Two teachers developed instruction rooted in metacognitive strategies and implemented a blend of formative and summative assessment techniques in the area of literacy

    • Two teachers blended some aspects of metacognitive instruction with most instruction based on district’s developed basal reading program. Mostly summative assessment was used to determine student achievement.

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Independent Variables

  • Formative assessment

  • Strategy-based instruction

Dependent Variables

  • Student achievement

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MethodologyXs and Os

Group 1 – Third Grade, FA/SBI Group 2 - Third Grade, n0 FA/SBI

Group 3 – Fourth Grade, FA/SBI Group 4 - Fourth Grade, no FA/SBI

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  • Student Achievement

    • Pre-test/Post-test Design

      • DRA2 Reading Inventory – comprehension score

      • Administered in September, January, and April

      • Student achievement = score indicating on-level position

  • Instruction

    • Teacher Conception Survey

      • Administered at the beginning of the school year

      • Questions related to perception of own instruction and feelings about assessing student achievement

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Student Achievement

  • T-test comparison of means


  • Descriptive analysis

  • Identification of themes

  • Interpretation of meaning

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Data Summary and Implications

Although the results are not statistically significant, the data did provide some informative and interesting patterns that have implications on literacy instruction and assessment…

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Data Summary and Implications

Students demonstrate the most growth from September to January regardless of the mode of instruction and assessment strategies used.

However, those students in the treatment group demonstrated greater degrees of growth, with a .6 increase in comprehension compared to a .45 increase in the control group.

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Data Summary and Implications

Third grade students in the treatment group showed regression between January and April, while all other students involved continued to show steady improvement.

  • What factors can be attributed to this?

  • Irregularities in testing procedures and format

  • Inconsistencies in group composition

    • Students receiving basic skills instruction were not monitored or identified

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Data Summary and Implications

In assessing the progress made from September to April, both groups showed growth. There are inconsistencies among the degree of improvement from third to fourth grade.

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Data Summary and Implications

  • Teacher Influence

  • Noticeable Themes

    • Consistent responses included:

      • Assessment improves instruction

      • Purpose of curriculum is to guide academic knowledge and intellectual development

    • Inconsistencies:

      • Beliefs put into practice

      • Teacher conception vs. Teacher action

  • What does this all mean?

    • What is the source of the discrepancy?

      • Brown’s Theory of Self-Regulation: Strategy control is dependent upon a concrete knowledge and understanding of multiple strategies, the ability to implement multiple strategies, and reflective awareness and monitoring of strategies used and their effectiveness

        Brown (1991)

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Conclusion: Where do we go from here?

Clearly, strategy-based instruction and a synthesis of formative and summative assessment are beneficial to the growth and development of independent readers.

For effective instruction and assessment:

  • Clear expectations and procedures regarding the use of data to drive instruction must be developed.

  • Teachers must be engaged in continuous professional development regarding effective methods of instruction and assessment and their impact on student achievement.

  • Clear benchmarks and learning objectives must be identified and aligned with instruction and assessment.

  • Teachers must be given the opportunity to communicate with one another regarding best practices, assessment, and student growth and development. This should include self reflection.