The results of the personal survey of assessment literacy showed that general considerations scored 87/90, prior to test design scored 53/55, writing the test scored 28/30, during test administration scored 15/15, and after testing reflected 25/25. Our school is a small private school with small classroom sizes. As a result, most of our students receive specialized one on one attention and strong supervision for their academic success. Teachers believe every student can and will succeed.
It is not an option to do otherwise. “Teachers must believe that all students can achieve a certain level of academic success, must bring all of their students to believe this of themselves, must accommodate the fact that students learn at different rates by making use of differentiated instruction, and must guide all students toward the attainment of standards” (Stiggins, 2005, pg. 326). How we test students need to take into consideration the impact of the learner (Stiggins, 2008).
Stiggins (2008) informed teachers to utilize assessments for students by looking at the classroom level of use, the program level of use, and the institutional accountability and policy level of use. Looking at the school survey of assessment literacy will take into account these three types of assessment uses and their importance in generating an accountability system for our school to develop a system that fosters learning for all students. My greatest area of strength in regard to assessment literacy can be found in during test administration (15/15) and after testing (25/25).
These were perfect scores and illustrated that student’s needs were met when considering the testing environment as conducive to maximize student performance and monitoring the students as they take ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 3 the test. Directions are always clear and questions are rarely asked. Tests are accurately scored because they are reviewed twice. Assessment data is gathered for what questions students answered incorrectly and notes are made for improvement of material taught the following year.
It is reviewed again after the results of the test are completed to ensure mastery before moving on to the next chapter. The main goal is always on student achievement and mastery of the material. The data adjusts instruction to improve student performance. Any students who do poorly are given the opportunity to retest for 92% of the grade for improvement and mastery. Parents are notified of any student receiving below an 86%. This is our school policy. Retests are given within a week of the original test. Tests are graded the same day and given back the next day.
This enables students to observe what they got wrong and assess ways to improve for the retest or master the material. Assessments are not always tests. Projects, reports, computer uses, etc. are vital ways to assess student learning through a plethora of ways. Gardner (1999) believed that students learn through spatial, linguistic, naturalist, interpersonal, intrapersonal, bodily kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, musical, and existential. Educators should recognize that diversity needs an on-going presence, availability, and active participation in the classroom teaching process (Spasovski, 2010).
“If society wants all students to meet standards, then all students must believe they can meet those standards; they all must be confident enough to be willing to take the risk of trying” (Stiggins, 2008, p. 8). My greatest limitation in regard to assessment literacy is working with colleagues to design common assessments. Since we are a small private school, teachers are left ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 4 with the task of compiling their own assessments. Our principal will supply the assessments created by the publisher in book form or cd rom or teachers can compile their own.
None of us work with colleagues to create assessments. We have team meetings that cross teach certain areas that are being studied to enhance learning across disciplines of teaching. However, assessments are each teacher’s responsibility. The Stanford test scores analyze our teaching productivity. Data is analyzed for the incorrect answer. The results address the weakest area of student learning. Teachers are to find solutions to fix them through data and research of proven strategies that work within successful classrooms. According to Creighton (2001), collecting data without purpose is meaningless.
Data driven decision making and instructional leadership support one another. By analyzing the data that exist in our schools, student achievement and quality in teaching and learning can improve to assist students to become avid learners. Part 2: Analyzing the Survey Results The survey results of the criteria for the school survey of assessment literacy scored 84/90. Assessment, curriculum, and instruction are balanced in our school. Assessments are aligned to benchmarks, standards, and scaffolding of material over time to foster students’ learning. To promote student achievement, assessments are varied and reliable.
Communication is accomplished with parents about performance through emails, assessments sent home requiring signatures, progress reports, report cards, and Stanford test scores. Since our students score in the 79-99% ranking of Stanford test scores as a class average, teachers seek solutions through data to ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 5 improve class average test scores. If any student did poorly, teachers seek ways that will improve student learning. Principals and teachers can learn to maneuver through the statistical data to help create goals and strategies for change and improvement (Creighton, 2001).
The school’s greatest area of strength in regard to assessment literacy was that data-based decisions about student mastery of standards are made collaboratively by administrators and teachers. By looking at our strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats, teachers can gain insightful information into how they may best serve their diverse students’ needs and administrators can find solutions to helping these students achieve an optimal learning experience at school. This creates an opportunity for teachers and administrators to work together to improve student achievement.
By understanding our diverse students’ needs, teachers and administrators can see the big picture and find viable solutions to problems that arise at their school. This year we have added a resource room to help struggling students with special needs get help from an ESE teacher. Curriculums are modified to accommodate student’s needs based on any language or learning barriers. The dominant culture of the nation-state should incorporate aspects of their experiences, cultures, and languages, which will enrich the mainstream culture as well as help marginalized groups to experience civic equality and recognition (Gutmann, 2004).
Teachers have professional development sessions and team meetings to assess proven methodologies and research to help students learn. “When teachers support students by treating them with respect and caring about their futures, and encourage students by helping them to succeed, students are more likely ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 6 to respect and get along with one another; when taught how to be more tolerant of others, students exhibit greater tolerance” (Gollnick & Chinn, 2006). Our school climate is multicultural and is reflected in every aspect of the education at our school.
This is imperative if we want our students to compete in a global economy and to ensure learning and equity for all students. The school’s greatest limitation in regard to assessment literacy is that not all teachers recognize students’ emotional connection to assessment and its results. Also, the formative assessments are not used regularly to tell members precisely where to focus their improvement efforts and how to do it in a timely manner. My students complain that some teachers take a month to grade papers.
Parents complain to me that other teachers do not understand their child’s special needs. For instance, I have a student with dysgraphia, dyslexia, and ADHD. For spelling tests, I have found it beneficial to call him up after tests and have him spell the word to me verbally that he got wrong in writing and he often gets it correct. He has transformed from a failing student to an “A” student. I grade his paper immediately after he turns it in and I ask him to spell the words he got wrong to me verbally.
When students are failing, teachers need to find viable solutions to increase student learning. No single assessment is capable of answering all these questions to aid a student’s learning capabilities. A productive, multi-level assessment system is needed to ensure accuracy of all instructional decisions (Stiggins, 2008). Relying heavily on Stanford test scores impedes a student’s emotional connection to assessment and its results. Instead a wide arrangement of student work should become part of a portfolio to determine the overall ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 7 success rate of a student.
“If all students are to succeed, they must have continuous access to credible evidence of their own academic success at mastering prescribed achievement standards” (Stiggins, 2008, p. 8). Data shows teachers areas that need improvement in teaching, student’s weaknesses, and how to do better next time. This will enable students to build self-efficacy when teachers help students to see what success looks like through assessment analysis to improve test taking the next time (Stiggins, 2008). This is the reason our school offers a retest at 92% of the grade.
This is what Stiggins refers to as replacing the intimidation of accountability as the primary motivator through tests with the promise of academic success for all learners. This type of assessment promotes hope for all students to become successful. We are reminded by Tashik (2010), that an effective performance assessment system requires the complete interplay of several components: 1. Teaching and learning must remain the constant focus of the school. 2. Teams of teachers collaborate on all aspects of instruction and assessment.
3. Staff, department, and grade meetings are regular features of the school week. 4. Scheduling includes blocks of time for teachers to mentor and supervise student progress on the performance assessment tasks. 5. Continual development of new courses and units of study to better engage students in their learning and meet their academic needs. When these key components are intertwined, effective assessments can benefit our students through diversity and it can take the shape of molding into our students’ needs.
When we look at the classroom level of use, the program level of use, and the ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 8 institutional accountability and policy level of use, assessments can work together to scaffold student learning for optimal success. In a perfect assessment system, the foundation would comprise of an array of assessments that enable students to learn more through scaffolding and take ownership of his or her learning success (Stiggins, 2004). ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING 9 References Creighton, T. (2001). Data analysis and the principalship. Principal Leadership, 1(9), 52.
Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed: Multiple intelligences for the 21st century. New York: Basic Books. Gollnick, D. and Chinn, P. (2006) Multicultural education in a pluralistic society. New Jersey: Pearson Education. Gutmann, A. (2004). Unity and diversity in democratic multicultural education: Creative and destructive tensions. In J. A. Banks (Ed. ), Diversity and citizenship education: Global perspectives (pp. 77-96). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Spasovski, Ognen. (2010). Principles of the inclusive education and the role of teachers and in-school professional staff.
The Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation,111(1-2), 67-86. Tashik, P. (2010). Changing the national conversation on assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(6), 55-59. Stiggins, R. (2004). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right – Using it well. Portland, OR: Assessment Training Institute. Stiggins, R. (2005, Dec. ). From formative assessment to assessment FOR learning: A path to success in standards-based school. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(4), 324-328. Stiggins, R. (2008). Assessment manifesto: A call for the development of balanced assessment systems. Portland, OR: ETS Training Institute.
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