Overview

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This module explores educational assessment as it is used to monitor the effectiveness of instructional and systemic practices and to identify needs of districts, schools and students. The following topics are discussed in module text, linked resources and embedded videos from Ohio schools:

  • Measurement of student learning and progress
  • Monitoring of fidelity of implementation
  • Feedback from students
  • Measurement of system effectiveness
  • Identification of specific needs
  • Determination of eligibility
  • Creation of high quality assessments
  • Interpretation of assessment results

The content in this module is intended to align closely with the content of the OLAC modules on Curriculum and on Instruction because of the need for the educators to grasp the unity of curriculum, assessment and instruction. The three concepts point to what schools do and how they do it.

This module aligns with Ohio's Leadership Development Framework in the following areas:

  • Area 1 Data and the Decision-Making Process
  • Area 2 Focused Goal Setting Process
  • Area 3 Instruction and the Learning Process

Discussion Questions

  1. Sometimes assessment serves formative purposes, and sometimes it serves summative purposes. What are the most significant formative assessment purposes your school BLT and TBTs and your district DLT address? What are the most significant summative assessment purposes your school and district teams address? What are the least significant assessment purposes? How might the district and school streamline the assessment system overall to help teams focus on the most significant assessment purposes (both formative and summative)?


  2. Students’ involvement in gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data about their own performance helps them focus attention on what they’re learning. But some practices, like using data walls, have drawbacks. What guidelines can be used in your school and district to ensure that students have opportunities to monitor their own learning in a psychologically safe environment?


  3. As pointed out in the module, grading is most effective when it communicates information about students' mastery of standards-based content. Some common grading practices interfere with this use of grading. Think about the following practices and determine how often they are used by teachers in your school and district. Then consider alternatives and discuss them with colleagues in a DLT, BLT, or TBT meeting.

    • Allowing students to improve their grades by completing "extra credit" assignments.
    • Including homework "grades" as one of the measures used to determine the report-card grade.
    • Including grades on practice exercises as one of the measures used to determine the report-card grade.
    • Incorporating a measure of "effort" (or class participation or behavior) in determining the report-card grade.
    • Using the full 0% to 100% grading scale for tests and assignments that contribute to the report-card grade.

  4. Schools and districts often task teachers with the work of developing common formative assessments. But developing a high-quality assessment tool is not easy. The tool needs to align well with the content it samples, and it needs to be valid and reliable. What procedures might your district's DLT and your school's BLT use to ensure that common formative assessments meet standards of high quality?


  5. Some formative assessment tools can be developed for school-wide (or even district-wide) use. For example, some districts develop a rubric to assess middle-school students’ writing, and the tool is used by all middle-school teachers in the district. Does your district have assessment tools such as these? If so, what are they? How were they developed? How are they revised? If your district has at least one such tool, examine it closely (perhaps with TBT or BLT colleagues). What are its strengths? How might it be improved?


  6. What are the most significant challenges associated with monitoring the fidelity of the implementation of an agreed-upon instructional strategy? How might your TBT or BLT deal effectively with those challenges?


Activities

Introductory Activities

  1. The Case Against the Zero

    Read the article The Case Against the Zero by Douglas Reeves. With TBT or BLT colleagues, develop and then use a schoolwide data-gathering process to determine the prevalence of using zeros (or other below-failing scores) to calculate report-card grades. Be sure you have the support of your principal before gathering data. If the practice of using zeros (or other below-failing scores) is used extensively at your school, work with the principal to begin an on-going conversation about this practice among all teachers at the school.


Advanced Activities

  1. Performance Assessment

    Design one or more performance assessments that incorporate authentic activities to gauge students' learning. For each assessment, develop a rubric that can be used to (1) help students understand the complex performance that the assessment targets, (2) provide formative feedback to students as they complete the activity, and (3) evaluate students’ final product(s).

  2. Monitoring Fidelity of Implementation

    With TBT colleagues, develop a process for monitoring the fidelity with which each of you implements an agreed-upon instructional strategy. The process might involve self-rating, peer observation, observation by a principal or instructional coach, student feedback, or some combination. Test out the process and record data in a way that allows all members of the TBT to see the fidelity of implementation of each teacher on the team. Spend all or part of one TBT meeting discussing (1) how well all teachers are implementing the strategy and (2) how well the monitoring process is working. Make changes to the monitoring process if it turns out not to be working as well as you and your colleagues hoped it would.


You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.