Chapter 12 Using Technology for Assessing and Evaluating Student Learning and Instructional Practices Chapter Outline • Authentic Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes • Developing a District- or School-Level Assessment System • Curriculum Mapping • Developing an Assessment System • Scoring Guides (Rubrics) • Standards-Based Scoring Guides • Tools for Implementing Authentic Assessments • Electronic Portfolios • Quiz or Survey Tools • Spreadsheets Chapter Questions • What does a leader need to emphasize for curriculum mapping to serve as the foundation for developing a comprehensive assessment system? • What are the professional development opportunities a leader should use to enhance and support knowledge and skills in relation to the curriculum mapping process and a locally developed assessment system? • How can leaders help others understand that rubrics are explicitly tied to academic standards and objectives and can be used to provide individual as well as aggregate feedback regarding knowledge and skills? Chapter Questions, con’t • How can leaders help others seek out commercial as well as freely available tools for use in managing and implementing curriculum mapping and assessment processes? • What are the skills leaders need to leverage technology for collecting, aggregating, and reporting assessment data for locally developed assessment systems? Authentic Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes Neill and colleagues (2004) state that schools and districts should be responsible for assessing the extent to which students learn agreed-upon knowledge (i.e., academic standards) at both a conceptual and an application level. Standardized tests offer one means of assessment. However, a more complete picture of student learning can be seen when a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods that directly align to academic standards is included in a school, district, and/or state assessment system. Developing a District- or School-Level Assessment System As educators, we look to state or national grade-level standards to guide our efforts in curriculum mapping—the first part of the assessment system process—and assessment planning. Developing a school- or district-level assessment system starts with curriculum mapping. Curriculum Mapping (1) Creating the curriculum map by asking teachers to document month by month the overarching elements of the actual curriculum being taught (2) Reviewing the curriculum map to identify instructional gaps and overemphasized academic standards (3) Determining immediate and long-term solutions to addressing instructional gaps and overemphasized academic standards Developing an Assessment System An assessment system benefits students and teachers by using multiple measures, including qualitative measures, to view student achievement levels both individually and at aggregate levels (i.e., class, school, or district, depending on which levels are included in the assessment system). These comprehensive data, which can include standardized test results, allow teachers to identify student and class strengths and weaknesses and adapt instruction accordingly. One qualitative measure that can be used is authentic assessments. Documenting Alignment (1) Alignment between assessments and standards should be explicit. (2) Number of assessments should be manageable. (3) Assessments should be feasible to implement; when possible, common assessments should be created that can be used by multiple teachers of the same grade level within a school or district. (4) Data collection should be streamlined using scoring guides or rubrics and electronic means for storing, aggregating, and reporting data. (5) Multiple methods including both qualitative and quantitative assessments should be included. Scoring Guides (Rubrics) • Is your assessment system fair? • Is your assessment instrument accurate? • Does your assessment instrument produce consistent results? • How well do your data reflect the characteristics of all your students (free of bias)? Rubrics and English Language Learners The underlying premise for building a rubric is to improve student learning. By clarifying objectives via a rubric, teachers are providing students with a “road map” to where they are going in relation to academic standards or learning objectives. This is good practice for all students but is especially helpful for English language learners or other learners who are struggling with comprehending class materials and instructions. However, new instructional strategies often need to be taught, so it is important to provide rubrics to students consistently over the course of an academic year so they become more aware of the type of information the rubric is communicating and how to best use the assignment rubric as a tool for meeting expectations and self-evaluating their own work. Tools for Implementing Authentic Assessments Locally developed assessments tied to academic standards provide a means for collecting assessment data that can provide individual feedback to a student as well as aggregate (e.g., class or grade-level) data to teachers and school administrators. The key to developing an assessment system is that it must be manageable and assessment instruments must be feasible to implement. Leveraging technology for collecting, aggregating, and reporting assessment data creates a more manageable and feasible approach to a locally developed assessment system. Electronic Portfolios One of the most exciting developments in the school reform movement is the use of alternative forms of assessment to evaluate student learning, and one of the most popular forms of authentic assessment is the use of portfolios. The point of the portfolio is to provide a “richer picture” of a student’s abilities, and to show growth over time. (Barrett, 2002, p. 7) Electronic Portfolios Issues for School Leaders (1) Mechanisms for financing, managing, & implementing the selected tool(s) (2) Privacy issues related to student identity & work (3) Professional development opportunities for teachers (4) Potential interface of tools with existing grading systems, school Web sites, and/or course management systems (5) Ability to develop scoring rubrics that reference academic standards (6) Capacity to generate useful reports aggregating data from common assessments at a class, grade, school, and/or district level (7) Ability for students to maintain, expand, and enhance an electronic portfolio over time to demonstrate growth as well as use for purposes such as seeking employment, support for scholarship or other leadership opportunities, & admissions to college Quiz or Survey Tools Web-based quiz or survey tools can be used in multiple ways to collect assessment data. In a traditional sense, they can be used to administer locally developed classroom tests. Quiz tools often have the option to automatically grade multiple-choice, multipleanswer, true-or-false, and fill-in-the-blank items. More sophisticated tools provide the option for immediate feedback to learners. Data are exported in a spreadsheet format for easy review of individual as well as overall class results. Key Principles for Leaders to Know 1. Curriculum mapping serves as the foundation for developing a comprehensive assessment system. 2. Professional development opportunities should be used to enhance and support knowledge and skills in relation to the curriculum mapping process and a locally developed assessment system. 3. Rubrics that are explicitly tied to academic standards and objectives can be used to provide individual as well as aggregate feedback regarding knowledge and skills. Key Principles for Leaders to Know, con’t 4. Seek out commercial as well as freely available tools for use in managing and implementing curriculum mapping and assessment processes. 5. Leverage technology for collecting, aggregating, and reporting assessment data for locally developed assessment systems.