Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Balanced assessment here, now

Direct from the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents' meeting, Brad Hughes is reporting on classroom assessments that are already applying balanced assessment principles, as well as on Commissioner Holliday making the case for statewide efforts. Here are the teacher voices:

A course at Asbury University in Wilmore has taken Stiggins’ approach and its graduate students are putting it in place in their K-12 classrooms. Two of those students are Robin Lowe, a kindergarten teacher at Jessamine County’s Early Learning Village and Yvonne Crank, a fourth-grade teacher in the Woodford County system.
“Students need to know ‘Where am I going and where am I now?’ and how to close the gap. Students need to have a vision of where their learning is going,” Crank said. “I can do that by placing before them learning targets, giving them examples of what quality work looks like.”

“I thought that I created good tests. I was trained to create good questions that met learning targets for a higher level of thinking,” she said. “After studying sound assessment, I realized that I may have had good questions on a test but that the assessment that I was creating may not have been balanced.
“Part of the keys in designing sound assessment is clear direction and looking at bias: are there words that may be difficult for a lower reader? Do my questions really assess students at a deep level or is it just recall?” Crank said.
Lowe said the five keys of a quality assessment – clear purpose, learning targets, quality design, effective communication and student involvement – “have completely changed my classroom.
“It’s more than the knowledge and the curriculum. We have to get to the reasoning,” she said. “I focus on teaching my students to reason to get a problem and how to solve it. I don’t want to just teach knowledge; I want to go deeper.
“My students are owning their learning and taking responsibility for it,” Lowe said.
Check out the full story here.

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