Tuesday, September 29, 2015

15 important things to know about formative assessment.

We had Chris Jakicic co-author of Common Formative Assessment visit recently. She provided some excellent insight on Common Formative Assessment (CFA) practices. Below is a list of important things to know regarding formative assessment according to Jakicic. 

1.   Formative assessment is one of the top things teachers can do to improve student learning. The more we formatively assess kids and respond the better it is for their learning. 

2.   You can include multiple learning targets (I can statements) within one CFA.

3.   According to Jakicic, we should target the following when deciding which standards to CFA: 
·        Targets that are difficult or lead to misconceptions.
·        Targets that are prerequisite. 
·        Targets that are most necessary to know.

4.   If it's an essential standard (I can statement) you must reassess. We need to know if the corrective instruction worked or not. When you reassess within standards-based learning, substitute the old grade w/ most recent grade. 

5.   Within a four point standards-based scale kids that fall in the "advanced" category can be given work that they can do without teacher assistance for enrichment.

6.   It is recommended that we use a CFA every three weeks and it is important that we focus on a response to the assessment. Otherwise why use a CFA if you we aren't going to address the data from the assessment and make changes?

7.   We should focus on 1/3rd of the total amount of standards. 

8.   In terms of singleton teachers - vertical teaming may be most appropriate. We don't need to group all four English teachers together and expect them to generate common formative assessments that address grades 7-12. We have very different expectations for grade 7 when compared to grade 12. It might work better to group teachers into smaller groups to develop CFAs. For example: combine the 7-8 English teacher with the 9-10 English teacher. Groups may need to be more fluid. It might be helpful to have teachers "own" certain standards. This would prevent a lot of overlap/review that may occur. 

9.   Formative assessment is when the cook tastes the soup in the kitchen prior to sending out and making adjustments. Summative assessment is when the soup is sent out to the customer for the final taste test. 

10. Students that receive special education or Title I services should be given the assessment at grade level with the proper accommodations. We can't determine whether or not the child is proficient if they are receiving a version that is below grade level. Do all special education/Title I teachers have copies of the learning targets (I can statements)? How well do our tier 3 interventions align with these learning targets? 

11. Write questions at the lowest reading level possible and provide clear concise directions without giving the answer away. Point the way.

12. Assess kids when they are ripe for the assessment and then respond as a team. 

13. When we begin to write our proficiency scales always start with writing the proficiency level first. It is important to realize that you may not always have an advanced level. Sometimes proficiency is as high as the student can achieve. 

14. If using multiple choice for a CFA consider the following: don't use negatives, don't give away the answer, don't use C for the answer all the time, and avoid all of the above and none of the above. 

15. Constructed response may be most appropriate when seeking what the student really knows. 

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