DOE A to Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #
Video Two: "Effective Assessment Practices and Student Growth"
This video series is intended to help teachers develop Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) with the support of their administrators and includes all of the latest guidance, resources, and tools.
As with all of the videos in this series we will be using the Department’s SGO Quality Rating Rubric to assist. This two page rubric is a teaching tool that may be used by teachers and administrators in working towards producing high quality SGOs.
Remember, districts have a good deal of flexibility in developing SGOs that best suit their needs. However, there are certain requirements that must be met as well as best practices that educators should consider that add value to the SGO process.
Throughout this series of four videos, we will address three guiding principles of SGO development.
High quality SGOs should be:
Aligned to standards;
Grounded in data; and
Driven by high expectations for students.
In video two we will discuss the components of a high quality assessment including its alignment to standards, and how assessments should be used as part of a monitoring cycle to ensure students are on track and receiving the appropriate instruction.
Video Two: Effective Assessment Practices and Student Growth.
Good assessments are the cornerstone of the SGO process. Fundamentally, SGOs are goals for student learning that a teacher measures his or her success on through an assessment process. Educators have significant latitude when deciding how and how often to assess student knowledge and skills but to ensure students benefit from this process, SGO assessment practices should form part of the normal cycle of teaching and learning and should always be high quality.
Poorly designed assessments do not accurately measure student knowledge and learning.
Therefore, if SGOs are based on low-quality assessments, the SGO process cannot yield accurate or meaningful results.
And if SGOs do not yield accurate or meaningful results, they will fail to promote good instruction and improve student learning.
Effective assessment practices ensure the SGO process has a strong foundation in that:
The assessments provide an accurate measure of what students know and can do, and
Indicate to teachers how students progressing towards their academic goals.
The SGO Quality Rating Rubric identifies five qualities in effective assessment practices.
High quality assessments align to the standards being taught over a given period.
The range of rigor of the assessment must accurately reflect the rigor of instruction, content, and skills of the course.
Assessments are accessible to all students.
Each aspect of the assessment should be high quality.
Educators who teach the same subject matter/grade level should use a common assessment.
First, and as discussed in the first video of this series, high quality assessments accurately measure students' understanding of the standards taught in a given period. Generally, more assessment items and a higher score weight should be assigned to those standards that are critical for a student's future success.
Educators must take into account a wide range of factors when determining which standards are most critical for a school district, school, grade or subject area, class and individual student. However, there are three questions educators should ask when prioritizing standards.
Does the standard lead to an enduring understanding of the information or skill?
Is the standard important for future classes or courses in school?
In the longer term, is this standard important for the student's success in college, career or life, in general?
Second, the range of rigor of the assessment must accurately reflect the rigor of instruction, content, and skills of the course.
"Range of rigor" is the critical term here. Assessments should contain items that measure the range of thinking that students have been expected to do during the class, not just the highest levels. Webb's Depth of Knowledge and Bloom's taxonomy are useful frameworks for identifying the range of rigor. Shown here, are the four levels of rigor described in Webb's Depth of Knowledge.
Third, and closely related to having an appropriate range of rigor, assessments must be accessible to all students regardless of background knowledge, cultural differences, or special needs.
As much as possible, an appropriate assessment must be free of bias so that it is an accurate and fair measure a student's skills and knowledge.
Fourth, high quality assessments need to be high quality in all aspects. This includes the item construction specifically but also associated rubrics, scoring guides, and/or answer keys for all items, and the administration and scoring of the assessments.
The fifth feature of effective assessment practices is that educators who teach the same subject matter/grade level should use common assessments whenever possible.
Research tells us that common assessments:
Center educators onwhat needs to be accomplished in instruction, curriculum and assessing.
Certify learning, when teams administer common assessments, the integration of the skills and knowledge students have acquired has a greater meaning as they accomplish something significant.
Help in celebrating learning. When prepared for success, students can celebrate achieving their academic goals.
Educators know that regularly gathering information about student progress is a critical component in ensuring students are on track and that the right instruction being provided. This process is commonly known as "formative assessment" and educators should apply effective assessment practices outlined in this video when developing and administering assessments used for monitoring progress of students. "Tracking progress and refining instruction" is step 4 of the SGO process and indicators for it can be found in the SGO quality rating rubric.
Formative assessment should be part of a monitoring cycle as shown in this graphic.
In each cycle, there are four steps.
First, teachers Plan, developing their curriculum, instruction, and assessments for the instructional period.
Then, they Implement this plan – In the teacher's world, implementation is teaching. Teachers follow their short- and long-term plans throughout the year.
During each period of instruction, teachers Collect information about student progress using effective assessment practices.
They analyze this information to Identify trends, patterns, and student misconceptions; deciding what needs more reinforcement or re-teaching.
This analysis is used to Plan for the next instructional cycle which may include reinforcement or re-teaching of certain information as well as new information determined by the teachers long term curriculum.
Every effective teacher uses monitoring cycles formally or informally to help them meet the needs of their students. In some schools, this process is conducted in collaborative teams of similar grade or subject teachers.
Educators meet regularly to plan and discuss student progress as measured on common assessments. This is a powerful way to develop aligned instructional goals and pool resources for the benefit of students.
For more information on forming and using collaborative teams effectively, see the Office of Evaluation’s Collaborative Teams Toolkit. For information about assessment design and monitoring cycles, see the SGO guidebook and SGO 2.1 presentation.