Tips for Avoiding Mistakes Via Assessment Rigor
Team-developed common formative assessments are the instrument utilized to make sure our students arrive at the destination they should. Formative assessments help us identify by the student, by the skill those who need intervention. Data gathered from team-developed common formative assessments are the centerpiece of team conversations that help us identify by the teacher, by the skill where instruction needs to improve. If this instrument is off by a couple degrees, the results can impede our students’ success.
Assessment quality is a great challenge as our teachers attempt to implement new core curriculums. Writing an assessment that requires more than simple recall is not a skill many teachers possess. It is critical that we do not assume a skill set based on something as important to the PLC process as common formative assessments. We need to purposefully increase our teachers’ capacity to create assessments that help them understand if students are reaching the learning levels required by new core curriculum.
Some suggestions to help with this:
- Involve state leaders to help us understand what competency looks like in assessment form. State leaders should know and be able to explain what types of questions will result in a student being deemed proficient on end-of-level state assessments. If we can help teachers understand what the target is, I am convinced they will change instruction to help students reach that target.
- Identify resources that increase our capacity as educators. I recommend that you become students of rigorous assessments that have been created by experts. For free sample items and tests, visit:
http://www.parcconline.org/samples/item-task-prototypes (for Common Core language arts and math)
http://www.smarterbalanced.org/pilot-test/ (for Common Core language arts and math)
www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ (for released items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress for all subject areas in elementary, middle, and high school)
www.oecd.org/pisa (for high school assessments in reading, math, and science)
We need to become the experts on assessment and assessment rigor.
- Utilize the principles of convergent assessment. Balance the results from your own common formative assessments with the results of district or state assessments to help identify where assessment rigor needs to improve.