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Running Head: EDU 741: Module 7: Mini-Inquiry Project

EDU 741 Summer B: Module 7: Assessment Mini-Inquiry Project Shawnette Johnson August 19, 2012 University of New England Professor P. Wallace

Literacy and assessment go hand and hand, and they have both been around since the beginning of time. When assessment and instruction are melded, both teachers and students become learners. Teachers become more focused on what and how to teach, and students become more self-directed, motivated, and focused on learning (Valencia, 1997). Formative and summative assessments are important be cause they give teachers insight to a student s instructional strengths and areas of instruction needing closer attention. Formative assessment is a teacher s instanta neous feedback on how well students comprehend the information. Based on these f acts, a survey was conducted to get a better view on how teachers use formative assessment to drive instruction. Question How Do You Use Formative Assessment to Drive Instruction? Survey 1. Typically how many formative assessments do you give during the course o f a unit? Response Percent Response Count 0-1 0.0% 0 2-3 50.0% 5 4-5 30.0% 3 6+ 20.0% 2 2. List the type(s) of formative assessment(s) used when assessing a studen t's abilities. Response Student response systems, quizzes, study guides, students make their own questio ns that apply to the concept Response MYP tasks, practice tests, response systems, questioning Response

Multiple choice questions and written response Response Written, multiple choice, also verbal Response Teacher observation, classwork Response Student response clicker, assessments, Exit slips/3-2-1, KWL, Think Pair Share, Journal Responses Response Pre-Assessments, Teacher Observations, Journal writing (Lesson Reflections), Wee kly Quizzes, Creating study guides, Role playing etc.... Response Feedback - graphic organizers - Journals - short quizzes Response Discussion, observations, exit slips, graphic organizers, peer/self-assessments, individual whiteboards, four corners, think pair share, quizzes, projects, refl ections, the list could go on Response A mixture: multiple choice, open ended, writing or project. 3. How do you use the data collected from formative assessments to prepare students for summative assessments? Response It tells me which students are struggling with a concept; therefore, I can help with specific skills. Response It drives instruction: I can reteach and retest Response Once a week Response I can better tailor the summative assessments based on the formative assessment data. Response Based on these I will reteach Response I use it to drive instruction and to incorporate effective teaching strategies. What the students do not master, I need to reteach in a different manner. I can use the data to decide which concepts to reteach and how to scaffold the learnin g for the students. Response If 80% or more students show deficiencies in specific skills & knowledge on form ative assessments, then those areas will determine the preparedness of the summa tive assessment If 85% or more students have mastered specific skills & knowledg e during formative assessments, then it's not necessary to summative assess in t hose areas Response These assessments target areas of weakness for standardized tests. Response It lets you know what you need to review, how to re teach a lesson, if you are m oving too fast/ slow, how to restructure your lesson/strategy to teach the lesso n, can identify individual student s weaknesses. Response It allows me to see the strengths and weaknesses of the student.


What types of technology do you use to support your formative assessment

s? (Check all that apply) Response Percent Response Count Individual computer games (Study Island, Fast Math, etc.) 7 Whole class computer games (Jeopardy, Are You Smarter Than...) 7 Student response system 50.0% 5 Wireless electronic slate 20.0% 2 Online tutorials (Khan Academy, TED, etc.) 10.0% 1 Other 70.0% 7

70.0% 70.0%

5. Compared to summative assessments, are formative assessments more benefi cial to teachers and students? Response Percent Response Count Yes 90.0% No 10.0%

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Data Analysis The targeted audience for the survey was middle grades classroom teachers. The t en responses were from general education and special education teachers in grade six with experience ranging from three to twenty-one years. The survey consiste d of answer selection, free response, and yes or no responses. The purpose of fo rmative assessment is to drive instruction, through this study it is proved that my staff not only uses alternative forms of assessment but the result of the da ta is used to promote student achievement. Looking at the data collected from question number one, out of one hundred perce nt of educators fifty percent found it necessary to give two to three assessment s. Another thirty percent gave formative assessments four to five times through out the course of a unit. Finally, twenty percent gave formative assessments si x or more times during the course of a unit. The teachers listed a variety of alternative forms of assessment. Among the list ed forms Brain Pop, Student response systems, and computer based assessment are popular in many content areas. Unlike traditional paper pencil assessments, stud ents feel a sense of connection when technology is involved. Students use writin g as a form of assessment through constructed responses in math. This allows the teacher to identify misconceptions. Teachers are able to target the weaknesses and build upon them for success. A first year teacher used an interview system a s a formative assessment. This teacher was able to have dialogue with each stude nt and discuss student process and procedures in a math problem. This took a con siderable amount of time but proved to be paramount information for instruction. There are many forms of assessment and our staff has shown to be innovative all in the name of student achievement. Some other assessments mentioned include t eacher observations, journals, exit slips, K-W-L, four corners, think pair share , and role play.

Question three asked how data from formative assessments was used to prepare st udents for summative assessments. Four out of the ten responses mentioned they used the data to determine if a specific skill needed to be retaught to prepare the students. Teachers need to be creative in their approach to reteaching a le sson based on the fact that the students initially didn t understand the material th e way it was presented the first time. Therefore teachers must create different approaches that will get the student s attention. Another four out of ten teachers mentioned using the data collected to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students. Others use the data to determine what types of questions created for a summative assessment. As mentioned before, students have a sense of connectivity to technology, knowin g this I was curious to know the types of technology used to support formative a ssessments. Seventy percent of the teachers who answered the survey said they u se some type of computerized game either individual or whole class or some other type of technology to support formative assessment. Fifty percent of the teach ers use Student response systems. These systems are enjoyed by all teachers who use them because they give instant data analysis feedback to be used to reteach . Students enjoy them as well because they are able to see what their grades ar e and where they made any mistakes right away. Twenty percent of the teachers us wireless electronic slates. This is a very useful device because it allows t he teacher to circulate around the classroom while teaching and write things on the board simultaneously. Only ten percent of the teachers use online tutoring to support formative assessment. Online tutoring such as Khan Academy and TED a re useful to students who need completing homework, or are too shy to ask questi ons during class time. For middle and high school teachers who have time constr aints on what they need to teach, this is helpful for those students who do not have all of the prerequisites for the next level of instruction, need a more det ailed explanation, or a refresher on a specific topic. Finally, I asked which type of assessment was more beneficial to teachers and st udents. Nine of the ten teachers agreed that formative assessments are more ben eficial to teachers and students than summative assessments. I would agree with these teachers because formative assessments are for the here and now, if a con cept needs more attention to it, then that will be identified in a formative ass essment. Students and teachers are provided with instant feedback when formati ve assessments are used, rather than getting the results months later when they have moved on in the classroom. Summative assessments such as standardized test do not allow teachers the opportunity to reteach material if necessary while it is still fresh on the minds of the students. Reflection I learned many aspects about literacy assessment by completing this proj ect. One thing I learned is that there are many factors affecting how students p erform on literacy assessment. An example of a factor is motivation. Highly moti vated students will strive to do their best on formative literacy assessments. I f the students do not master the standards, then the students will redirect them selves so they can achieve more. I learned that with literacy assessment it is i mportant that teachers need to implement more authentic assessments for the stud ents. Multiple-choice literary assessments are very prevalent in education becau se of high-stakes testing under the No Child Left Behind Act. Students are taugh t to choose the best answer instead of thinking critically. Now that many states have adopted the Common Core standards, teachers can emphasize higher order thi nking skills and creativity. Literacy assessments should focus on fluency with c omprehension, decoding, and oral fluency. Students should also be able to evalua te meaning of a passage and extend application. In order to improve on literacy assessments, students must read more and they also need to have project-based as sessments. The more students read the better readers they become. At my school f ormative assessment is used to drive instruction. If students are mastering conc epts, then teachers can move on. If a student is having trouble mastering a stan dard, then the teacher can utilize various strategies so that the student will a

chieve concept mastery. These strategies include reteaching, remediation, one- o n one-instruction, and peer tutorial, to name a few. My school uses a lot of mul tiple-choice assessments, more than any other school in the district. One tool w e use to track the data of our students is a program called Performance Tracker. Performance Tracker allows the teachers to drill down and disaggregate the data in many ways, by providing the teacher with item analyses on student performanc e. One thing I would change about how assessment is used at my school is that mo re focus would be on project based assessments and authentic assessments. We wou ld be able to spend less time developing and grading multiple choice assessments . Students would really be able to express themselves and their understanding of a topic or lesson through projects. Formative assessment is what teachers rely on to drive their daily instruction. The benefits of giving formative assessments are appreciated by teachers and st udents alike. Teachers use these assessments to determine strengths and weaknes ses, how much time to spend on a specific skill, or decide on the types of questions for a summative assessment. If teachers contin ue to use formative assessments for these reasons, then we as educators are well on our way back to teaching because of the test and not to the test.

References Valencia, S. (1997). Understanding authentic classroom-based literacy assessmen t. Retrieved August 20,2012, from