The Friday afternoon English Language Arts session, Adapting and Creating Additional Module Assessments, began with a discussion about why assessments may need to be adapted. Participants talked about their own students and experiences with assessment adaptation. This led to an activity where each participant drew a visual representation (flow chart, symbol, etc.) of their current practices related to creating assessments. Everyone shared their visuals with their table mates and talked about their thinking behind assessment development.
Teachers then participated in a Jigsaw activity which involved the reading, annotating and sharing of various texts. These included items posted on EngageNY.org that are meant to help teachers develop Common Core-aligned assessments. Participants read these texts and annotated for critical components of assessment design as outlined in Expeditionary Learning’s step-by-step process for designing effective assessments (included in NTI materials). They looked specifically at passage selection criteria, selection of authentic texts, NYS item review criteria, and annotated test questions. They then shared their findings with the other members of their groups so that everyone could learn from the assessment design documents. They talked about how relevant the documents are and what they could take away from the documents to use in their own practice. Teachers talked about taking an existing assessment, identifying the standards they are trying to assess, and then cross referencing it to the items in the item review criteria. This gives the documents another purpose; analyzing assessments you have already developed.
Participants then looked at a sample Grade 6 assessment from Module 3A, and identified the key words in three of the assessed standards that determine specifically what students should know, understand, and be able to do. After determining what standards that a teacher wants to assess, they need to find an appropriate text and figure out the type of assessment that would fit best.
Expeditionary Learning included a chart “Target-Method Match” that helps a teacher figure out which type of assessment would be most appropriate for assessing different types of learning targets: Knowledge, Reasoning, and Skills. Once the type of assessment is chosen, the teacher must decide what the task will be, and how to plan the lessons that lead to the assessment. One thing to remember is that if you have to adapt an assessment, you probably have to adapt the lessons leading up to the assessment.
Practice Designing SLO Assessments
Participants worked in pairs and drafted an assessment task based upon a standard to be assessed and chose the most appropriate text(s) for that assessment. They then had to write assessment items for that text and standard. Tables shared their thinking from the entire assessment session using a Back-to-Back Face-to-Face protocol.