Standard 11: Utilize formative and summative assessment in a standards-based environment.

The primary course that focused on Standard 11 was EDU6613 – Standards Based Assessment.

The guiding questions of the course were:

1) What do I want my students to learn?

2) Where are my students currently in their progression of learning?

3) How can I help support their learning?

In order to do this we focused on being able to:

  • Explain the elements important for students to learn.
  • Understand the purpose of various assessments and how they impact student learning and experience.
  • Apply assessment information appropriately.
  • Understand how personal preference may impact assessment choices/decisions.
  • Understand and communicate assessment results to students in a timely and comprehensible manner.
  • Integrate assessment within instructional, content, and management objectives.
  • Articulate a current, research-based philosophy of assessment.

Before this course, in the 2015-2016 school year, I was able to weave in learning expectations regularly, although only on a wide scale. For the first time ever, students and I focused on their written and oral proficiency, instead of looking at what they could not do grammatically. We spent a lot of time as a class discussing proficiency learning goals and strategies for how to get there. The proficiency benchmarks were hung on our classroom wall and we frequently referenced them in students’ oral and written work. We also referenced the proficiency scales when discussing what work at different levels looked or sounded like. Students were asked to reflect on their learning in relation to the proficiency scales, and think about next steps a few times throughout the year. However, I feel like much of this was done informally and inconsistently, and I executed formative assessment without a deep understanding of varied practices and without deep intentionality.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.40.47 AM Wiliam suggests four stages to embedding formative assessemnt ito our work with fidelity:

  1. Clarifying and Sharing Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
  2. Eliciting Evidence of Learning
  3. Providing feedback (formative assessment)
  4. Peer and self-assessment

Wiliam suggests a variety of practical formative assessment strategies, and I was happy to see that I already implement many of them in my current practice, such as all student response systems such as mini-whiteboards, exit passes, discussion questions in randomly selected small groups, open-ended questions, hot seat questioning, etc. However, I realize that I need to improve my quality of questioning. As Wiliam states on page 79 “only 8 percent of the questions asked by teachers required the students to analyze, to make inferences, or to generalize…less than 10 percent of the questions that were asked by teachers in these classrooms actually caused any new learning.” This means focusing on open-ended, engaging questions that cause students to think.

In this course we worked to construct a unit learning progression considering standards, key learning targets and meaningful formative assessments that will be conducted along the way. I am proud of this work and have thought back to it various times over the last year since it’s completion. It helped me organize my scaffolding of a unit and gave me a visual way to think about triggering previous learning in students and build up to the final goal, formatively assessing along the way. Mine can be found below:

Spanish 1: En la escuela Learning Progression

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In addition to the learning progression, I researched in depth specific strategies to teach students to employ a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset in order to elicit deeper engagement and foster a stronger work ethic in students and thus improve student achievement. This was a very meaningful project for me, as I learned about the incredible power mindset can have in all aspects of our life and how to explicitly teach students about growing their brain and embracing challenge as exciting and not something to avoid. I will be both explicitly teaching students about mindset at the beginning of the year moving forward, as well as integrating growth mindset questions strategies, wait time, and reflective processes into my daily classroom practice. Espousing a growth mindset also requires us as teachers to actually recognize that all students can achieve (Dweck 2006). This may sound basic to some, but I have heard teachers strongly disagree with this statement, especially regarding World Language study. There is a current of belief that some students aren’t mature enough to study a world language and should wait or waive the requirement all together. However, recognizing that students can change and grow calls us to change our own mindsets and our classroom culture to use questioning strategies that ask students to justify their thinking, recognize, reflect upon, and praise the process,  critique others and receive critiques as an opportunity to improve and learn, and to promote the belief that all students can improve and achieve. I primarily focused on the importance of cultivating a growth mindset in students, and the linked importance of providing rich and varied formative, peer, and self-assessment opportunities for students. My work can be found here: Assessment into Action Paper_Growth Mindset.

Equally important, I am looking forward to going back to JHS and sharing my new learning, especially regarding mindset, with my colleagues. I have found a variety of resources that provide additional detail about changing one’s own mindset and others, and it is an exciting topic that has high impact and I know my colleagues will be interested in the information. By sharing my resources I can begin to plant the seed to further collaboration around the topic in the future.

In the end, although not content specific, this course taught me many fundamental teaching philosophies and practices that I feel will make a huge impact on my students’ overall experience in my classroom moving forward. I now feel like I have the knowledge regarding formative assessment and mindset and the research to back it up and  I am really excited to see where this added intentionality takes my students and me this next year!


Some valuable resources that I have discovered throughout this course:

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Resources for Teaching Growth Mindset

You Can Learn Anything YouTube video

The Power of belief — mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach

Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Downey, J. A. (2014). Indispensable Insight: Children’s Perspectives on Factors and Mechanisms That Promote Educational Resilience. Canadian Journal of Education, 31(1), 46-72.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Dweck, C. S. (2007, October). The Perils and Promises of Praise. Early Intervention at Every Age, 65(2), 34-39.

Montoy-Wilson, M. (n.d.). Encouraging Students to Persist Through Challenges. Retrieved August 06, 2016, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/

Seven Common Growth Mindset Scenarios and Responses [PDF]. (2016, January 16). MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, from mindsetkit.org

Stewart, C. (n.d.). Praising the Process. Retrieved August 06, 2016, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/

With Math I Can – Growth Mindset Tools. (n.d.). Retrieved August 07, 2016, from https://www.amazon.com/gp/withmathican

 

Accomplished Teaching: End of Course Reflection

The main learning I will take from this course is the importance of being a reflective practitioner, both individually and in a group setting, but also the challenges associated with this practice. I appreciated the explicit and simplistic nature of the text we read

York-Barr, J., Sommers, W. A., Ghere, G. S., & Montie, J. (2006). Reflective Practice to Improve Schools (second ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

I also realized along the way that there are many areas of accomplished teaching that I am already practicing in my classroom. These include:

  • Criterion 2: Demonstrating effective teaching practices: Reflecting on my practice regularly on an individual basis and adjusting my instruction and practice based on this reflection.
  • Criterion 3: Recognizing individual student learning needs and developing strategies to address those needs: I am using national standards to assess students’ baseline proficiency level and then design engaging, interactive experiences based on the Organic World Language (OWL) model. I also am constantly using formative assessment in class daily and adapting immediately, in the moment to give corrective feedback and adapt the lesson’s trajectory to better address students’ needs.
  • Criterion 4: Providing clear and intentional focus on subject matter content and curriculum: Teaching to National Standards (ACTFL) and assessing students based on proficiency. This year implementing the OWL methodology has given me a more intentional focus and better understanding of my students than ever before. I also have access to a much wider variety of authentic resources in Spanish than ever before.
  • Using the Charlotte Danielson Framework to guide my reflection as an educator.

At the beginning of the Quarter, my goals for this program were:

  1. Standard 02: Analyze learning to promote student growth-Collaborating with peers to improve my selection, organization and use of data to improve student learning.
  2. Working to push students in their critical thinking skills and creative skills. For this I would like to learn from colleagues on questioning strategies and specific methodologies used to push students to the next level, while maintaining a student-centered environment.
  3. Building not only a student-centered environment, but one where students are responsible for and initiate learning. 
  4. Standard 11: Utilize formative and summative assessment in a standards based environment-Improving the quality and consistency of my use of sound formative assessments in my classroom.

Over the last 10 weeks, I have begun to touch on:

Goal #1- In accomplished teaching we practiced how to reflect in small groups and implemented a variety of protocols to aid the reflection process. We wrote a lesson plan for this and then filmed the lesson. With a partner we then reflected on the lesson, using a protocol to assist us. A few of the protocols I appreciated and would like to use in the future in my professional practice are

peeling_onion_protocol

student_work_analysis

tuning_protocol

Utilizing this protocol helps keep all involved focused, as unbiased as possible, and allows us to work with a meaningful structure to our reflective session.

Goal #3- I conducted my final research paper on Formative Assessment and the use of student self-reflective practices.

Heading forward, as I focus on becoming a teacher-leader, I will focus on leading by example and continuing to share the new learning I gather in this program with colleagues. This may mean suggesting we use a new protocol in PLC meetings for example, or utilizing my new skills to help my PLC analyze student work and proceed afterwards to use the results of this reflection to improve instruction.

I would also like to look further into the work by Matthew Poehner on advanced linguistics and language acquisition. His research has direct implications for the reflective activities I design for my students, as well as the performance assessments I design and implement.

Lantolf, J.P., & Poehner, M.E. (2011). Dynamic assessment in the classroom: Vygotskian praxis for second language development. Language Teaching Research, 15(1), 11-33.

Poehner, M. E. (2012). The Zone of Proximal Development and the genesis of self-assessment. Modern Language Journal96(4), 610-622.

Accomplished Teaching: Initial Reflection

Over these next two years there are many things I am looking forward to improving in my professional practice. However, a few of my current priorities are:

  1. Standard 02: Analyze learning to promote student growth-Collaborating with peers to improve my selection, organization and use of data to improve student learning.
  2. Working to push students in their critical thinking skills and creative skills. For this I would like to learn from colleagues on questioning strategies and specific methodologies used to push students to the next level, while maintaining a student-centered environment.
  3. Building not only a student-centered environment, but one where students are responsible for and initiate learning. 
  4. Standard 11: Utilize formative and summative assessment in a standards based environment-Improving the quality and consistency of my use of sound formative assessments in my classroom.