Teacher’s Assessment for learning: teachers using what they know to assess themselves

Submitted by: Bruce Becker, Jenny George Diane Janzen, Stacey Harker, & Nathaniel SwiresTeacher’s Assessment for learning: teachers using what they know to assess themselves

Aligning curriculum with standards and assessing for learning are main focuses in the professional development of modern teachers (Stiggins n.d.). The primary focus of this training and professional development has been the improvement of feedback to and learning for students in schools (Chappuis & Stiggins, 2002). Teachers, themselves, however, have been left on the sidelines. While many teachers have been trained to use 21st Century and assessment for learning, they have not been the beneficiaries of such instruction themselves. Teachers have not had the opportunity to learn in the same manner as their students (Vaill, 1996).

Engaging teachers in assessing themselves

It is our contention that assessing and evaluating assessment practices of teachers is an important and sometimes overlooked practice of administrators. While teachers are asked to improve, they are left guessing what it is great teaching looks like. They are left to wonder exactly what it is they are supposed to do to improve themselves. Therefore, we contend that feedback should not only be well formulated and constructive, but should also provide clear guidance for growth. In essence, teachers need a rubric to guide them in their development (Chappuis, Commodore, & Stiggins, 2010).

The assessment process

Starting from a theoretical and philosophical base of constructivism and embracing the use of a deliberation model (Ornstein & Hunkins, 2009, p.41), our team has constructed a rubric (Table 1)  to be used with teachers to help guide them improve their teaching. The information contained within it is a synthesis of research conducted by our team (Broweder, Spooner, & Wakeman, 2006; Chappuis & Stiggins, 2002; Hussey & Smith, 2002; Porter, et al., 2007). Nevertheless, Table 1 should not be seen as a stand alone item, but as part of a cyclical process encouraging teacher’s professional development. The process includes the following:

  1. pre-assessment of teachers: assessing & developing context for curriculum assessment
  2. self-reflection/assessment as learning: teachers use the rubric individually
  3. collection of rubrics/data (Bodring & Berends, 2009)
    1. unpacking the rubric data
    2. disaggregation of results
    3. setting SMART goals
  4. assessment for learning: working with individuals and teams to address areas of need
    1. professional development is provided
    2. mentorship opportunities are provided
  5. reviewing results and renewal of process.

The above process should not be unfamiliar to modern teachers as it is the assessment for learning model.

Further explanation of the process available

Table 1 evaluates all areas we feel are important for the growth of teachers and areas administrators can help them with using the process outlined above. Its place in achieving assessment balance and opening up a dialogue between school administrators and their staff to facilitate school improvement is further explained within our presentation at: http://prezi.com/ifef1wjemsdf/reflectors-prezi-assignment-two-570/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy .

Conclusion

Teaching has long been perceived as a solitary profession: the teacher working alone in his or her classroom without interference from outside:

Teaching is a solitary profession.  Teachers spend most of their time isolated in classrooms with their students (Anderson 2004, 114).  As Shulman (2004a, 505) argues, there is probably more, and indeed a distinctive wisdom about teaching among practising teachers than there is among academic educators.  Yet, this wisdom is isolated and unvoiced.  Teachers work in lonely circumstances and it is difficult for them to articulate what they know and to share what they have learned with others (Tonna & Calleja, 2010).

It is our hope to break down such isolationism and to not only provide teachers with an opportunity to engage in real, meaningful professional development in the context of a learning community, but also to work as a collective – to tap into the wisdom among practising teachers. To that end, we have developed Table 1 which will enable teachers to reflect upon their own practise, to visualize areas they feel they need to improve upon, and to have a document with which they can open up a dialogue with their administrators and fellow teachers about meaningful, personalized professional development. The last could either be developed in the context of individualized learning with a mentor, or with a group of like teachers working together to improve a particular skill.

Recommendations

It is recommended that administrators be well versed in the process of assessment for, as, and of learning before proceeding with the deployment and use of our strategy. A misunderstanding of the proper balance and use of assessment could have serious negative consequences. We recommend reading Assessment balance and quality: An action guide for school leaders (Chappuis, Commodore & Stiggins, 2010) and watching the videos listed in Appendix 1 for further information.

References

Bodring, E. and Berends, M. (2009). Leading with data: Pathways to improve your school. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Broweder, P. M., Spooner, F., & Wakeman, S. (2006). Aligning instruction with academic standards: Finding the link. Research and practices for persons with sever disabilities, 31(4), TASH Publishing. Pp 309–321.

Chappuis, S., Commodore, C., & Stiggins, R.J. (2010). Assessment balance and quality: An action guide for school leaders, (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon Part 4 pp 138 – 199

Chappuis, S., & Stiggins, R. (2002). Classroom assessment for learning. Educational Leadership, 60(1), ASCD. Pp 40–43. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://hssdnewteachers.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/50394085/Classroom.Assessment.for.Learning.Chappuis.pdf

Hussey, T., & Smith, P. (2002). The trouble with learning outcomes. Active learning in higher education, 3(3), 220–233. doi:10.1177/1469787402003003003

Ornstein, A. C., & Hunkins, F. P. (2009) Curriculum: Foundations, principles and issues (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Chapters 6 – 8 inclusive

Porter, A. C., Msithson, J., Balnk, R., & Zeidner, T. (2007). Alignment as a teacher variable. Applied measurement in education, 20(1), Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. pp 27–51.

Stiggins, R. (n.d.). Assessment crisis: The absence of assessment for learning. Ed Tech Policy. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://beta.edtechpolicy.org/CourseInfo/edhd485/AssessmentCrisis.pdf

Tonna, M., & Calleja, C. (2010). The let me learn professional learning process experience: A new culture for professional learning. Revista de Ciencies de l’Educacio, 35–54.

Vaill, P. (1996). Learning as a way of being: Strategies for survival in a world of permanent white water. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

Table 1
Self-evaluative/Evaluative Teacher’s Rubric
Balance Alignment of achievement targets with standards  Assessment for learning Clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data Ethical (appropriate) reporting of student achievement data Appeal to multiple learning styles / cultural context Identifies learning outcome
Beginning Pre-assessment is missing or is minimally done.Assessment types are skewed in favour of a one or another; and/or either one or more types of assessment (of, for, as) are missing from the classroom. 

Confusion remains about how classroom assessment is linked to either interim or annual assessment.

 

The teacher cannot articulate the need for one or more types of assessment.

There is a general knowledge of provincial, curricular, grade level, district and school standards and targets.Training, support and time is lacking and as a result there is a challenge in transferring this knowledge into everyday teaching. 

There is the beginning of a process to align the standards with the curriculum so the written curriculum = taught curriculum. (e.g. in B.C. this would be the knowledge of the district’s achievement contracts and school plans).

Students occasionally mark their own work (usually objective questions) but do not discuss the results or make a concrete plan for improvement or further inquiry.Teacher records marks and may refine test questions but does not analyze the difference between what was taught and what was learned in order to inform future lesson plans. 

It is not clear whether student learning has been enhanced by this assessment.

Work is graded with little or no discussion about what has been learned and why it was assessed.Student behavior can significantly influence grades. 

Formative and summative evaluation are not distinguished in final grade.

 

Students and parents have an idea about how well the student is performing but little understanding of why the student achieved a grade.

 

Grades have been assigned, but it is not clear whether student learning has been enhanced by this assessment.

Students and parents or guardians are not informed or included in conversations about assessments given, the reasons for the assessment, and what the results will be used for.Large-scale assessments are used as an end result, with teaching focused on test success rather than learning the underpinning objectives 

Student privacy in regards to assessments is not maintained

 

Teachers display inappropriate test-moderating

behaviours, including unethical support for students during assessments

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classroom assessment is done in a ‘one size fits all’ approach or the teacher does not know how to accommodate various learning styles or cultural assessment.The teacher cannot articulate the differences between various learning styles or between the majority/minority cultural context he/she finds him/herself in.Phrases such as: this is how we did/do it in (Canada/Vancouver) are used to justify a lack of adaptability to local student needs.

 

The teacher does not understand or is aware of the lesson’s learning outcomes.Students are not aware of the lesson’s learning outcomes. 

The learning outcomes are not evident during the lesson.

 

The purpose of the lesson is not clear causing lack of student involvement, interest, or improvement.

 

Balance Alignment of achievement targets with standards  Assessment for learning Clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data Ethical (appropriate) reporting of student achievement data Appeal to multiple learning styles / cultural context Identifies learning outcome
Developing Some pre-assessment is present or attempted, but  pre-assessment is not utilized well or at all. Confusion on using data may be present.Some balance between assessment types is seen; different levels of assessment are beginning to be linked together to form a cohesive unit; and the teacher can articulate the needs of some types and levels of assessment. There is a more comprehensive understanding of all provincial, district and school targets.Teacher able to convey targets and linkages to curriculum to students and parents so they understand what students are expected to achieve. 

Developing proficiency in aligning curriculum with standards; teacher has been provided with some support, professional development and time to develop this capacity.

 

Curriculum alignment to standards evident in the classroom; it is clear testing is linked to teaching, other testing, writing and learning. Students do not say “we never covered that in our course.”

 Students take part in peer evaluation but are often unable to provide meaningful feedback.The teacher is responsible for “real” evaluation. 

The teacher may attempt the use of rubrics with students, but uses them more as scoring guides than as learning tools; the teacher may not understand the difference between a scoring guide and a rubric.

 

 

Results are discussed with students but assessment data is not shared with greater school community except in report cards.Grades reflect academicachievement more than behavior.

 

Formative assessment is graded but summative evaluation is weighted much more heavily.

 

Students and parents have an idea about how well the student is performing and some understanding of why the student achieved a grade.

 

 

Students and parents or guardians are partially aware  of the assessments given, the reasons for the assessment, and what the results will be used for.Large-scale assessments are used as a tool for improving learning, although some focus on ‘teaching to the test’ occurs. 

Student privacy in regards to assessments is generally maintained

 

Teachers generally display appropriate test-moderating

behaviours, although students may occasionally receive extra support or attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some understanding of the local environment is shown and the teacher is attempting to adapt materials, but confusion over how best to do this may be present.Frustration with either Ministry standards or local ability to meet them may be present. 

The teacher is searching for understanding of how to implement glocal knowledge, but may not be able to articulate it.

The learning outcomes are being taught but students may not know the purpose of the lesson.The student has a general idea of the learning outcomes but can not pinpoint the larger learning goals 
Balance Alignment of achievement targets with standards  Assessment for learning Clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data Ethical (appropriate) reporting of student achievement data Appeal to multiple learning styles / cultural context Identifies learning outcome
Fluent The teacher assesses students prior to teaching and incorporates data into instructional practices.Proper balance between assessment types for, as, and of learning. 

Annual, interim, and classroom assessments are linked together to form a cohesive whole.

 

Teacher can articulate the need for each level and type of assessment.

 

Balance has enhanced student learning

Written curriculum is fully implemented; intentionally and effectively aligned with provincial standards.Prioritization of learning standards occurs; standards are deconstructed into the class-room level; what is taught = what is learned = what is tested = what is written. 

High quality curriculum is balanced (knowledge, reasoning, skill, product) with a variety of assessments.

 

Students and parents understand completely what is expected in the course.

 

Alignment of achievement targets with standards has enhanced student learning.

Students are involved in the assessment process.Formative assessment leads to learning relevant for summative assessment. 

Students are involved in analysis of academic challenges they are facing through self-marking, peer assessment, and teacher feedback.

 

 

Teachers give descriptive feedback about achievement.

 

Students can identify success and can thereby define their achievement.

 

Students understand how to self-assess.

 

Student learning has been enhanced by this assessment.

Student achievement data is clearly linked to PLOs.Student achievement data clearly communicates what a student is/not learning. 

Grades inform curriculum development; reflect academic achievement.

 

Formative assessment is used for learning and leads to summative grading.

 

Students and parents have a clear idea about how well the student is performing and why the student achieved a grade.

 

Student learning has been enhanced by clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data

Students; parents or guardians are fully aware of the assessments given, the reasons for the assessment, and what the results will be used for.Large-scale assessments are used as a tool for improving learning, and students are appropriately prepared through learning activities. 

Student privacy is fully maintained with a strong privacy policy.

 

Teachers consistently display appropriate test-moderating

behaviours, maintaining professional ethics.

 

Ethical reporting of student achievement data has enhanced student learning

 

Glocal thinking is evident; teacher fully understands the requirements of the Ministry of Ed. and applies them in such a way as to be accepted by the local community.Different assessment types provided to all students to procure full picture of student mastery of material. 

Appeal to multiple learning styles / cultural context has enhanced student learning

 

Teacher identifies clear learning outcomes, targets, and goals.Students understand what they are supposed to learn; they are aware of learning outcomes and how they relate to learning targets. 

Both the student and the teacher have a clear idea of the overall learning goals and their meaning.

 

Teacher &students understand the purpose of  lessons that allow for increased involvement, interest, and improved learning.

 

Identification of learning outcomes has enhanced student learning

Balance Alignment of achievement targets with standards  Assessment for learning Clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data Ethical (appropriate) reporting of student achievement data Appeal to multiple learning styles / cultural context Identifies learning outcome
Teacher’s self-assessment comments
Principal’s assessment comments How is balance being achieved? How are achievement targets being aligned with standards? In what ways does the teacher excel? In what ways does the teacher excel? In what ways is the teacher using/not using testing data ethically or appropriately? How are multiple learning styles and/or cultural contexts being taken into account? Were the learning outcomes evident?
Note. This rubric is four pages long. It is essential that all four pages be used together so as to promote positive self-reflection and learning amongst teachers.Ideas for this rubric are borrowed from: Chappuis, S., Commodore, C., & Stiggins, R.J. (2010).  Assessment balance and quality: An action guide for school leaders (3rd ed.).  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Appendix 1: Recommended Resources

Balanced Assessment

Burke, K. (2010). Balanced assessment: From formative to summative. Hawker Brownlaw Education.

Stiggins, R. (n.d.-b). Rick Stiggins differentiates Asessement Of & For Learning. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDVHuHyCGmg

Alignment of Achievement Targets with Standards

Broweder, P. M., Spooner, F., & Wakeman, S. (2006). Aligning instruction with academic standards: Finding the link. Research and practices for persons with sever disabilities, 31(4), TASH Publishing. Pp 309–321.

Porter, A. C., Msithson, J., Balnk, R., & Zeidner, T. (2007). Alignment as a teacher variable. Applied measurement in education, 20(1), Routledge Taylor and Francis Group. Pp 27–51.

Assessment for Learning

Chappuis, S., & Stiggins, R. (2002). Classroom assessment for learning. Educational Leadership, 60(1), ASCD. Pp 40–43. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://hssdnewteachers.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/50394085/Classroom.Assessment.for.Learning.Chappuis.pdf

From formative assessment to assessment for learning: A path to success in standards based schools. (2005) Phil Delta Kappan Vol 87 No 4. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20441998?uid=3739400&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21102638713737

Stiggins, R. (n.d.). Assessment crisis: The absence of assessment for learning. Ed Tech Policy. Retrieved september 21, 2013, from http://beta.edtechpolicy.org/courseinfo/edhd485/assessmentcrisis.pdf

 

Clear reporting and sharing of student achievement data

Data driven decision making: Making student and school data accessible and meaningful to families
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF-UPuEMyS8&list=SPE15FE29AE6529A6A

Ethics

Hussey, T., & Smith, P. (2002). The trouble with learning outcomes. Active learning in higher education, 3(3), 220–233. doi:10.1177/1469787402003003003

The foundation skills assessment annual elementary school rankings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qGjua7nWgw

Identifies Learning Outcomes:

Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, October 1996, Vol 32. Issue 3. pp. 347

Learning styles and cultural context

Campbell-Whatley, Dr. G., Kea, C., and Richards, Dr. H. (2006), Becoming a culturally responsive educator: rethinking teaching education pedagogy. Retrieved from http://www.nccrest.org/Briefs/Teacher_Ed_Brief.pdfdgy.

Culturally Responsive Teaching
http://www.slideshare.net/JuicyUniverse.com/culturally-responsive-teaching#btnNext

Felder, R. M. & Spurlin, J. (2005).  Applications, reliability and validity of the index of learning styles. International Journal of Education, Vol. 21. No. 1 pp. 103 – 112.

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLLVYx0IPPU

Howard Gardner: Five minds for the future at the Ross Institute
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRUN1F4rWA

Learning styles: The VAK model, Visual Auditory and Kinesthetic Learners
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX0teReijUk

Learning styles: Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYgO8jZTFuQ

 

 

 

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