Medium 9781936763009

Collaborative Common Assessments: Teamwork. Instruction. Results.

Views: 601
Ratings: (0)

Reignite the passion and energy assessment practices bring as tools to guide teaching and learning. Strengthen instructional agility in professional learning communities with collaborative common assessments that collect vital information and consider all levels of the organization. Explore the practical steps teacher teams must take to establish clear, comprehensive assessment systems, and discover how to continually improve results.

List price: $33.99

Your Price: $27.19

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

8 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1 Doing Extraordinary Things

ePub

1

Doing Extraordinary Things

Collaboration is a social imperative. Without it, people can’t get extraordinary things done in organizations.

—Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

Many variations of common assessments abound in schools and teams. Sadly, many of those variations are both instructionally deficient and “collaboration lite,” with little hope of ever helping accomplish anything extraordinary. In other words, the assessment and its ensuing results are viewed as an obtrusive event that generates data but no meaningful information and that is often orchestrated—from beginning to end—with little involvement or ownership on behalf of teachers and their learners, the key stakeholders. In addition, the data are sometimes provided with a prepared digital analysis that may come too late in the learning process to alter outcomes in meaningful ways. By contrast, schools where the work of collaborative common assessments makes the greatest difference house conversations that are instructionally enlightening and teams that are collaboratively dependent.

 

Chapter 2 Embedding Collaborative Common Assessments in a Balanced Assessment System

ePub

2

Embedding Collaborative Common Assessments in a Balanced Assessment System

If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.

Richard M. Nixon

The concept of collaborating sounds pleasant, but it takes considerable effort and commitment on behalf of the participants, and it can only happen when the assessments used to monitor results are carefully embedded in a healthy context and balanced assessment system. Engaging in collaborative common assessments requires systems thinking. When embedded and aligned to the greater context of classroom and district assessments, the common assessment process is guaranteed to intersect and impact classroom instruction, teamwork, school culture, and school improvement initiatives in parallel and positive ways. To maximize the potential of the common assessment process, educators must begin to think like architects with a deep understanding of all the systems involved.

 

Chapter 3 Working Together for a Common Purpose

ePub

3

Working Together for a Common Purpose

Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.

Helen Keller

In the simplest view, common assessments can mean the exact same test. Many assessments fit that definition: national tests, state or provincial assessments, college entrance exams, interim or benchmark assessments, curricular resource assessments, and grade-level or departmental final exams. Assessments of this nature provide a common set of data related to a specific set of standards or body of information and offer information about how well students are achieving. Not all common assessments must be exactly the same, however.

In most schools, there probably will be very small teams of teachers or teachers who work as singletons (there is no one else who shares their content or grade level, so they have no one with whom to collaborate regarding their specific content or instruction). Small teams and singleton teachers can participate in the work of collaborative common assessments, but it requires a high degree of creativity, focus, and purposeful participation. Teachers should never participate in the work of common assessments simply for the sake of participating. At its core, the goal of all assessment activity involves monitoring student learning against a given set of content-specific standards. Fortunately, new emerging state and national standards are perfect for creating and using common assessments because of the emphasis on processes and the clear spiraling of learning sequences:

 

Chapter 4 Preparing the Foundation for Collaborative Common Assessments

ePub

4

Preparing the Foundation for Collaborative Common Assessments

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

—Alexander Graham Bell

It would be wrong to send teams off to employ common assessments—whether pre-endorsed or collaboratively developed—without setting the context and providing a firm foundation for the work. In an accountability-rich culture, it is readily assumed that any data generated are visible and therefore available for decision makers. When the stakes are too high, the process will not work to invite innovation and encourage practice improvement if it is not managed well.

Figure 4.1 frames the foundation by outlining the components that are within a team’s control and that must be part of the team’s work before and during the process of designing and employing collaborative common assessments.

Figure 4.1: The preparation phase for collaborative common assessments.

 

Chapter 5 Designing Collaborative Common Assessments

ePub

5

Designing Collaborative Common Assessments

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

Mastering the collaborative design process will build assessment literacy, establish clarity, and improve instructional agility for an entire team of teachers. Though it happens early in the process of collaborative common assessments, the design phase has just as many benefits (if not more) to offer teams as the delivery and data phases. Research summarized by James H. McMillan (2013b) regarding classroom assessment clearly indicates there is a need to develop assessment literacy for teachers: “a generalized finding was that, by and large, teachers lack expertise in the construction and interpretation of assessments they design and use to evaluate student learning” (p. 5). When teams engage in the design phase collaboratively, the rewards far outweigh the challenges involved: teams are able to clarify their shared instructional focus, prioritize curricular decisions, increase the rigor of their formative practices, and find time to accomplish what matters most for all of their learners. So much is lost when the design phase is skipped altogether and teams are handed assessments to use.

 

Chapter 6 Delivering New Approaches to Assessment

ePub

6

Delivering New Approaches to Assessment

For teachers to be able to develop new approaches to formative assessment and relate them to different theories of learning, they must be able to investigate and reflect upon their own classroom practices—particularly the way they question and give feedback to students.

Harry Torrance and John Pryor

The use of collaborative common formative assessments happens throughout the instructional process. When teams use small and frequent formative assessments, they can problem solve challenges along the way and reduce the number of students requiring re-engaged learning on the post-side of the summative assessment. During the formative phases of the journey, teams have entered their classrooms to launch instruction based on the diligent preplanning work they have done. In figure 6.1 (page 86), the smaller iterative cycle represents teachers responding directly to what is happening in their classroom.

 

Chapter 7 Examining Data to Improve Learning

ePub

7

Examining Data to Improve Learning

Exploration is the engine that drives innovation.

Edith Widder

If collaborative common assessments are not improving the core of instruction, then they are not working. Assessment must be a diagnostic process that provides teacher and learner alike with clear next steps. In many teams, data-based conversations are stilted formalities in which learners are sorted into groups based on their test results for other experts, such as intervention specialists or gifted and talented specialists, to teach, support, or ultimately fix. The findings of such data meetings are relevant to fixing others, but irrelevant to fixing self. When teams sidestep the opportunity to strengthen the core of their individual and collective knowledge and skills, the learning aspect of professional learning community work is missed altogether. In these teams, data conversations are mechanistic, obligatory, and cumbersome.

 

Chapter 8 Responding With Instructional Agility

ePub

8

Responding With Instructional Agility

Power has to be insecure to be responsive.

Ralph Nader

If collaborative common assessments are not improving the core of instruction, then they are not working. Teachers cannot remain steadfast in their instructional practices while making the learners adapt. Assessment must be a diagnostic process that provides teacher and learner alike with plausible next steps. Sometimes it feels as if organizations collect and display data for the simple reason that it’s expected. Collecting data for the sake of data is a waste of everyone’s precious time and resources. If learning communities are going to take the time to gather data, it must be for the purposes of answering the difficult questions What will we do for the students who have not yet learned it? and What will we do for the students who already have it? Teams must use common assessment data to support their individual and collective mastery, to make program improvements, and to respond in instructionally agile ways.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000056423
Isbn
9781936763016
File size
3.19 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata