Student Assessments: at the Elementary School Level

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Student Assessments: at the Elementary School Level by Mind Map: Student Assessments: at the  Elementary School Level

1. 1. Diagnostic

1.1. Definition: Diagnostic assessments (also known as pre-assessments) provide instructors with information about student's prior knowledge and misconceptions before beginning a learning activity. They also provide a baseline for understanding how much learning has taken place after the learning activity is completed.

1.2. Purpose of Assessment: In order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been! Diagnostic assessments allow teachers to gauge where a student’s level of knowledge so that it can be built on at the appropriate level.

1.3. Advantage: Without diagnostic assessments, the teacher could be teaching material that is completely inappropriate based on the students’ level of baseline knowledge. It helps to identify gaps in knowledge that teachers can help fill in. Disadvantage: Implementing diagnostic assessments takes away teaching time that could be used to introduce content.

1.4. Assessment Design: Diagnostic Assessments are “OF” learning in that they do not involve processing or reflecting on learning in a student’s processing of content.

1.5. Example: A “ConcepTest”: ConcepTests are conceptual multiple-choice questions that focus on one key concept of an instructor's learning goals for a lesson. When coupled with student interaction through peer instruction, ConcepTests represent a rapid method of formative assessment of student understanding. Peer instruction introduces the use of conceptual multiple choice questions, ConcepTests, that are initially analyzed by students working alone, and then in a pair or a small group. The effective use of ConcepTests follows a simple five-step protocol that can be readily shortened by instructors to meet the needs of their specific classes. Instructors should also give some thought to how ConcepTests will be assessed in class. When writing a ConcepTest, teachers should consider questions that seek to probe a student's comprehension or application of a concept. Comprehension might involve making a prediction of what would happen in an experiment or how changing one variable would affect others. Application often involves applying rules or principles to new situations or using known procedures to solve problems. (ConcepTests)

2. 2. Formative

2.1. Definition: Formative Assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides for feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.

2.2. Purpose of Assessment: to collect evidence to adjust instruction as needed.

2.3. Advantage: Teachers are able to check for understanding. Also, students may revise their efforts in light of the feedback they have received, and then be assessed and accredited anew. “The achievement gains associated with formative assessment have been described as “among the largest ever reported for educational interventions”. The study carried out by the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) supports these findings. Formative assessment also improves equity of student outcomes. Schools which use formative assessment show not only general gains in academic achievement, but also particularly high gains for previously underachieving students. Attendance and retention of learning are also improved, as well as the quality of students’ work.” (Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms, 2005) Possible Disadvantage: Time taken away from pure instruction.

2.4. Assessment Design: Formative assessments could be both “OF” or “FOR” learning, depending on the type of Formative Assessment implemented, and whether it involves a simple “check for understanding” technique, or if it involves more meta-cognition by the student.

2.5. Example: “A high-school biology teacher frequently reads aloud a prepared biology-related statement, then asks students to hold their hands under their chins and signify whether the statement is true or false by showing a “thumbs-up” for true or a “thumbs-down” for false. Depending on the number of students who respond incorrectly the teacher may have students present arguments for both sides, he may pair students and ask them to discuss the concept further, or he may decide that he needs to present the same concept using a different representation or instructional approach.” (Wylie, 2008)

3. 3. Summative

3.1. Definition: A Summative Assessment is a standardized test is any test that's administered, scored, and interpreted in a standard, predetermined manner. Standardized aptitude tests are designed to make predictions about how a test taker will perform in a subsequent setting. (Popham, 2005)

3.2. Purpose of Assessment: Summative Assessments ask, “which students have reached the top of the scaffolding? These tests hold students and their teachers accountable for meeting required standards. They judge the sufficiency of learning at a particular point in time.” (Stiggins, 2005)

3.3. Advantage: Summative Assessments could provide motivation for students to work hard with the hope of doing well on the assessment. Disadvantage: Summative Assessments may not fully reflect a student’s level of comprehension of a concept or their ability to use the newly learned skill/concept in an authentic way.

3.4. Assessment Design: Summative assessments are “OF” learning in that they do not involve processing or reflecting on learning in a student’s processing of content.

3.5. Example: An end of unit test that involves a combination of multiple choice/essay questions.

4. 4. Performance Based

4.1. Definition: Performance-based Assessment is a way for students to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and material that they've learned. Performance-based assessment measures how well students can apply or use what they know, often in real-world situations.

4.2. Purpose of Assessment: Performance-based Assessment starts with the curriculum, instruction, or unit that you're already teaching. How do you design a performance-based assessment for this content? Since PBA requires students to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and concepts, they are usually asked to create a product or response, or to perform a specific task or set of tasks.

4.3. Advantage: Performance assessment taps into students' higher-order thinking skills, such as evaluating the reliability of information sources, synthesizing information to draw conclusions, or using deductive/inductive reasoning to solve a problem. Possible Disadvantage: Some students will anxiety/other issues could really struggle with this type of assessment.

4.4. Assessment Design: Performance-Based Assessments are “FOR” learning in that students become consumers of assessment information, using evidence of their own progress to understand the concepts.

4.5. Example: An environmental science performance task might require a student to research the impact of fertilizer on local groundwater and then report the results through a public service campaign (like a video, radio announcement, or presentation to a group). (Performance-Based Assessment: Engaging Students in Chemistry, 2015)

5. 5. High Stakes

5.1. Definition: A High-Stakes Assessment is any test used to make important decisions about students, educators, schools, or districts, most commonly for the purpose of accountability—i.e., the attempt by federal, state, or local government agencies and school administrators to ensure that students are enrolled in effective schools and being taught by effective teachers. In general, “high stakes” means that test scores are used to determine punishments (such as sanctions, penalties, funding reductions, negative publicity), accolades (awards, public celebration, positive publicity), advancement (grade promotion or graduation for students), or compensation (salary increases or bonuses for administrators and teachers). (High-Stakes Test, 2014)

5.2. Purpose of Assessment: Scores can be used to hold schools and teachers accountable for providing a high-quality education to all students, including student groups that may have historically underperformed academically or been underserved by schools, such as students who live in high-poverty communities or troubled urban areas, or students of color, students with special needs, and students from low-income households.

5.3. Possible Advantage: As a school-reform mechanism, the use of high-stakes testing is generally motivated by the belief that the promise of rewards or the threat of punishment will motivate and incentivize educators to improve school performance, teaching effectiveness, and student achievement. By attaching rewards and punishments to tests scores, the reasoning goes, students, teachers, and school administrators will take the tests seriously, make personal or organizational changes, and put in the necessary effort to improve scores. “These tests can be administered and scored rapidly and inexpensively, but by their very nature they are not well suited to judging students’ ability to express points of view, marshal evidence, and display other advanced skills.” (Darling Hammond, 2010)

5.4. Disadvantages: “…most nationally standardized achievement tests end up being instructionally insensitive. That is, they're unable to detect improved instruction in a school even when it has definitely taken place. Because of this insensitivity, when students' scores on such tests are used to evaluate a school's instructional performance, that evaluation usually misses the mark…A state's standards-based tests are intended to evaluate schools based on students' test performances, but teachers soon become overwhelmed by too many targets. Educators must guess about which of this multitude of content standards will actually be assessed on a given year's test. Moreover, because there are so many content standards to be assessed and only limited testing time, it is impossible to report any meaningful results about which content standards have and haven't been mastered… Curricular Reductionism: In an effort to boost their students' NCLB test scores, many teachers jettison curricular content that -- albeit important -- is not apt to be covered on an upcoming test. As a result, students end up educationally shortchanged. Excessive Drilling: Because it is essentially impossible to raise students' scores on instructionally insensitive tests, many teachers -- in desperation -- require seemingly endless practice with items similar to those on an approaching accountability test. This dreary drilling often stamps out any genuine joy students might (and should) experience while they learn. Modeled Dishonesty: Some teachers, frustrated by being asked to raise scores on tests deliberately designed to preclude such score raising, may be tempted to adopt unethical practices during the administration or scoring of accountability tests. Students learn that whenever the stakes are high enough, the teacher thinks it's OK to cheat. This is a lesson that should never be taught.” (Popham, 2005)

5.5. Assessment Design: High-Stakes assessments are “OF” learning in that they do not involve processing or reflecting on learning in a student’s processing of content.

5.6. Example: TNReady is Tennessee’s new and improved TCAP test for English language arts and math in grades 3-11, and it replaces the old TCAP tests for those subjects starting in the 2015-16 school year. The TNReady TCAP will provide all of us – educators, parents, and students – with better information about our students’ progress toward college and career readiness. Annual assessments serve as a crucial academic check-up to make sure all students are moving forward. TNReady is designed to assess true student understanding and problem-solving abilities, not just basic memorization skills. Parents and teachers have told us that these are the critical-thinking abilities they want our children to have in order to be successful, lifelong learners. The new test will also be online, which is another important step we are taking to prepare our children for the real-world demands of their futures. (TNReady: Math and ELA)

6. 6. Portfolio

6.1. Definition: A student portfolio is a systematic collection of student work and related material that depicts a student's activities, accomplishments, and achievements in one or more school subjects. The steps: First, the teacher and the student need to clearly identify the portfolio contents, which are samples of student work, reflections, teacher observations, and conference records. Second, the teacher should develop evaluation procedures for keeping track of the portfolio contents and for grading the portfolio... Third, the teacher needs a plan for holding portfolio conferences, which are formal and informal meetings in which students review their work and discuss their progress. Because they encourage reflective teaching and learning, these conferences are an essential part of the portfolio assessment process. (Venn, 2000, p. 540)

6.2. Purpose of Assessment: The collection should include evidence of student reflection and self-evaluation, guidelines for selecting the portfolio contents, and criteria for judging the quality of the work. The goal is to help students assemble portfolios that illustrate their talents, represent their writing capabilities, and tell their stories of school achievement. (Venn, 2000, pp. 530-531)

6.3. Advantages: Promotes student self-evaluation, reflection, and critical thinking. Measures performance based on genuine samples of student work. Provides flexibility in measuring how students accomplish their learning goals. Enables teachers and students to share the responsibility for setting learning goals and for evaluating progress toward meeting those goals. Gives students the opportunity to have extensive input into the learning process. Facilitates cooperative learning activities, including peer evaluation and tutoring, cooperative learning groups, and peer conferencing. Provides a process for structuring learning in stages. Provides opportunities for students and teachers to discuss learning goals and the progress toward those goals in structured and unstructured conferences. Enables measurement of multiple dimensions of student progress by including different types of data and materials. (Venn, 2000, p. 538)

6.4. Disadvantages: Requires extra time to plan an assessment system and conduct the assessment. Gathering all of the necessary data and work samples can make portfolios bulky and difficult to manage. Developing a systematic and deliberate management system is difficult, but this step is necessary in order to make portfolios more than a random collection of student work. Scoring portfolios involves the extensive use of subjective evaluation procedures such as rating scales and professional judgment, and this limits reliability. Scheduling individual portfolio conferences is difficulty and the length of each conference may interfere with other instructional activities. (Venn, 2000, p. 538)

6.5. Assessment Design: Portfolio Assessments are “FOR” learning because it is an instructional intervention designed to increase, not merely monitor, student learning.

6.6. Example: Process and product portfolios represent the two major types of portfolios. A process portfolio documents the stages of learning and provides a progressive record of student growth. A product portfolio demonstrates mastery of a learning task or a set of learning objectives and contains only the best work... Teachers use process portfolios to help students identify learning goals, document progress over time, and demonstrate learning mastery.

7. 7. Authentic

7.1. Definition: A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills - Jon Mueller…Engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field." - Grant Wiggins…Performance assessments call upon the examinee to demonstrate specific skills and competencies, that is, to apply the skills and knowledge they have mastered." - Richard J. Stiggins

7.2. Purpose of Assessment: “On traditional assessments, students are typically given several choices (e.g., a,b,c or d; true or false; which of these match with those) and asked to select the right answer. In contrast, authentic assessments ask students to demonstrate understanding by performing a more complex task usually representative of more meaningful application.” (Mueller, 2014)

7.3. Advantage: It is not very often in life outside of school that we are asked to select from four alternatives to indicate our proficiency at something. Tests offer these contrived means of assessment to increase the number of times you can be asked to demonstrate proficiency in a short period of time. More commonly in life, as in authentic assessments, we are asked to demonstrate proficiency by doing something. Disadvantage: The teacher time involved in planning for the project and in developing the rubric.

7.4. Assessment Design: Authentic Assessments are definitely “FOR” learning in that students demonstrate specific skills and competencies in a real-life way, applying the skills and knowledge they have mastered.

7.5. Example:

8. 8. Self-Assessment

8.1. Definition: Self-assessment requires students to reflect on their own work and judge how well they have performed in relation to the assessment criteria.

8.2. Purpose of Assessment: The focus is not necessarily on having students generate their own grades, but rather providing opportunities for them to be able to identify what constitutes a good (or poor!) piece of work.

8.3. Advantage: Students develop reflective skills provides students with the ability to consider their own performance and to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require improvement. Disadvantage: The teacher time involved in developing the self-reflective tool/rubric. Also, there is a possibility that some students could have a very skewed view of themselves.

8.4. Assessment Design: Self-Assessment involves “FOR” learning in that some degree of student involvement in the development and comprehension of assessment criteria is therefore an important component of self-assessment.

8.5. Example: You could use self-assessment in the form of reflective exercises, such as logs or diaries, or by encouraging your students to assess how well they've met the assessment criteria in more traditional tasks such as essays and presentations. Audits or essay feedback questionnaires that students complete on submitting a piece of coursework are particularly helpful as you can compare your perception of their work with your students' views on how well they have performed. You could use self-assessment in a stand-alone context, or in conjunction with peer assessment. (Engage in Assessment)

9. 9. Peer Assessment

9.1. Definition: Peer assessment involves students taking responsibility for assessing the work of their peers against set assessment criteria.

9.2. Purpose of Assessment: The students are able to self-reflect and get feedback from their peers.

9.3. Advantage: It's a powerful way for your students to act as the 'assessor' and to gain an opportunity to better understand assessment criteria It can also transfer some ownership of the assessment process to them, thereby potentially increasing their motivation and engagement. In doing so, your students might be encouraged to learn more deeply, building up their understanding, rather than just their knowledge of the facts, as well as gaining an insight into their own approach to an assessment task in comparison to their peers. (Engage in Assessment)

9.4. Assessment Design: Peer Assessment involves “FOR” Learning in that it enables students to develop judgement skills, critiquing abilities and self-awareness.

9.5. Example: Each student is given an appointment clock and is required to make an appointment with three other students for discussion later in the lesson. Once all the appointments have been made the teacher begins the lesson, providing information and posing questions that require higher-order thinking about the information. The students are asked to reflect on the information and to answer specific questions. Then the students go to their first appointment and spend approximately 15 minutes sharing their thinking as it relates to one or two of the posed questions. They analyze each other’s responses and come to consensus. As the students work with their partners, the teacher walks around and notes common misunderstandings and gaps in understanding. At the conclusion of the first appointment, the teacher uses the information gained during the informal observations to help redirect thinking, to reinforce ideas, and to provide cues that would help advance their learning. The students then go to their next appointment and class continues in this manner until all appointments have been met and all questions have been discussed. (Wylie, 2008)

10. Sources:

10.1. ConcepTests. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College: Darling Hammond, L. &. (2010). Beyond Basic Skills: The Role of Performance Assessment in Achieving 21st Century Standards of Learning. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education: Engage in Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from University of Reading: Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms. (2005, November). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: High-Stakes Test. (2014, August 18). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from EdGlossary: Mueller, J. (2014). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Performance-Based Assessment: Engaging Students in Chemistry. (2015, June 23). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Edutopia: Popham, W. J. (2005, March 23). Standardized Testing Fails the Exam. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Edutopia: Stiggins, R. (2005, September). Assessment FOR Learning Defined. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Assessment Training Institute: TNReady: Math and ELA. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from TN Department of Education: Venn, J. J. (2000). Assessing students with special needs (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill… Wylie, C. E. (2008). Formative Assessment: Examples of Practice. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Council of Chief State School Officers: