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Talk About Assessment: Eight Big Ideas to Improve Learning for All Students. NESA Winter Training Institute New Delhi, January 30-31, 2010. Damian Cooper (905) 823-6298 dcooper3@rogers.com. Why, in 2010, are we re-examining our assessment beliefs and practices?. Changing Goals. Mean.

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talk about assessment eight big ideas to improve learning for all students

Talk About Assessment: Eight Big Ideas to Improve Learning for All Students

NESA Winter Training Institute

New Delhi, January 30-31, 2010

Damian Cooper

(905) 823-6298

dcooper3@rogers.com

changing goals1
Changing Goals

Range of Competent Achievement

slide5
Instruction

Students bring different knowledge & experience to school

Students learn at different rates

Students learn in different ways

Assessment

Not all students are able to demonstrate their learning in the same way

Not all students respond the same way to test pressure

Some students need more scaffolding than others

If the new goal of education is success for all, then we have no choice but toDifferentiate Instruction & Assessment
research on effective assessment
Research on Effective Assessment
  • The provision of effective feedback to students
  • The active involvement of students in their own learning
  • Adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment
  • Recognition of the profound influence assessment has on motivation and self-esteem
  • The need for students to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve

Crooks, 1988; Black & Wiliam, 1998

the big ideas of classroom assessment
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • Assessment serves different purposes at different times: it may be used to find out what students already know and can do; it may be used to help students improve their learning; or it may be used to let students, and their parents, know how much they have learned within a prescribed period of time.
  • Assessment must be planned and purposeful.
  • Assessment must be balanced, including oral and performance as well as written tasks, and be flexible in order to improve learning for all students.
the big ideas of classroom assessment1
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment

4. Assessment and instruction are inseparable because effective assessment informs learning.

5. For assessment to be helpful to students, it must inform them in words, not numerical scores or letter grades, what they have done well, what they have done poorly, and what they need to do next in order to improve.

6. Assessment is a collaborative process that is most effective when it involves self, peer, and teacher assessment.

the big ideas of classroom assessment2
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • 7. Performance standards are an essential component of effective assessment.
  • 8. Grading and reporting student achievement is a caring, sensitive process that requires teachers’ professional judgement.
time to talk about assessment
Time to Talk About Assessment
  • Review these Big Ideas with your colleagues.
  • Which one of the Big Ideas is currently LEAST evident in your classroom or school?
  • Which one of the Big Ideas is currently MOST evident in your classroom or school?
  • Let’s examine the data!
four conditions for sustainable improvement
Four Conditions for Sustainable Improvement
  • Focus
  • Pressure and support
  • Collaboration
  • Stay the course
the big ideas of classroom assessment3
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • Assessment serves different purposes at different times: it may be used to find out what students already know and can do; it may be used to help students improve their learning; or it may be used to let students, and their parents, know how much they have learned within a prescribed period of time.
assessment for learning
Assessment for Learning

“Assessment for learning is any assessment for which the first priority in its design and practice is to serve the purpose of promoting students’ learning. It thus differs from assessment designed primarily to serve the purposes of accountability, or of ranking, or of certifying competence.”

Black, Wiliam et al. 2004

assessment of learning
Assessment of Learning

“Assessment of learning includes those tasks that are designed to determine how much learning has occurred after a significant period of instruction. The data from such assessments is often used to determine report card grades.

slide15

When the classroom culture focuses on rewards, gold stars, grades, or class ranking, then (students) look for ways to obtain the best marks rather than to improve their learning. One reported consequence is that, when they have any choice, (students) avoid difficult tasks. They also spend time and energy looking for clues to the “right answer”.

“Inside the Black Box”, Black & Wiliam, 1998

slide16

“…assessment which is explicitly designed to promote learning is the single most powerful tool we have for both raising standards and empowering lifelong learners.”

Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box, 1999, University of Cambridge School of Education

time to talk about assessment1
Time to Talk About Assessment
  • Discuss the distinction between assessment for learning” and “assessment of learning” as it relates to your current practice
the big ideas of classroom assessment4
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • 2. Assessment must be planned and purposeful.
backward design program planning
“Backward Design” Program Planning

Stage 1: Identify targeted understandings

Stage 2: Determine appropriate assessment of those understandings

Stage 3: Plan learning experiences and instruction that make such understanding possible

Wiggins and McTighe, Understanding by Design

plan backward from what s essential
Plan Backward from What’s Essential…

Worth being

familiar with

Important to know and do

Enduring understandings

Wiggins and McTighe,

Understanding by Design

plan backward from what s essential1
Plan Backward from What’s Essential…

Worth being

familiar with

Assessment Types

Traditional quizzes & tests

-paper/pencil

Performance Tasks & Projects

-open-ended

-complex

-authentic

Oral Assessments

-conferences

-interviews

-oral questionning

Important to know and do

Enduring understandings

Adapted from Wiggins and McTighe,

Understanding by Design

the big ideas of classroom assessment5
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • 3. Assessment must be balanced, including oral and performance as well as written tasks, and be flexible in order to improve learning for all students.
triangulation of data classroom assessment
Triangulation of Data: Classroom Assessment

Performance task

Valid & Reliable Picture of Student Achievement

Oral defense/

conference

Written test data

you need to ensure a balance of assessment types
You Need to Ensure a Balance of Assessment Types
  • Students: write, do or say
  • Teachers: mark, observe or listen
  • Authenticity is key –

change a book report

into a book review!

the big ideas of classroom assessment6
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • Assessment and instruction are inseparable because effective assessment informs learning.
the zone of proximal development lev vygotsky
The “zone of proximal development”Lev Vygotsky
  • What do students currently know and what can students currently do?
  • Where do I want them to get to?
  • How big is the gap?
  • How do I ensure the gap is just right to challenge students in a way that maximizes learning?
the big ideas of classroom assessment7
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment

5. For assessment to be helpful to students, it must inform them in words, not numerical scores or letter grades, what they have done well, what they have done poorly, and what they need to do next in order to improve.

assessment for learning am i already doing it
Assessment for Learning: am I already doing it?
  • Do I routinely share learning goals with my students so they know where we are heading?
  • Do I routinely communicate to students the standards they are aiming for before they begin work on a task?
  • Do I routinely have students self and peer assess their work in ways that improve their learning?
math class
Math Class
  • Learning Goal: You will demonstrate that you understand the relationship between the numerator and the denominator in a fraction.
  • At the end of the lesson, Linda points to the poster on the classroom wall and asks her students:

What did you learn in this lesson today?

  • Their exit slip is to answer on a “leaf” and post it on the “knowledge tree”

Linda told me that the most effective AFL strategy for her has been to write the learning goal for each day’s lesson on the board.

assessment for learning am i already doing it1
Assessment for Learning:am I already doing it?
  • Does my questioning technique include all students and promote increased understanding?
  • Do I routinely provide individual feedback to students that informs them how to improve?
  • Do I routinely provide opportunities for students to make use of this feedback to improve specific pieces of work?
the big ideas of classroom assessment8
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • Assessment is a collaborative process that is most effective when it involves self, peer, and teacher assessment.
math class1
Math Class

Pete has his students use “Traffic Light” signs at the start of a lesson on equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages to assess prior knowledge.

Teacher: Do you know what the word “equivalent” means?

Students show either the red or green side of the “traffic light” in response.

He orally checks a sample of the “green” responses to see if they do, in fact, understand the term.

why involve students in the assessment process
Why Involve Students in the Assessment Process?

Students:

  • Develop understanding of what quality work looks like
  • Become independent monitors of their own work
  • Develop skills of metacognition
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills
the big ideas of classroom assessment9
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • 7. Performance standards are an essential component of effective assessment.
using rubrics in the classroom
Using Rubrics in the Classroom
  • Use a rubric analytically to provide feedback to students when conducting assessment for learning:

i.e. focus on the indicators and don’t worry about the overall level

  • Use a rubric holistically when conducting assessment of learning:

i.e. Ask, “What set of indicators best describes this student’s overall performance at this time?”

the big ideas of classroom assessment10
The Big Ideas of Classroom Assessment
  • Grading and reporting student achievement is a caring, sensitive process that requires teachers’ professional judgement.
slide45

Grading involves summarizing a large amount of assessment of learning data into a single letter or numerical score….it has little to do with teaching and learning!

slide49

How much evidence is “enough” for reporting?

In other words…

How do teachers ensure that the body of evidence selected for evaluation and reporting in a given subject or course is a valid sample?

what are the requirements of a valid sample
No diagnostic evidence

Includes a variety of modes to allow for differences in learning style (write, do, say)

Includes multiple (3+)pieces of evidence for each learning cluster

Provides evidence of the essential learning in the subject

Tasks represent polished work:

Not practices or early tries

Feedback has occurred previously and been implemented

What are the requirements of a “valid sample”?
grade course teams need to collaborate to
Identify the set of critical assessment tasks

Agree upon the relative weighting of each task

Establish the criteria by which each task will be assessed

Develop common, high quality scoring tools that capture the essential indicators of quality performance

Periodically engage in moderation of student work

Collect banks of exemplars, several for each level, for each task

Grade/course teams need to collaborate to…
slide52

Case Study

Marsha is a student who seems mature beyond her years. She has a sister and brother at the junior school whom she must pick up immediately after school each day. Marsha is quick to answer, debate in class, and brings an insightful perspective to daily classroom discussions. Although her daily work reflects outstanding performance, Marsha rarely completes any assignments that demand persistence over time, nor does she study for tests. If work is handed in, it is always late. The 4 major assessment tasks you have marked are all level 4, but she still owes you 3 major tasks for this term.

What does Marsha’s report

card need to communicate

to her parents ?

guidelines for ensuring that critical tasks are completed
Guidelines for Ensuring that Critical Tasks are Completed
  • identify for students and parents the tasks that are essential as proof of learning
  • operate on the understanding that all of these must be completed to meet the requirements of the subject or course
  • timelines for completion of these tasks must be communicated to students and parents to facilitate students’ and teacher’s workload
  • conduct frequent “process” checks
  • provide plenty of in-class time to work on essential tasks
guidelines for ensuring that critical tasks are completed1
Guidelines for Ensuring that Critical Tasks are Completed
  • identify strategies for addressing non-completion of essential tasks: e.g.

-completion contract

-supervised learning centre

-method for tracking missed tasks

  • have a school-wide policy concerning interim and final grade determination: e.g.

-use “Incomplete” on interim report card

-consistency regarding what “Incomplete” becomes on the final report card

reporting student achievement
Reporting Student Achievement

Given that it’s a crude summary of lots of information, what do we want the report card grade to represent?

The recent trend in

a student’s

achievement.

report card comments
Report Card Comments…
  • Purpose:
      • strengths, weaknesses, next steps
      • invitation to further discussion
  • Audience: non-educators
  • Focus on quality of work, not personality of student.
  • Differentiate between achievement issues and behavioural issues.
communicating with parents
Communicating with Parents…
  • When describing achievement, reference appropriate standards:
    • NOT other students
    • NOT siblings
    • Provincial achievement standards
  • Avoid all labelling of students: there are NO “A” students or “Level 4” students, only “A” performances and “Level 4” performances.
commitment to action
Commitment to Action
  • Spend a few moments reflecting on today ….
  • What was your most significant learning?
  • What specific actions do you plan to take immediately and/or between now and June 2010?
  • Who will be involved?
  • What results would you like to see from these actions?
  • How will you assess the effectiveness of these actions?