Building Capacity For Classroom Formative Performance Assessment—and Sustaining It

Saturday, June 22, 2013: 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Maryland 1-2 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
Content Strands:
  1. Balancing new assessment systems within a state
Educators recognize the crucial role that classroom formative assessment practices play in the teaching-learning process and the benefits that accrue to student achievement. Empirical studies in the 1990s indicate the benefits from using performance assessment to assess higher order thinking skills. Helping teachers infuse classroom instruction with effective classroom formative performance assessment practices requires ongoing professional development. Delivering externally developed performance assessments for use in the teaching-learning process requires ongoing investment and professional development. In this session, we explore the challenges and benefits of classroom formative performance assessment—and the challenges in sustaining them.

This session is relevant to Strand 5: Balancing new assessment systems within a state. Each of the presenters will discuss the role of classroom formative performance assessment in state assessment programs, addressing the Common Core State Standards, and pursuing college and career readiness for all students.

The first speaker will present Overview: Building Capacity to Achieve the Benefits of Classroom Formative Performance Assessment—and Sustaining Capacity and the Benefits. The presenter will describe the benefits to student achievement of implementing classroom formative assessment (e.g., Black & Wiliam, 1998) and performance assessment (e.g., Ferrara, 2012), the ongoing investments required, and the challenges in sustaining the effort and benefits.

The second speaker will present on Ohio’s Task Dyad Learning System (e.g., Moore, Monowar-Jones, Xu, 2012). The Task Dyad Learning System includes a formative performance task, the Learning Task, designed to teach students a skill, give them an opportunity to practice the skill, and receive feedback from their teacher to improve their performance. The other half of the dyad is an Assessment Task that is aligned to the skills taught and practiced in the Learning Task. The Assessment Task contains constructed response items that assess skills learned and practiced in the Learning Task. The professional development that supports the implementation of the performance tasks is centered on formative assessment techniques. Two other RTTT funded projects support this same philosophy, share the same core texts, and collaborate to ensure complementary professional development. An external evaluator for the performance assessment project is tracking how teachers change their practice as a result of project involvement.

A third speaker will present Performance Based Tasks: A Pathway for 21st Century Learners. The vision for assessment in Gwinnett County Public Schools involves thinking of assessment as a process rather than an event. In partnership with the Center for Next Generation Assessment and Learning, development of performance based tasks with integrated content began in the summer of 2012. These tasks are designed to be delivered over time, leverage technology for administration and scoring, and provide formative feedback to inform instruction. In addition, these tasks will provide students opportunities to think critically as they increase ownership of their learning and move toward readiness for college and career.

The final speaker will present Rethinking Formative Assessment: A Gateway to Deeper Learning and College and Career Success. The focus of the presentation is on highlighting promising “innovative” formative assessment practices in states that are participating in the Innovative Lab Network (ILN) sponsored by the Hewlett and Sandler Foundations and CCSSO. The speaker will highlight the key features of formative assessment strategies in ILN states that are aligned to CCSS and can serve to extend, deepen, and enrich formative assessment approaches currently under consideration to support the PARCC and SBAC assessment systems. ILN state policy approaches will be described and discussed to demonstrate how innovations in the design of formative assessments can serve to transform college and career admission policies and practices.          

A discussant will comment on the challenges and benefits of classroom formative performance assessment and of sustaining the benefits.