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Chapter 10

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10

Standards-Based

Reporting in Action

A standards-based report card identifies the specific learning goals within the curriculum so that the appropriate rigor can be ensured. It also communicates more detailed information about student learning progress with regard to those goals to bring about higher levels of success.

—Thomas R. Guskey and Jane M. Bailey

T

he full transformation to standards-based learning in action culminates with reporting by standards. The move to standards-based reporting is fundamentally optional in that schools could maintain a more traditional reporting construct (such as grades A to F) while changing everything else related to determining those grades. To be clear, however, we think that the final piece in fully transforming to standards-based learning is a move to a more modern, aligned reporting system.

When educators implement standards-based reporting at the school or district level, it is important that they invest the appropriate amount of time in changing teachers’, students’, parents’, and stakeholders’ mindsets first. After establishing those mindsets, then doors to standards-based reporting at the school or district level swing wide open.

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Chapter 3

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3

Formative Assessment in Action

Assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions they would have made in absence of that evidence.

—Dylan Wiliam

A

ssessment in the service of learning continues to be an area of emphasis for teachers striving to optimize student achievement. Classroom assessment is nuanced and contextually sensitive, which makes it a continual part of a teacher’s professional journey, and while reaching a level of expertise is certainly possible for all educators, the journey with classroom assessment practices is never complete.

At its best, teachers use formative assessment to make instructional decisions rather than evaluative ones. The balance between the formative and summative purposes of assessment is akin to the relationship between practice and games, and while doing formative assessment is an essential first step, teachers in a standards-based learning classroom emphasize using assessment results to advance a positive learning trajectory for all students.

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Chapter 6

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6

Self-Assessment in Action

Perhaps the most powerful promise of self-assessment is that it can raise student academic performance by teaching pupils self-regulatory processes, allowing them to compare their own work with socially defined goals and revise accordingly.

—Gavin T. L. Brown and Lois R. Harris

U

ltimately, a culture of learning places the learner at the center of the assessment experience. Because assessment is the process determining the discrepancy between where students are versus where they need to be, selfassessment means the students are doing this for themselves. Self- and peer assessment ultimately result in active learners who are invested in their learning to the point of self-direction, rather than being passive recipients to what teachers have to say about what comes next in the learning.

Moving From Rationale to Action

The latest research about self- and peer assessment lays the foundation so teachers can put the subsequent strategies into action. Most teachers recognize the importance of developing students’ self- and peer assessment skills—that through self- and peer assessment, students become more intimately involved and more invested in their learning. That said, the process of developing students’ skills at recognizing the discrepancies between where they are and where they need to be may take some time.

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Chapter 7

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7

Summative

Assessment in Action

The accuracy of summative judgments depends on the quality of the assessments and the competence of the assessors.

—Connie M. Moss

A

n essential part of a balanced approach to classroom assessment is the verification that learning has occurred. The summative purpose of assessment is to make an overall judgment of achievement in a specific area of learning at a specific moment in time. The ways in which teachers report achievement and other important aspects can vary and evolve (such as moving away from traditional letter grades), but educators will certainly always need to verify, synthesize, and report student achievement. Standards-based learning environments have teachers refocus grades to be only about achievement, deferring all other aspects—attitude, work ethic, citizenship, responsibility, respect—to separate criteria and processes.

We can divide summative assessment into two somewhat independent processes: grading and reporting. This chapter focuses on the grading piece, which is essentially the act of making an overall determination of achievement; in this sense, grading is a verb that doesn’t necessarily result in the exclusive use of a letter or symbol to communicate achievement levels.

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Chapter 5

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5

Meaningful

Homework in Action

The range of complaints about homework is enormous, and the complaints tend . . . toward extreme, angry, often contradictory views.

—Brian Gill and Steven Schlossman

F

ew aspects of schooling rival homework in terms of multiple perspectives and definitive opinions. While some lament the very idea, others believe there is a place to extend learning beyond the school day. This chapter’s purpose is not to stake out a position on one side. Rather, we present a more productive, meaningful approach to homework should teachers decide it is a necessary part of the standards-based learning experience. Students’ age and stage of development undoubtedly play an essential role in teachers’ decisions about the role of homework, which means they must contextualize the ideas we put forth in this chapter to determine the applicability for each teacher’s classroom.

Moving From Rationale to Action

Because homework practices, strategies, tasks, and responses can vary so widely, homework is essentially a neutral practice that will either contribute to or take away from students’ learning experiences based on how teachers utilize it. The latest research about homework lays the foundation so teachers can put the subsequent strategies into action to make it meaningful. Because there are many diverse

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