Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Principles of Successful Assessment

Fair Isn’t Always Equal….this is the most recent book our ID PLC is studying at the moment. It has some really good points and ideas in it that make so much sense as a teacher. Fair isn’t always equal- and that really needs to be considered when looking at students achievement in a differentiated classroom. Below is a quick summary of Chapter 3 which focuses on assessments. To be honest with you- if I had to do the following for every assessment that I made in class I think I would have to quit teaching….
Chapter 3: Principles of Successful Assessment in the Differentiated Classroom
This chapter focuses on how to use assessments in a differentiated classroom. It also goes into detail about the 3 different types of assessments- pre-assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. According to Wormeli, a teacher should really focus their energies on creating formative assessments. These are basically check points though out your unit to ensure your students are learning the material.  Another concept that I found interesting is Wormeli also says that teachers should provide students with the summative assessment prior to beginning the lesson. Generally the summative assessment is the “unit test” or major project associated with the unit. Authentic assessment should be varied and collected over a period of time. A student, just as a teacher, may be having an off day and their entire major grade should not be based on one assignment they must complete on a single day.
Assessment guides the practice in a differentiated classroom and you should always design your lessons with the end in mind. Students should know what to expect….not wonder- “will this be on the test?” Lesson objectives should be clear and based on essential and enduring knowledge (EEK). EEKs should be prioritized in 3 different categories: Essential, highly desirable and desirable and teachers should work with their colleagues to reflect on what is considered E, HD, or D.
According to Wormeli, there are 12 basic steps for creating a successful differentiated classroom. They are as follows:
1. Identify your EEKs
2. Identify students with unique needs
3. Design formative and summative assessments (write them out)
4. Design and deliver your pre assessment based on your summative assessment and EEKs
5. Make adjustments when necessary
6. Design learning experiences based on the information gathered from pre assessments
7. Run a mental tape of each step in the lesson sequence to make sure things make sense
8. Review your plan with a colleague
9. Obtain or create material needed for this lesson
10. Conduct the lesson
11. Evaluate the lesson’s success with the students. What worked and didn’t work?
12. Record advice for yourself on any changes that need to be made so you can adjust your lesson for future delivery
And on that note….differentiated classrooms provide multiple options in a hierarchy of challenge, from concrete to abstract, structured to open ended, single faceted to multi faceted. You may have multiple versions of the same lesson to present to the different groups of your students. It is important to also remember that good assessment advances learning, not just document it and is authentic to the learning experiences- which means the assessments are similar to what the students experienced during the lesson.

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