Repair Kit Study Guide: Assessment Quality and Involving Students

So today I’m going to finish up with appendix B starting with criterion 6 verifying Assessment Quality which is broken into 3 sets of descriptors.  It seems I’m a little bit better with assessments than with some of the other criterion.

6.1: I think the developing descriptor fits me best: The teacher tries to base grades on accurate assessments only, but may not consciously understand all the features of a sound assessment.  I have attended several workshops designed to help me help my students improve their scores on state standardized testing.  Often this includes some practice on writing test questions.  I know that I did make it a habit to keep an eye on questions as I grade.  When I notice several students missing a particular question I take that opportunity to look at the question to determine if it was quality.  I have then taken that question out of the final score.  However I’m still not sure that I write the best assessments I possibly can.

6.2 The developing descriptor once again fit: Some standards of quality are adhered to in judging the accuracy of the assessment results on which grades are based.  The teacher can articulate some of these standards; or uses standards for quality assessment intuitively, but has trouble articulating why an assessment is sound.  Again while I feel I can write quality assessments my confidence level in this area is just not where I’d like it to be.  I continue to research, speak with colleagues and will continue to look for professional development in this area, and I can’t wait to see what ideas are in this book.

6.3 Finally a descriptor in the Fluent category that seems to fit me. YAY! Assessments are modified for special needs students in ways that match instructional modifications described in IEPs.  Such modifications result in generating accurate information on student achievement.  Ok so in all honesty I can’t take full credit for being fitting into the Fluent category on this one, much of the credit goes to the wonderful Special Education teachers I have worked with.  They have helped me adjust tests, or simply taken my tests and adjusted them for each student themselves as need be.  They have been the ones to read to the student or write the answers.  Really SpEd teachers are my heroes!

Last criterion #7 Involving Students and in this one back I go to the developing category: Grades are somewhat of a surprise because student involvement practices and descriptive feedback are too limited to give them insights into the nature of the learning targets being pursued and their own performance.  I don’t give enough to descriptive feedback I could blame it on lack of time and that would be true but really it’s a matter of me making that a priority.  At the beginning of this year I had my fourth grade technology students create Power Point slide shows about themselves.  We had previewed old slides to determine what makes a quality final product.  We also talked about constructive criticism.  When viewing the presentation every student completes a feedback sheet: 2 likes and 1 suggestion.  We had practiced how to give quality responses on the sheets before they began doing this for real.  I also completed the same sheet for students.  I think finding a way to do more of this would be beneficial.  I know that providing scoring guides has also given students more understanding of what is expected for them to get the best grade.  However I have not had the students do much self-assessment.

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