Week Three
EQ #1: What is Educational Assessment?
The class was split into two groups and given the question "what is educational assessment" to whiteboard out in a format up to the group.



EQ #2: What are the modern characteristics of the educational assessment?
In his book, Payne identifies ten of the more common characteristics of modern educational assessment, including value beyond the assessment, student-constructed response, realistic focus, application of knowledge, multiple data sources, objectives-based and criterion-referenced, reliability, multiple approaches, multidimensional in structure, and multidimensional scores. Using the article "Seven Practices for Effective Learning" by Jay McTighe and Ken O'Connor, each student in the class was assigned one practice to read and identify how the practice exemplified the modern characteristics of assessment OR how the practice could be extended to address the modern characteristics of assessment. Individual work was recorded on the introduction page for the activity.

EQ #3: What role does data take in assessment?

Why Teachers Must be Data Experts?
by Jennifer Morrison

Discussion around the concepts of this article, specifically the three aspects that Morrison says that teachers need to look at to take ownership of data, helped to address the question of what role data plays with assessment. Although the data - assessment connection will be revisited throughout the semester, the idea of an organic approach to data analysis was a great way to start the discussion. The final class activity asked each participant to identify one aspect of the article that “struck a chord” or “stood out” while reading. Various perspectives helped to differentiate what people chose for their sentence(s), and here some examples:
  • Time, Motivation, Etc. - The amount of time that is needed to do something like this. Where does one draw the line? This is always a balancing act of sorts. How do you manage yet what seems like “another task”, or when is their common prep time to discuss data? Perhaps another way to look at this can be “How can I use this to make my job more efficient?” For example, a diagnostic test can help determine what students know before heading into a topic of study. If 85% of the students demonstrate proficiency on that topic through the diagnostic assessment, why continue to spend class time on the content? Small group activities can be incorporated to help the 15% of the students who are lacking the skills, and the class can quickly progress on to the next topic of study, saving time for other areas of the curriculum. What could be a possible way to incorporate time management and the idea of a data notebook?
  • How much sharing do you do? Is sharing class averages too much?
  • Discussing data between teachers – What can you do with your own data? What could you get of discussing data trends with another teacher who is teaching the same subject?
One of the things that I don't recall from the conversation (but I do find interesting) is getting feedback regarding instruction. By eliciting this information from her students, Morrison is able to help strengthen the connection between assessment and instruction.

Weekly Assignments
1. Current Events Article
2. Read pages 82 – 141 & Supplementary articles
3. Blog Post
4. Philosophy of Assessment (A) - Screencast for how to share your Google Doc

Weekly Blog Update
[More to come here shortly]