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Assessing using the Rubric and the Power Law. Anchorage - October 9, 2009. What is Assessment?. Anything a teacher does to gather information about a student’s level of knowledge regarding a specific topic. Types of assessment. Three types of Assessment Obtrusive Unobtrusive

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what is assessment
What is Assessment?
  • Anything a teacher does to gather information about a student’s level of knowledge regarding a specific topic
types of assessment
Types of assessment

Three types of Assessment

  • Obtrusive
  • Unobtrusive
  • Student - Generated
obtrusive assessment
Obtrusive assessment
  • Assessment directed/assigned by the teacher
  • Instruction stops to administer assessment
  • Assessment can take many forms; including tests, classroom activities, assignment, projects, presentations, interviews
  • Scores on the assessment are taken and recorded
  • Teacher observes a student performing skill or process, teacher could also use data recorded by students
  • Better suited to skills and processes that can be observed
  • Instruction does not stop in the classroom
  • Also occurs outside of the classroom, any place the teacher can observe a student
  • Scores can be recorded
student generated
Student Generated
  • Student designs assessment to demonstrate status on topic
  • Teacher records score and uses student demonstration as a piece of information
  • Student friendly version of the rubric would be an important tool
formative vs summative
Formative vs. summative
  • Formative and summative assessments actually don’t exist!
  • ANY assessment can be formative or summative –DEPENDING ON HOW THE DATA IS USED!
  • Formative – scores taken during the course of learning to determine where a student is at that point in time
  • Summative – a score taken and used to describe where a student is at the end of a course of learning
three uses of assessment
Three Uses of Assessment
  • Formative Scores
  • Summative Scores
  • Instructional Feedback
formative scores
Formative Scores
  • Taking and recording scores on assessments to determine where a student is at a particular point in time
  • Assessment can take any form
  • Multiple formative scores can be used to develop a learning trend and ultimately develop a summative score
  • Used to track student progress towards a learning goal
summative score
Summative Score
  • A score taken and recorded to measure where a student ends up on a learning goal
  • Typically used to determine and report a “grade”
  • Assessment can take any form
  • Should be used in conjunction with formative scores to determine summative score
  • Use the “Power Law” or Learning trend to determine a summative score; NOT AN AVERAGE OF SCORES!
power law
Power Law












Learning Trend = 2.21




Average Score = 1.64





Mode = 1.5






Pre-Test Score 2 Score 3 Score 4 Score 5 Score 6 Post-Test

the power law
The Power law
  • The power law can be applied to come up with a more accurate estimation of a student’s true score
  • Power law estimations are typically far closer to a student’s observed score than averaged scores
  • The power law is a mathematical function that takes into account the number of assessments, the score on each assessment and the time between assessments to calculate an estimated ‘true’ score
    • y=atb where y is a score on a particular assessment, t is the time at which the assessment was administered and a and b are constants
how is the power law used
How is the power law used?
  • Electronic grade books can be designed to automatically calculate it
  • Teachers can use their professional judgment by collecting data and looking for the pattern in the data. The data points will probably fit a power law curve over time.
    • For example, a student (using the rubric), gets the following scores
      • 0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 3.0, 3.0, 3.5, 3.0
    • What would the student’s estimated true score be?
    • Averaging results in a score of 2.3 – the student is penalized for not knowing the information at the beginning

using teacher judgment to determine a student s grade
Using Teacher Judgment to Determine a student’s grade
  • Imagine that a student has received the following scores on a measurement topic:
    • 1.0, 1.0, 1.5, 1.5, 2.0, 1.5, 3.0
  • What grade would they receive?
  • In your professional judgment –
    • Do they deserve a 3.0? Why or why not?
    • Do they deserve a 2.0? Why or why not?
    • Considerations: Look at the trend in the data – is it going up? Have they demonstrated consistent success at any level? Do you believe they can accomplish a specific level? Do you need more data?
how many data points do i need
How many data points do I need?
  • The rubrics are designed so that a teacher can use fewer data points based on a set criteria to estimate the “true score”
  • The short answer is that you need as many as it takes to get a good picture; using professional judgment, assessment data, and your knowledge of the student; of what a student knows at any given period of time
  • 4- 5 are ideal. The less certain you are about a student’s “true score”, the more data you need
  • Zeros given on an assignment or assessment because the student did not do it skew the calculation of a true score
  • If you are trying to measure what a student knows and is able to do, use other means to measure and report work completion, behavior etc.
  • A separate set of rubrics, or a separate grade can be used
instructional feedback
Instructional Feedback
  • Data from assessments used to determine and adjust course of instruction
  • Represents a student’s or class’s understanding or progress towards a learning goal at any point in time
  • Typically not recorded or scored
designing assessments obtrusive
Designing Assessments - Obtrusive
  • Assessments can be designed to assess all levels of the rubrics at the same time.
    • Advantage – Students know what the ultimate goal is
    • Disadvantage – Students begin a course of learning with very low scores, but improve from there
  • Assessments could be designed to assess level 2.0 material first, and once mastered, move on the level 3.0
    • Advantage – Opportunity for individualized instruction, foundational material mastered before moving onto learning goal
    • Disadvantage – If used for a whole class, may hold students back that are ready to move on. Students may not have a clear picture of the ultimate goal
designing assessments unobtrusive
Designing assessments - unobtrusive
  • Create situations that allow the teacher to observe student performing skills or processes
  • “Catch” students performing the skill during the course of instruction
  • Record data just like any other assignment
designing assessments student generated
Designing assessments – Student generated
  • Allow and encourage students to come up with their own way to demonstrate progress
  • Record data and use to help determine progress
  • Write a student friendly version of the rubric
  • Place responsibility on students to provide data or “prove” their progress to teacher