- Transitioning assessment systems
- Transitioning curriculum and instruction
Assessment in Education has inherited center stage: while instructors continue to wrestle with the how, when, for whom, etc. of effective instruction, assessment is a mechanical and often a relatively easy task to create measures and tests. Yet with so much time spent and with considerable resources invested in assessment, are we truly realizing benefits? This symposium will address K-12 measurement and assessment issues and expectations that educators need assistance and support so school interventions affecting student and school change can be realized. We will address what must and can assessment do, beyond building, administering tests and reporting results, to help create a context for instructional change that can have an impact, i.e., on curriculum aimed at student learning through teaching and instruction.
Five assessment scholars will participate: Eva Baker (UCLA), Jerry Tindal (UOregon), Gary Cook (UWisconsin), John Poggio (UKansas), and Rolfe Blank (CCSSO) each engaged in a research program focused on the theme of the symposium. Following is a statement of remarks.
Baker: There are two major issues associated with following up on assessment results. One is focusing on the transfer and generalization of students’ responses, e.g., in other contexts, modified problems, texts, or even in complex practical activities associated with badges. The second is motivating and providing access to teachers to improve their knowledge and pedagogy in areas where children have not done well. Only when assessment moves to blend results with instruction will we realize change in performance.
Tindal: Focus on data reporting for teachers and training teachers on how to use data is sorely undervalued. We've have labored over methods to use the assessment data to make decisions. We have been monitoring our measurements and have data indicating that teachers are mis-monitoring student progress. We also have observed that teachers need help in identifying interventions. To effect schooling change will necessitate better systems of reporting and proper use of information.
Cook: Often ELLs are tresated as a monolithic group classified merely by their lack of proficiency in English. This could not be further from the truth. These students are extremely diverse and our current assessment approaches fail to tap these students' capacities. This presentation will address critical issues associated with the assessment of ELLs, specifically as it relates to aggregate inferences used for evaluation and accountability of teachers, schools, districts, and states.
Poggio: Formative systems that support and demand both assessment and instructional guidance are emerging. Our Blending Assessment with Instruction Program (BAIP) aligns CCSS into instruction that supports teaching and learning. The program provides teachers with high-quality instructional lessons aligned with curriculum standards and timely access to student performance data through the use of student “tutorials.” The program combines instructional focus with student formative assessment to realize growth in student performance.
Blank: As states and school districts provide leadership with implementation of the CCSS, they are faced with the question of how to set priorities for use of resources. Should emphasis be placed on advancing teacher knowledge of their subject and content-specific pedagogy, increasing understanding of critical shifts in instructional emphases and strategies, or how to better apply lessons from professional development based on teacher evaluation systems? One argument is that new reporting of data will need to include better information about the link between what exactly is taught and then what is assessed, and how both dimensions are aligned to the Common Core Standards.
Papers will be prepared for distribution. The symposium will afford time for presenter and audience interaction. Our goal is to inform attendees that assessment absent a concentrated link to instruction will not be productive toward student learning and change.