Education Assessments
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Common-Assessment Groups Differ on Accommodations - Education Week News

Common-Assessment Groups Differ on Accommodations - Education Week News | Education Assessments | Scoop.it
Education Week News Common-Assessment Groups Differ on Accommodations Education Week News The differing decisions highlight that, notwithstanding the technological advances the two consortia are making in the assessment of special populations,...
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This article is about new computer-based testing systems that are being created by two different state groups: Partnership for Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The overall goal is to make the tests more inclusive for students with all different kinds of accommodations. However, each group has differences in how they believe the tests should be administered. For example, SBAC says that the read-aloud accommodation should not be available to students below 6th grade, and PARCC says that they should. PARCC is planning on marking the test scores with a note saying that "no claims should be inferred regarding the student's ability to demonstrate foundational reading skills (i.e., decoding and fluency)," while SBAC thinks this is inappropriate. Overall, I am excited by the idea of groups competing to make the best assessment system possible, because that means they will both work hard to make sure what they are creating is effective and efficient. I also like the increased use of technology this is invoking in schools. Living in the 21st century, students should be exposed more to the technologies that we use everyday to prepare them for contributing to this reality.

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Teachers blame study habits, grading policies for Montgomery math failures

Teachers blame study habits, grading policies for Montgomery math failures | Education Assessments | Scoop.it
Survey shows that teachers in high-achieving district also believe grading policies play a role in high failure rate.
Jacob Sacks's insight:

I have heard about this problem for awhile now, ever since last year's final exam scores in Montgomery County became public.  Reading about the teachers' responses to why they think this is happening was sadly not surprising. If you ask any teacher in most public high school, they will tell you that many of these same problems occur in their schools as well. The final encompasses too much material and too many details. This points to the same thing the teachers from Kentucky were saying in the other study I curated earlier. While I still believe it is possible to run a classroom where students can explore math and can learn in a creative fashion, seeing all of these teachers from different areas in the country feeling so constrained concerns me a lot. I'm worried I will become one of those teachers who starts off wanting to be an awesome teacher and have an awesome class, but end up just teaching to the test after a couple of years. I hope enough changes take place in the next few years so I can actually try using the strategies I learn in my education classes.

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Different Middle School Assessments

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While I had heard of the different types on non-test assessments this article discusses, I was pretty surprised to learn about new types of tests that can actually be beneficial in a classroom. In my education classes, professors will talk about straying away from tests when possible, because they do not assess understanding well, which I have agreed with for the most part until now. Everything about having students create their own products, like portfolios and presentations, are things I have heard for the most part in my other education classes. However, I have never heard of the types of tests that they discussed in this article. I liked the fact-finding test in concept, but I worry that students would just read and write answers straight from the cards. As an aspiring math teacher, the hands-on test sounded perfect for a geometry unit, relating different shapes to one another. I hope to keep these ideas in mind when deciding how to assess my students!

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Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools - Education Week News

Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools - Education Week News | Education Assessments | Scoop.it
Education Week News
Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools
Education Week News
In recent months, performance assessment has become a hot topic in education.

Via Teach n' Kids Learn
Jacob Sacks's insight:

I love this idea of performance assessment as a way to vary how we assess students. It emphasizes the processes and methods the student is using, instead of if they guess the right answer when given four choices. It seems to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of the student's comprehension of the material. The only problems I see are the ones mentioned in the article; these tests are time-consuming and teachers need a lot of training to use them effectively. While not all schools have the resources to train teachers in how to use performance assessments, I think schools can learn about them and create similar assessments that also focus more on the process and less on the answer. As I read this article, I noticed it focused entirely on elementary school testing, and I thought a lot about if this is applicable in middle or secondary education. I think the idea of performance assessments can work for all ages, but it might be too time-consuming for high school teachers to use. High school teachers are told to cover a lot of material, and testing each student on an individual level like this might take too long. Teachers may also be hesitant to put in that much effort in assessing students when they can just give them a multiple choice test and have the Scantron machine assess the students instead. Overall, I think performance assessments are a push in the right direction, but there are some details that need to still be figured out to optimize this system.

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What Does Passing Look Like?

What Does Passing Look Like? | Education Assessments | Scoop.it
"So what IS a passing grade?"
That question at a recent team assembly of sixth graders, teachers, and support staff brought the discussion to a complete halt. The inquiry by a young lady with braids, braces, and Hello Kitty backpack was not meant to be humorous or disrespectful, but rather an honest plea by a learner trying to make sense of the transition between elementary school expectations and middle level grading standards.
Some background:
In Hawaii’s public elementary ...
Jacob Sacks's insight:

I never truly understood how much averaging grades can skew someone's grade until I read this article. This article really makes it clear to me that averaging grades (when assessments are graded 0-100) does not represent a student's understanding well at all. I was especially surprised because I love math and did not notice how clearly the math shows that a mean grade is not a good representative of how a student is doing in a class. While I like the alternative the article suggests by grading on a 1-4 scale, I will also try to evaluate each student individually and see how they are progressing and demonstrating their knowledge and understanding. In my opinion, two students can get the same grades on assessments throughout the year, but one may show a better understanding overall, may be improving more over time, or may be working harder than the other. Even taking the mean of grades on a 1-4 scale don't necessarily show that.

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Beyond Today's Assessments

Beyond Today's Assessments | Education Assessments | Scoop.it
For years, teachers have rightly complained that tests encourage them to focus on a narrow set of knowledge and skills rather than the broader set of abilities they know their students need. Now, however, the testing world is about to undergo the biggest transformation in a generation, and the result is likely to be higher-quality tests that measure what truly matters.
Last month, I noted that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics have been adopted ...
Jacob Sacks's insight:

This article discusses the new tests that are being developed that are supposed to be better at assessing students' understanding of the content and how to utilize it in a meaningful way. They will have to "demonstrate their analytical and problem-solving abilities." I like the direction this is going, especially because this will force teachers to teach in a much more meaningful way for the students, and not allow teachers to teach to the test. I think this fits in very well with the last article I read about different types of middle level assessments, because those assessments also engage students to use higher-level thinking, and using those in the classroom would prepare the students well for these new assessments that will hopefully become common across America. My only concern is the same concern many teachers have now with regards to standardized tests; no matter how good the test is, many schools and many students (within the same grade) are at vastly different levels, and creating a uniform assessment for all of them seems a bit unfair. But overall, I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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