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Formative assessment: Bridging the gap between high stakes testing and classroom learning. Megan Montee Title III Directors Meeting May 5, 2009. Purpose. This presentation will discuss how formative assessment can inform high stakes testing and classroom academic language development. .

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formative assessment bridging the gap between high stakes testing and classroom learning

Formative assessment: Bridging the gap between high stakes testing and classroom learning

Megan Montee

Title III Directors Meeting

May 5, 2009

slide2

Purpose

  • This presentation will discuss how formative assessment can inform high stakes testing and classroom academic language development.
slide3

Purpose

By the end of this presentation, you will be able to:

  • Identify purposes and uses for formative assessment;
  • Understand how formative and summative assessment can work together;
  • Consider ways to make formative assessment systematic and integrated with instruction.
slide4

Context

  • What I’ve learned about your roles:
    • Title III Directors
      • Other roles you may hold: Federal program director, Special Education coordinator, testing coordinator
    • ESL Teachers
      • Types of classes you teach: pull-out, content-based, sheltered approach
      • Many of you work in multiple schools
  • What I’ve learned about the challenges you face:
    • For teaching ESL
    • For assessing students
slide5

Overview

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Formative and summative assessment
  • Academic language development
  • Example: ELDA Standards
  • Classroom applications
  • Discussion
slide6

Assessment and learning culture

  • Assessment as a part of a learning process (Shepard, 2000)
    • Learning culture
    • Training
    • Classroom impact
slide7

Assessment and learning culture

Instructors must understand language assessment in order to participate in the language learning culture (Shepard, 2000).

slide8

Definition of assessment (1/2)

Assessment = process of planning, collecting, analyzing and reporting information about student learning

Adapted from Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (1997). Managing the assessment process: A framework for measuring student attainment of the ESL standards. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

slide10

Background: assessment literacy

  • Assessment literacy = what instructors need to know about assessment (Stoynoff and Chapelle, 2005; Boyles, 2005; Stiggins, 1997).
  • Language assessment literacy = what stakeholders need to know about language and assessment in order to conduct reliable, valid and fair assessments of all students
  • Stakeholders = ALL participants including test developers AND instructors
slide11

Classroom assessment for learning

  • Effective Practices Acquired Through a Team Approach, West Virginia Department of Education
slide13

Formative and summative

  • Building academic language proficiency

Summative

Assessment

slide14

Academic language

  • BICS / CALP
  • WESTELL Standards
    • English Language Arts
    • Math, Science and Technology
    • Social Studies
  • “(1)Language used to convey curriculum based academic content and (2) the language of the social environment of a school.”
slide16

Formative assessment

  • Planning
  • Collecting
  • Analyzing
  • Reporting
slide17

Planning for formative assessment

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Don’t wait until the end to assess
  • Integrate assessment and instruction
slide18

Planning for formative assessment

  • Re-read your goals
    • What did you promise?
    • Can you do it?
  • Examine your curriculum
    • What are the big ideas to assess?
    • What can help with daily, weekly and future planning?
  • Match assessment to classroom
    • Domain
    • Theme
slide19

Classroom assessment tasks

  • Assess what’s in the curriculum (academic language)
  • Communicate what will be assessed
  • Assess
    • Short, daily
    • Longer, weekly
    • Longest, end of sequence

If there’s no time to assess it, there’s no time to teach it.

slide20

Planning: formative purposes

  • Planning instruction
    • Short-term
    • Long-term
  • Organizing/grouping students
  • Supporting learning
  • Diagnosing student needs
  • Motivating students
  • Providing feedback
    • To students
    • To parents
    • To school/district
  • Assigning grades
slide21

Planning: determining Your purposes

  • Validity and classroom assessment
slide22

A few examples

  • High and low stakes assessment
slide23

Planning for positive washback

  • Washback (Hughes 2003)
    • Positive
    • Negative
slide24

Systematic assessment

  • How can we plan for systematic formative assessment?
    • Data collection
    • Analysis
    • Reporting
slide25

Collecting data

  • Purpose: What is the best way to find out what I need to know?
  • Use: What is the most appropriate and effective way to collect this information?
slide26

Methods for collecting data (1/2)

  • Formative assessment is defined by use, not the assessment method
  • Some assessment methods are well-suited to formative assessment
slide27

Methods for collecting data (2/2)

  • Observations
  • Checklists
  • Oral presentations
  • Essays / written compositions
  • Traditional tests
  • Portfolios / work samples
  • Student self-assessments
  • Classroom tasks (individual, pairs, group)
slide28

Developing assessment tasks

  • Which mode(s) are you testing?
  • What format is appropriate?
slide29

Classroom assessment tasks

  • Characteristics of good classroom assessment tasks:
    • Standards-based
    • Proficiency level appropriate
    • Age/grade-level appropriate
    • Tied to instructional goals
    • Purposeful
    • Clear directions
slide30

When to assess

Prioritization and Sequencing

  • Prioritization = how to decide which parts to assess
  • Sequence = the order in which you assess
  • How do we do this?
slide31

Setting sequences

  • Questions to ask
    • What did I promise?
    • What goes together?
      • Themes
      • Domains
    • How much is too much?
      • 15 minutes or fewer rule; AND
      • Not too choppy rule
slide32

Analyzing formative assessment data

  • Thinking beyond grades
    • Quantitative information
      • Assessment level
      • Item/task level
    • Qualitative information
  • Looking at assessment data in content
    • Other formative assessments
    • Standardized test scores
    • Other information about your students
  • Using data to improve assessment and instruction
slide33

Reporting formative assessment data

  • Who needs to know the results of your assessments?
  • Which reporting format is best for a group of stakeholders?
slide35

Communicating results with students

  • How can assessment results be reported to students?
    • Make sure students know the purpose of the assessment before it’s administered
    • Provide meaningful feedback to students
    • When appropriate, review the assessment with students
    • Ask for student input
slide36

Testing checklist

  • The test is appropriate for my student population.
  • The test’s intended purpose matches my purpose for

testing.

  • The test’s input is appropriate for the skills I am

assessing.

  • I have the necessary resources to administer the

test.

  • I have the necessary resources to score the test and

analyze the results.

  • I understand how to share the results with stakeholders.
slide37

Applications

Some questions I encounter:

  • How can formative assessment help me prepare my students for a standardized test?
  • Is it wrong to teach to the test?
  • Should formative assessments be mini-versions of the summative assessment?
slide38

Application: performance assessment

  • Assessing Speaking
    • Classroom-based
    • Academic language
slide39

Application: WESTELL standards

Standards for Speaking:

1. Connect: Establish a verbal connection with an interlocutor in order to talk about something

2. Tell: Provide basic information on a relevant topic in a conversation

3. Explain: Provide detailed information on a relevant topic in a conversation

4. Reason: Argue in favor of or against a particular relevant topic

Note: Benchmarks are “implied in the soft hierarchy of functions.”

(American Institutes for Research (2005))

slide40

Application: speaking standards

Tell: Provide basic information on a

relevant topic in a conversation

  • Amount of language (words, sentences, extended discourse)
  • Complexity of language
  • Academic vocabulary
  • Fluency and comprehensibility
slide41

Next steps

  • How could this standard be assessed in the classroom?
    • Daily
    • Weekly
    • End of instructional unit
slide42

Assessment resources: web-based

A collection of brief, accessible CAL digests on assessment and other relevant topics

  • http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/subject.html

Draft of the ILTA Code of Practice

  • http://www.iltaonline.com/code.htm

  Virtual Assessment Center, an introduction to language assessment from CARLA

  • http://www.carla.umn.edu/assessment/VAC/index.html

 National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA)

  • http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/

Learning Teams for Assessment Literacy by Richard J. Stiggins

  • http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/orbit/classroom_assess_sample.html

Do educators know how to make use of the new avalanche of standardized test data? by Rebecca Zwick

  • http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct0404/voices0404-zwick.shtml
slide43

Assessment resources: print

Short, accessible book which introduces basic concepts of language testing and

reviews 20 English language tests

  • Stoynoff, S. & Chapelle, C. (2005). ESOL tests and testing. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

A practical guide to developing your own classroom assessments

  • Brown, H.D. (2003). Language assessment: principles and classroom practice. New York: Pearson ESL.

A book which provides a thorough but accessible overview of foundational concepts

in language testing

  • Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language teachers (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Handbook which explains the principles of backward design for classroom

assessment

  • McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Article on creating a culture of assessment

  • Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29.7, 4-17.
slide44

Possible next steps

  • Review current practices
    • Survey
    • Meet with teachers
  • Conduct a needs assessment
    • What do teachers need to know about assessment?
    • How could formative assessment be improved?
    • How could analysis and reporting be improved?
    • What resources are available?
    • What resources are needed?
  • Schedule time and support for assessment planning
  • Review and discuss standardized test scores
    • How can these be used to inform classroom instruction and assessment
  • Provide training on formative assessment
    • Standards expert
    • Developing assessment tasks
slide46

References

  • American Institutes for Research. (2005). English language proficiency standards and test and item specifications. www.ccsso.org/projects/ELDA/research_studies
  • Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language teachers (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29.7, 4-17.
  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (1997). Managing the assessment process: A framework for measuring student attainment of the ESL standards. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
  • West Virginia Department of Education. Classroom assessment for learning: a journey to assessment literacy.
slide47

Thank you

  • Meg Montee
  • mmontee@cal.org