- Transitioning assessment systems
- Transitioning curriculum and instruction
The Common Core State Standards articulate ambitious learning goals for students. To help students meet them, teachers need to be able to diagnose where students are in their learning and adapt teaching to move them forward. We will describe a project, under the auspices of CCSSO’s State-led Innovation Lab Program, that seeks to support teachers in a number of participating districts to use a combination of learning progressions, formative assessment practices, and formative assessment tasks linked to the learning progressions, to carry out this kind of adaptive instruction. The session will focus on the mathematics component in one district.
Two projects are joining forces: (1) Ongoing Mathematics Assessment Project (OGAP) of the Vermont Mathematics Partnership and (2) ETS’ Cognitively-based Assessment of, for and as Learning. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) based at Teachers College is providing the “hub” role for this networked improvement activity, collaborating with CCSSO and the participants named above. The first presenter will describe how this work began and early decision points such as the identification of the mathematics partners, and the selection of the state/district level partners.
The second and third presenters will have a parallel structure, focusing on the particular set of resources and supports provided to the elementary and middle teachers respectively. The elementary school teachers are working with a learning progression for multiplicative reasoning and the middle school teachers with proportional reasoning. For both groups the focus is on in depth professional development about formative assessment and the mathematics education research at the foundation of the learning progressions. Additionally, the work is centered on using carefully designed tasks to elicit student thinking which can be related to the learning progression, and from there the instructional decisions to be made. Both groups of teachers will meet in learning communities to continue the support beyond periodic more formal professional development days.
For both groups technology plays an important, although not identical, role. The elementary teachers are using tablets with a knowledge management system which allows them to easily access the learning progression, items that are tied to problem characteristics that are relevant to the learning progression rather than by grade level, and to keep track of evidence of student understanding. Many of the tasks that the middle school teachers are using are delivered online which provides flexibility to have individual students respond on computer or to structure small groups or whole class discussions around key questions while projecting on a smart-board. In addition, the online tasks include a variety of simulations to support student learning. There is also a knowledge management system to allow teachers easy access to student responses in real time. Both presentations will report on preliminary data about the implementation of the work with teachers, and their responses to it, along with that of their students.
The fourth presenter will be the district mathematics coordinator who will provide an important perspective regarding the supports required and challenges experienced in engaging in sustained professional with teachers across multiple schools in the district.
Our expert discussant will help us to take stock of progress, to consider lessons learned and next steps as we expand the work.
This session is relevant to the broad audience at CCSSO given the urgency with which teachers must prepare to implement the CCSS. In addition there is interest in the role of learning progressions within the CCSS, and while they are a topic of interest at research conferences, they still are relatively unfamiliar to teachers. Understanding how to support their use, and how to scale that support will be relevant to many state and district representatives.