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Workshop Goals

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  1. Standards-Based Assessment and Grading: What Works to Promote Student Achievement?John L. Brown, PresenterAssociation for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

  2. Workshop Goals • Explore the relationship between standards-based assessment and grading practices and student achievement. • Analyze ways to identify “power standards,” i.e., core standards that are so significant for student achievement that they need concentrated and sustained emphasis in the teaching, learning, and assessment process. • Investigate strategies for helping students to become an active part of the standards-based assessment and grading process.

  3. Other Experts and Studies We’ll Explore… • Tom Guskey (2001). “Making the Grade: What Benefits Students?” in Educational Leadership, October 14-20. • Ken O’Connor (2001). How to Grade for Learning: Linking Grades to Standards, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. • Doug Reeves (2001). “Standards Make a Difference: The Influence of Standards on Classroom Assessment. NAASP Bulletin, January 5-12. • Rick Stiggins (2001). Student-Involved Classroom Assessment. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. • Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe (2004). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

  4. A Warm-Up Activity:How Do You React to Each of the Following Statements About Grading (AGREE, NOT CERTAIN, DISAGREE)? • Grading is not an exact science.(Davis, 1990) • Grades are not inherently bad…It is their misuse and misinterpretation that is bad.(Guskey, 1993) • What grades offer is spurious precision, a subjective rating masquerading as an objective assessment. (Kohn, 1993). • Most common grading practices make it difficult for many youngsters to feel succesful in school. (Canady & Hotchkiss, 1989) • Letter grades have acquired an almost cult-like importance in American schools. (Olson, 1995) • School has come to be about the grades rather than the learning. (Conklin, 2001) • Our knowledge base on grading is quite extensive and offers us clear guidance for better practice. (Guskey and Bailey, 2001)

  5. What Do Current Learning Theory and Research Tell Us?

  6. Cognitive Learning Theory • We construct meaning by attaching new knowledge to existing schema. • We learn in non-linear, associational, and recursive ways, not in neat, linear fashion. • Learning is highly situated: transfer does not necessarily occur naturally. • Effective learning is strategic: we need to learn when to use knowledge, how to adapt it, and how to self-assess and self-monitor.

  7. The Constructivist Classroom • Students are at the heart of the learning process. • Teacher is a facilitator and coach. • Content is presented whole to part, with emphasis upon big ideas and questions. • Assessment and instruction are seamless • Experiential learning, inquiry, and exploration supersede lecture and “transmission” of information.

  8. Brain-Compatible Teaching and Learning • The brain asks “Why?” • The brain searches for connections, associations, and patterns. • The brain “downshifts” when it perceives threat in the environment. • The memory system to which we most often teach (the semantic/linguistic) is inferior to the episodicand proceduralmemory systems in storing and retaining knowledge.

  9. Multiple Modalities, Learning Styles, and Intelligences • We take in impressions and construct meaning about our world through multiple sensory channels and modalities. • There is no single way to learn: We construct meaning, perceive our world, and make judgments based upon a variety of learning styles. • According to Howard Gardner, intelligence is a potential, not an innate gift, and manifests through multiple forms such as the linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, musical, bodily/ kinesthetic, interpersonal, intra-personal, and naturalist/ecological.

  10. How Do You Perceive Things? How Do You Make Judgments? I/E=Do you tend to get more energized by being around other people or finding opportunities to retreat and recharge your energy alone? S/N=Do you tend to make judgments based upon concrete, empirical evidence or emotion and intuition? T/F=Do you tend to be driven more by your thinking and analytical processes or by your feelings, emotions, and relationships? J/P=Do you tend to be highly punctual and closure driven or do you tend to “live in the moment” in “ish-time”?

  11. What Are Your Learning Style Preferences?

  12. Emotional Intelligence • Goleman and the “marshmallow effect.” • Emotional intelligence determines life success more than the cognitive/ intellectual. • Classrooms should be safe and inviting communities of learning.

  13. Creativity and “Flow” • Mihalyi Csikzentmihalyi: “Flow is a condition in which we experience a sense of timelessness, engagement, and stress-free challenge.” • Creativity requires the ability to free associate and brainstorm. • Students must be taught to tolerate and explore situations and ideas that are ambiguous and open-ended. • We must help students to push the limits of their knowledge and ability.

  14. Coaching Activity How would you explain the significance of each of the following to a new teacher? 1. Cognitive Learning Theory 2. The Constructivist Classroom 3. Brain-Based Teaching/Learning 4. Addressing Learning Styles 5. Emotional Intelligence 6. Promoting Creativity and Flow

  15. Based on This Research, What Do the Experts Suggest About Standards-Based Grading and Assessment? • Clearly-articulated (and consensus-driven) content and performance standards provide a clear focus on what allstudents should know, do, and understand. • Clear standards provide a common direction for all schools in an educational district or region. • Effective and rigorous standards ensure greater equity in learning results for all students. • Standards-based grading ensures a consistent basis for communicating about student achievement. • The greater the emphasis upon formative assessment—i.e., ongoing assessment that provides coaching-based feedback to students—the greater the level of student improvement and growth. • Students must play an active and ongoing role in self-regulation, self-monitoring, and self-assessment.

  16. An Increasingly Significant “Big Idea” and National Assessment Trend… …The Power of Standards-Based Grading and Formative Assessment to Help Students Monitor Their Own Progress—and to Make Adjustments to Ensure Their Success in Mastering Core Standards…

  17. Feedback from classroom assessments should provide students with a clear picture of their progress on learning goals and how they might improve. Bangert-Drowns, Kulik, Kulik, & Morgan, 1991

  18. Feedback from classroom assessments should provide students with a clear picture of: • their progress on learning goals and • how they might improve Fuchs & Fuchs 1988

  19. John Hattie—reviewed 7,827 studies on learning and instruction. Conclusion… “The most powerful single innovation that enhances achievement is feedback. The simplest prescription for improving education must be ‘dollops’ of feedback.”

  20. Like most things in education, classroom assessment enhances student achievement under certain conditions only: • Feedback from classroom assessments should provide students with a clear picture of • their progress on learning goals and • how they might improve • Feedback from classroom assessment should encourage students to improve. • Classroom assessment should be formative in nature. • Formative classroom assessments should be quite frequent.

  21. 100 80 Increase of 34%ile to 84%ile 60 13%ile increase to 63%ile Starting percentile 50th Starting percentile 50th %ile improvement increase 40 20 0 Teacher assessment effectiveness Student Achievement

  22. 100 Increase of 49%ile to 99%ile 80 28%ile increase to 78%ile 60 Starting percentile 50th Starting percentile 50th %ile improvement increase 40 20 0 Teacher assessment effectiveness Student Achievement

  23. Black & Wiliam (1998)Assessment in Education, p. 61 “As an illustration of just how big these gains are, an effect size of .70, if it could be achieved on a nationwide scale, would be equivalent to raising the mathematics attainment score of an ‘average’ country like England, New Zealand or the United States into the ‘top five’ after the Pacific rim countries of Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong” (Beaton et al, 1996)

  24. Defining Our Terms • Assessment Principle: Effective and balanced assessment systems require that all stakeholders achieve consensus about the language they are using. Without agreement about the meanings of assessment and evaluation language, we can find ourselves in a Tower of Babel, operating at cross-purposes with feelings of ambiguity and frustration.

  25. Defining Our Terms: Eliminating the Tower of Babel • THINK: Examine the 10 assessment terms on pages 4-6 and think about how you would define each. • PAIR: With a partner, come to consensus about the terms that you are assigned. • SHARE: Be prepared to share with the group your perceptions about the extent to which your term(s) would be commonly understood—or misunderstood—by a majority of staff in your school or district.

  26. The Big Ideas of Standards-Based Assessment (1) • Assessment: Collecting diagnostic and formative student achievement data to monitor students’ progress and make appropriate instructional decisions. • Evaluation: Using consensus-driven standards to make judgments about the quality of student achievement and to determine the effectiveness of instructional programs and practices.

  27. The Big Ideas of Standards-Based Assessment (2) • Standards: Consensus-driven learner outcomes, including: (a) Content Standards (over time), (b) Performance Standards/Indicators (at key juncturepoints in time), and (c) Benchmarks (assessments and performances related to students’ demonstration of identified performanceindicators). • Standards-Based Grading and Assessment: Using a combination of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment to monitor student achievement of consensus-driven standards and evaluate/express a judgment about the quality of student performance and progress.

  28. The Big Ideas of Standards-Based Assessment (3) • Diagnostic Assessment: Pre-assessment to determine students’ levels of initial skills, knowledge, and understanding as they begin an instructional episode or unit. • Formative Assessment: Formal and informal assessment conducted throughout the episode or unit to monitor students’ ongoing progress relative to standards. • Summative Assessment: Climactic or cumulative assessment conducted at the end of an episode or unit to evaluate students’ level of proficiency or mastery of identified standards.

  29. The Big Ideas of Standards-Based Assessment (4) • Performance Assessment: Engaging students in actual performances involving standards application (e.g., academic prompts, performance tasks, projects) rather than selected-response testing. • Authentic Assessment: Assessing student achievement by engaging students in performances that replicate authentic, “real-life” situations. • Rubric: A scoring tool in which student performance is equated to varying levels of performance descriptions (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4). • Feedback-Adjustment Process: Using diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment to adjust the teaching-learning process to maximize individual and aggregate student achievement.

  30. The Foundations of Effective Teaching, Assessment, & Learning • Desired Results: Select standards as a base of planning. • Assessment Evidence: Identify how and how well students will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. • Planning Learning Experiences: Focus on what will “get them there,” instructional strategies, topics, themes, and resources.

  31. Designing an Effective Formative Assessment System:Two Key Questions… • How many measurement topics will be addressed during a grading period? • How many assessments will be administered for each measurement topic?

  32. Creating a Standards-Based Assessment System • Identify no more than four grade-level (or course) learning goalsper quarter (grading period) for each of the following subject areas: mathematic, reading, writing, science, and social studies. • Construct a rubric, or other type of common scale, for each learning goal. • Have teachers formally and informally assess each learning goal at least once every two weeks keeping track of each student’s score on each learning goal. (Use of appropriate computer software is highly recommended) • Have students keep track of their progress on each goal and use the data as the basis for teacher/student interactions about student progress. • Periodically (at least once per quarter) aggregate the data by grade level. Have teachers meet to discuss student progress and how it might be improved.

  33. Creating a Standards-Based Assessment System • Identify no more than four grade-level (or course) learning goalsper quarter (grading period) for each of the following subject areas: mathematic, reading, writing, science, and social studies. • Construct a rubric, or other type of common scale, for each learning goal. • Have teachers formally and informally assess each learning goal at least once every two weeks keeping track of each student’s score on each learning goal. (Use of appropriate computer software is highly recommended) • Have students keep track of their progress on each goal and use the data as the basis for teacher/student interactions about student progress. • Periodically (at least once per quarter) aggregate the data by grade level. Have teachers meet to discuss student progress and how it might be improved.

  34. If you wanted to teach all of the standards in the national documents, you would have to change schooling from K-12 to K-22. • 255 standards across 14 subject areas • 3,500 benchmarks • 13,000 hours of class time available • 9,000 hours of instruction available • 15,500 hours of instruction needed to cover the 3,500 benchmarks

  35. “Unpacking Your Standards” (1) • Strive to identify and assess a single trait, not multiple traits at one time (e.g., Avoid: “Students will develop fluency in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers.”) • Identify the unique elements or “dimensions” of information and skill in each of your standards. (e.g., adding whole numbers; subtracting whole numbers; multiplying whole numbers; dividing whole numbers) • Select those “essential elements”/dimensions that are critical for students to master across grade levels. (e.g., cause/effect; chronology; problem solving; plot analysis) • Organize your grade-level elements/dimensions into categories of related information and skills. (e.g., 4th grade: describing basic cause/effect patterns; creating simple chronologies; solving problems with basic solutions; analyzing plots with single story lines)

  36. “Unpacking Your Standards” (2) • Limit measurement topics to 20 or fewer per subject area and grade level. • As part of your process of “unpacking standards,” consider including important “life skills.”(e.g., participation, work completion, active listening, working in groups)

  37. Two Essential Questions for You to Consider… • In light of the need for standards to be “unpacked,” how can we build consensus about what students should understandso that they can see the universal issues, patterns, and significance of what they are studying? • As we audit our standards, which ones are significant enough so that students need to revisit them for a lifetime, not just the time they spend in school?

  38. The Three-Circle Audit Process for Identifying “Power Standards” Worth Being Familiar With... All Students Should Know and Be Able to Do... Enduring Understandings

  39. The Three-Circle Audit Process for Identifying “Power Standards” • Standards need to be interpreted and “unpacked.” • Staff members need to determine: a. Outer Circle: What is worth being familiar with? (CIRCLE 1) b. Middle Circle: What should all students know and be able to do? (CIRCLE 2) c. Center Circle: What are the enduring understandings students should explore and acquire? (CIRCLE 3)

  40. Another Way of Saying This… • What are our “forty-day” standards? What might students learn at a basic level to reinforce more significant knowledge, skill, and understandings?…(CIRCLE 1) • What are our “forty-month” standards? What should students know and be able to do at a level of teacher-guided proficiency?…(CIRCLE 2) • What are our “forty-year” content standards? What should students revisit over the course of their lifetimes? What should students be able to transfer and use with a level of independence?… (CIRCLE 3)

  41. For Example… For a group of tenth-grade World History students, how would you rank each of the following: • The day and year the Magna Carta was signed…(CIRCLE 1) • The historical significance of the Magna Carta…(CIRCLE 2) • The enduring influence of significant political documents throughout the history of world civilization… (CIRCLE 3)

  42. Into Which Circle Would You Place Each of the Following: 3=Enduring Understanding/ “Power Standard” (40 YEARS);2=All students should know or be able to do this (40 MONTHS);1=This is something students at this grade level should “just be familiar with.” (40 DAYS)

  43. To What Extent Do You Have a Core Curriculum? • Do all teachers responsible for the same grade level and/or subject area agree on: a. What is worth being familiar with? b. What should all students know and be able to do? c. What are the enduring understandings we expect of all our students?

  44. The Need to “Unpack” Power Standards • Assessment Principle: It is insufficient for schools and districts to have standards just on paper. Standards must be “unpacked” by staff members, a process in which they build consensus about (1) what and by when all learners are expected to know, do, and understand, and (2) how staff members agree to monitor each student’s progress.

  45. “Unpacking” Standards (Part 1) • On pages 10-13, you will find actual content standards from states throughout the country. Use the five guide questions on page 9 to make observations about them (both individually and collectively).

  46. “Unpacking” Standards (Part 2) • On pages 10-13, you will find criteria and examples for performance standards. • With a partner, choose one of the content standards on pages 14-15 and create a performance standard for a grade level you both determine.

  47. “Unpacking” Standards (Part 3) • Examine Tool Three on pages 8-9. • Think about the extent to which your school and/or district has addressed each of the nine long-range goals presented here for “unpacking” standards. • In your opinion, what are some possible action steps for that school or district?

  48. Making Standards-Based Assessment and Grading Work • 20 or fewer elements per subject, per grade level, per year • a residual category for teacher supplemental content • a uniform way of scoring assessments and assignments that is RIGOROUS

  49. Standard “Measurement TOPIC” “Measurement TOPIC” Benchmark Benchmark Benchmark Benchmark