This module focused on the need for sound design when creating assessments. According to Chappuis, Stiggins, Chappuis, & Arter (2012), “Assessment methods should closely match with the kind of learning target to be assessed and the intended use of the information” (p. 89). The four types of assessment methods include: selected response, written response, performance assessment, and personal communication (Chappuis et al., 2012, p. 88-89). In my own experience, I have learned that often multiple types of assessment are required for determining a student’s level of understanding. For example, when teaching students addition with regrouping, my team implements multiple types of assessment including written response, performance assessment, and personal communication.
The assessments are connected with the learning targets and show student progress. Each assessment models the format I use for instruction and guided practice so students are clear about the skills needed to meet the targets. The pre-assessment matches the summative assessment. Both expect students to line up the problem vertically, add accurately, and regroup when needed. Formative assessments were used to determine next steps for instruction. Each student received guided and independent practice. First, students had to show the conceptual model on the place value mat by lining up the blocks according to place and regrouping the blocks when needed. Students then applied this model to the algorithm. This is an example of a performance assessment. Chappuis et al. (2012) states, “Performance assessment is used to judge demonstrations, and products, or artifacts, that students create” (p. 90-91). Students were asked to explain how the model on the place value mat matched the algorithm. Once students were able to explain, they solved the algorithm without the place value mat and blocks. After students completed the problem, they were asked to explain how and why they regrouped. This artifact FormativeExample1 shows three examples of students’ work and the interview notes I took as the students completed the problems and explained their thinking. The interviews are examples of personal communication assessments. Chappuis et al. (2012) states, “Personal communication is when we find out what students have learned through structured and unstructured interactions with them” (p.91). This artifact FormativeExample2 is another example of a formative assessment that connected to the target because the students had to solve the problem correctly and explain in writing if they needed to regroup. This method of assessment is written response. Chappuis et al. (2012) explains that written response allows teachers to not only determine if students know the correct answer, but also how students know. This minimizes students getting the right answer for the wrong reason (p. 95). This often happens when teaching regrouping because students have learned a trick for regrouping but don’t conceptually understand how place value is used to determine where and why numbers need to be regrouped.
When teaching regrouping it was important that both written response and personal communication were a part of the process to help students develop conceptual understanding. According to Chappuis et al. (2012), “Personal communication leads to immediate insights about student learning, they can reveal misunderstandings and trigger timely corrective action. When interviewing students, these types of questions help me understand student’s thinking: “Why did you line the digits up that way? Do you need to regroup? Why or why not? When you regrouped your 15 ones how did you decide to move the 1 to the tens place instead of 5?” If students are not able to explain each step they may have difficulty with larger numbers and subtraction with regrouping. When students are asked to explain each step they are learning to problem solve. Students realize they made an error because they aren’t sure how to explain and go back to the place value mat to try again. Students use critical thinking to progress toward the target because they have to explain their thinking, what they learned and what doesn’t make sense.
In addition to creating assessment with sound design and grading students based on content standards, teachers also have to determine performance standards. According to O’Connor (2009), Performance standards are used to determine reference points or “how good is good enough?” (p. 65). Standards may be based on criterion, tacit knowledge, written description, or key examples (O’Connor, 2009, p. 66). I think using rubrics in the classroom can be a helpful tool in making performance standards explicit. Rubrics combine teachers’ tacit knowledge with written description. Teachers can determine the levels of student performance and present it in written description so it is clear to the students. I think rubrics help both the student and teacher connect the assessment to the learning goals. In my technology course, the resource, rubistar, http://rubistar.4teachers.org/, was shared. This is a resource available to help teachers with formatting and creating rubrics.
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