I decided to start this unit based of an NWEA Skills Navigator report. I the data from NWEA Skills Navigator to help guide my initial unit design. I only used this data to see what areas in general my students needed work in and again at the end to see if there was any improvement. It was not to guide my everyday instruction because as a norm reference test it did not cut it in terms of supporting instructional decision (Popham, 2014).
Once realizing my students needed help in plotting points on the coordinate plane with a wide range of abilities among my students, I knew differentiation and the use of assessments were the key to successfully planning this unit. “Teachers’ responsiveness to data is a key factor in determining success (Shores & Chester, 2009, p.39).”
In planning my assessments, I tried to balance what documented student learning or contributed to their learning. According to the Edutopia article Why Is Assessment Important? (2015) assessments should provide diagnostic feedback, help educators set standards, evaluate progress, show students’ progress, and motivate progress. With that being said, I knew I needed a mix of assessments in a given amount of time and I needed to do them more than at the beginning and end of assessments. I also felt it was important students did not feel like all they were doing was assessing and not learning. To do help accomplish this I integrated technology I planned some initial performance assessments that were just short and brief. I was not looking for an extensive assessment, but rather a shorter quiz that contained the key points. However, those were not authentic and did not tell me much more than data to prove my unit was a success. In order to have authentic assessments, I allowed for students to show their work in either a journal response with multiple open-ended options or an informative poster. Also in the journal responses they had the option of recording their voice and emailing it into me. I also wanted to add assessments that helped contribute to their learning and allowed them time to reflect. However, due to a lack of time in a class period I had to make sure they were quick and reflected the daily learning targets. I created short 2-minute student checklist to allow them to reflect on their learning or exit slips in which I assessed their knowledge on how they performed. I also mixed in formal assessments in the form of Kahoot. I found this as a great tool to assess and use as review. I could use the information at the start of class to adjust my instruction. “Formative assessments provide the teacher with practical information used to alter instruction for increased student learning” (Shores & Chester, 2009, p.39). I also plan to assign IXL assignments based from their assessment information. I will further use IXL to assess their learning as this program has built in graphs into the system showing what students are getting what and where they are struggling. This form of assessment is supported by Shores & Chester (2009) who state, “Feedback that is genuine that is related to the stated goal is necessary and can be provided in the forms of graphs clearly illustrating student progress (p.39).” This statement also helped me realize students needed a simple rubric attached to the larger authentic performance assessments that allowed students to self reflect and understand their final grade. So I made a rubric with two columns for entering grades one for the student and one for the teacher.
In this unit I struggled with authentic assessments because I found it hard to relate coordinate geometry to real life. Authentic assessments are important in that they provide multiple solutions for students to demonstrate mastery while allowing them to display their creativity and innovation and are most effective when they resemble real life situation (Burns, 2015). I struggled with this task tremendously because within a week with my specific targeted group, because they are already a struggling group. However, to ensure I was offering multiple solutions I created 3 platforms in which they could turn in their final assessment. One in which was a poster. They were also able to turn in any written work in the form of a voice recording on their computers or phones and turned in via email. To allow students a chance to express their creativity I created open-ended questions that required them to explain their thinking. In example, please explain to your mom in detail everything you have learned about coordinate geometry and how it applies to real-life situations. To tie it to real life I added into the prompt or directions.
Although I ended the unit with authentic teacher and student assessment, I also plan to use NWEA skills navigator to see if any improvements were made. This will only be used for data purposes and nothing more. My goal is to see improvement because I used authentic carefully planned teacher and student assessment. I chose not to use this as an final result as it would be considered a low-stakes test in which it might not show students performance accurately as they were less motivated to show their true knowledge (Samzir, Martinez, Rutherford, Domina, & Conley, 2015).
- YES! I tried to balance the two based on time and effectiveness. I also left time at the end of each unit for short student assessment in the forms of checklists so students could have some self-reflection time.
- I had a mixed of open-ended and closed response. For the most part the closed response were quick reflections in the form of a checklist. This was done to reinforce key points, show what students thought they learned, and allow some reflection time. The open-ended responses were used more for performance projects at the end of the unit.
- My performance assessment is the final project of the unit and it is the key to the unit. Students are given the same assessment at the beginning of unit to see what they know but also as a way to teach them what they need to learn and the procedures to finish the project.
- The grading criteria is very transparent as they are given a rubric in which they are required to self assess before turning in. I kept the rubric simple so that they can be creative and innovative. If students are struggling on daily activities they are allowed to move to a lower level or vise versa using a computer based program.
- They are a combination of both with the majority being low stakes. The high stakes testing will be used just for data purposes only to test the effectiveness of the unit. The low stakes test will be graded –mainly because it is easier to differentiate and easier for students to earn partial credit for their knowledge they have learned.
Edutopia. “Why Assessment is Important?” 2008. Web. <https://www.edutopia.org/assessment-guide-importance>.
Shores, C., & Chester, K. (2009). Using RTI for School Improvement : Raising Every Student’s Achievement Scores. Chapter Two: Selecting and Implementing Ongoing Assessment. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin. Retrieved from: http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2051/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=473693&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_34
Burns, V. (2015). 53 Interesting Ways to Assess Your Students. [N.p.]: Frontinus Ltd. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2051/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1017975&site=ehost-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_Cover on March 19, 2017
James Popham, W. p. (2014). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century Wasted?. Educational Leadership, 71(6), 62-68. Retrieved from: Egan Library http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=94925708&login.asp&site=ehost-live
Simzar, R. M., Martinez, M., Rutherford, T., Domina, T., & Conley, A. M. (2015). Raising the stakes: How students’ motivation for mathematics associates with high- and low-stakes test achievement. Learning and Individual Differences, Vol 39: 49-63. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2066/10.1016/j.lindif.2015.03.002