Rethinking

Classroom Assessment
with Purpose in Mind
Assessment
for
Learning
Assessment
as
Learning
Assessment
of
Learning
Rethinking
Classroom Assessment
with Purpose in Mind
Assessment
for
Learning
Assessment
as
Learning
Assessment
of
Learning
2006
Western and Northern Canadian
Protocol for Collaboration in Education
ii • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth
Cataloguing in Publication Data
371.26 Rethinking classroom assessment with purpose
in mind : assessment for learning, assessment
as learning, assessment of learning
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-7711-3478-9
1. Educational tests and measurements. 2. Academic
achievement—Evaluation. 3. Students—Evaluation.
4. Students—Rating of. I. Western and Northern
Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education.
Copyright © 2006, the Crown in Right of the Governments of Alberta,
British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan,
and Yukon Territory as represented by their Ministers of Education.
Every effort has been made to acknowledge original sources and to comply
with copyright law. If cases are identified where this has not been done,
please notify Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth. Errors or
omissions will be corrected in a future edition.
This resource is available on the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for
Collaboration in Education website: <www.wncp.ca>
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • iii
Acknowledgements
This document has been developed by Dr. Lorna Earl and Dr. Steven Katz from
Aporia Consulting, in collaboration with the Western and Northern Canadian
Protocol for Collaboration in Education (WNCP) assessment team, which is
made up of representatives from each of the member provinces and territories.
Writing this guide has been a collaborative process, with WNCP team members
sharing in shaping the document, developing the ideas, and locating examples
from within their own jurisdictions.
WNCP team members:
Alberta Education: Gail Campbell, Betty Morris
British Columbia Education: Pierre Gilbert
Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth: Dr. Cheryl Cline Abrahams
Northwest Territories Education, Ronda Nicklen (as of May 2004),
Culture, and Employment: Pamela Petten (until May 2004)
Nunavut Department of Education: Margaret Joyce
Saskatchewan Learning: Rick Johnson
Yukon Education: Terry Markley
The team would like to thank all the people in their jurisdictions who provided
examples of assessment processes or who provided other information and
support, and to the many individuals and groups who contributed to the
development of this document through their review and valuable advice.
Special thanks are due to Sonia Ben Jaafar and Leanne Foster of Aporia
Consulting and Sandra Folk of OISE/UT, Cyril Parent of Manitoba Education,
Citizenship and Youth for document design and layout, and Carol Dahlstrom for
editorial assistance.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • v
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements iii
Introduction vii
Section I: Setting the Stage 1
Chapter 1: Why Change Classroom Assessment? 3
Classroom Assessment and Societal Change 4
The Effects of Classroom Assessment on Learning 5
Classroom Assessment and Its Effects on Motivation 6
Using Classroom Assessment for Differentiating Learning 7
Quality in Classroom Assessment 8
Chapter 2: Purposes of Classroom Assessment 13
Balance and Tensions in Assessment Purposes 14
Planning the Assessment Process 15
Reporting 16
Assessment Tool Kit 16
AVignette of Assessment in Action 18
Section II: Three Purposes of Assessment 27
Chapter 3: Assessment for Learning 29
What Is Assessment for Learning? 29
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment for Learning 29
Planning Assessment for Learning 30
An Example of Assessment for Learning 35
Summary of Planning Assessment for Learning 39
Chapter 4: Assessment as Learning 41
What Is Assessment as Learning? 41
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment as Learning 42
Planning Assessment as Learning 44
An Example of Assessment as Learning 50
Summary of Planning Assessment as Learning 54
Chapter 5: Assessment of Learning 55
What Is Assessment of Learning? 55
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment of Learning 55
Planning Assessment of Learning 56
An Example of Assessment of Learning 61
Summary of Planning Assessment of Learning 65
Section III: Next Steps 67
Chapter 6: Embedding and Sustaining Purposeful
Classroom Assessment 69
Understanding and Motivation 70
Capacity: Knowledge and Skills 71
Leadership 72
School and Community Support for Change 73
Nurturing Inquiry Habits of Mind 73
Chapter 7: Building Capacity for Enhancing Classroom Assessment 75
Professional Learning 75
Leadership and Support 77
Engaging Parents and Community 79
Appendix 1: Template for Planning Assessment 82
Appendix 2: Overview of Planning Assessment 85
Resources for Further Reading 87
Works Cited 95
vi • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • vii
Introduction
With the goal of enhancing student learning, Rethinking Classroom
Assessment with Purpose in Mind is designed to support teachers in
assessing their students effectively, efficiently, and fairly, and to serve as a
basis for designing professional learning. It has been produced by the
Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education
(WNCP), a partnership of provinces and territories
1
with a mandate to
provide quality education for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12
through collaboration in educational programs and services. Each province
and territory in the WNCP will use the document within its unique
circumstances, and will develop local implementation plans and supports.
It is important to note that Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose
in Mind is concerned with classroom assessment, not large-scale
assessment. All of the provinces and territories
in WNCP are engaged in one kind of large-
scale assessment program or another, and some
share resources. Large-scale assessment plays a
useful and important role in providing system-
level feedback. It is a complement to, and not a
substitute for, classroom assessment. This document focusses on the kind
of assessment that is an integral part of regular activity in every classroom,
every day. It is designed to provide a framework for thinking as teachers,
administrators, and professional developers work together over time in
developing and using assessment in their classrooms to differentiate and
facilitate learning for all students.
In recent years, each of the provinces and territories in the WNCP has
recognized the power of assessment for student learning in statements that
reinforce a focus on assessment for enhancing learning for all students.
We are not arguing that one assessment approach is good and
another bad: the key issue is around fitness for purpose.
(Gipps and Cumming, Assessing Literacies)
____________________
1. Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, and the
Yukon Territory.
viii • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
I nt r o duc t i o n
Although this document includes many examples, it is not a collection of
assessment tools for teachers to “mix and match.” Instead, it provides a
framework for thinking about the purposes of assessment, and for creating and
implementing changes to teachers’ assessment practices that are consistent with
enhancing learning for all students. The notion of a framework for thinking is an
important one; rethinking classroom assessment is about thinking first and doing
second. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is designed to
give teachers an opportunity to both confirm and extend their learning.
Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is premised on the
belief that assessment has various purposes, and that it is important to
intentionally design and use classroom assessment methods to serve the intended
purposes. This is not a step-by-step process. Instead, it depends on routine
attention to the intended purposes. Changing assessment will require new
individual and collective capacity for teachers, administrators, and even students.
Yukon
The Yukon Department of Education, working
with parents and community, strives to develop
the whole child . . . and provide an education
appropriate to the individual learner.
Classroom assessment plays a crucial role in
this goal of assessing the continuous
educational needs and progress of students to
direct the teaching and differentiated learning
within the classroom. The Department
encourage[s] independent self-assessors in the
quest for life-long learning. (Yukon Department
of Education, 2004)
Northwest Territories
Schools are extensions of the cultures and
languages of the communities they serve, and
involve the community in the education of their
children. In this context, assessment:
• must reflect the vision, the values, and the
goals of the community;
• is an integral part of all teaching and learning
processes in the school, at home, and in the
community;
• is based on the educational needs of all
students; and
• measures growth with respect to specific
learning outcomes.
(Northwest Territories Education, Culture and
Employment, 2001)
Nunavut
If students are to successfully move on to the
next stage, it is important to build into the
learning environment reflection, self-
assessment and correction. (Nunavut
Department of Education, 2000)
British Columbia
Teachers use assessment and
evaluation information to
• provide students and parents
with ongoing feedback;
• plan further instructional and
learning activities;
• set subsequent learning goals;
• identify students who may
require intervention.
(British Columbia Ministry of
Education, 2004)
Alberta
Assessment, evaluation and
communication of student
achievement and growth are
essential parts of the teaching and
learning process. Each part of the
teaching and learning process
should be a positive experience for
students and promote personal
growth. Practices should be carried
out in such a way that they support
continuous learning and
development. (Alberta Learning,
2003)
Saskatchewan
Evaluation should be an integral
part of the teaching-learning
process, . . . be a planned,
continuous activity . . . [that]
reflect[s] the intended outcomes of
the curriculum, . . . assist[s]
teachers in meeting individual
needs and encourag[es] active
participation and student self-
appraisal to foster life-long
learning. (Saskatchewan Education,
1991)
Manitoba
The ultimate goal of assessment is
to help develop independent, life-
long learners who regularly
monitor and assess their own
progress. (Manitoba Education and
Youth, 2003)
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • ix
I nt r o duc t i o n
This document is written to provide educators with starting points for reflection,
deliberation, discussion, and learning. Suggestions for reflection are posted in the
margins throughout the text, and can be used as discussion prompts for study
groups and other professional learning contexts. Resources that might be of
interest to particular readers are included in the margins throughout the text, and
there is a list of resources for additional reading at the end of the document.
Concepts are presented in margin boxes, and examples appear throughout,
showing what some of the ideas presented might look like in practice.
This document is organized into three sections:
I Setting the Stage provides background information about why assessment
has moved recently to the forefront, and why it is important for educators in
all positions to understand both the changes that are occurring in assessment
and the implications of these changes for policy and practice. It includes an
outline of three purposes of classroom assessment and a vignette, which
shows all three in action.
II Three Purposes of Assessment provides a detailed description of the three
purposes of assessment that form the framework for thinking about how to
select or develop assessment tasks, how to use them, and how to
communicate about them with students, parents, and others: assessment for
learning; assessment as learning; and assessment of learning. Case examples
from teachers in WNCP territories and provinces are included in each of the
chapters of this section.
III Next Steps suggests that rethinking assessment is a process of reflection,
analysis, deliberation, and new learning for educators. This process involves
building individual and collective capacity, and can be fostered at the level
of the school, the district or division, and the province or territory. This
section suggests ways that educators might engage in this process.
Reflection:
As you read this
document, think
about how you could
apply the ideas to
your own
assessment
practices.
The current focus on classroom assessment comes out of changes that have
been occurring over many years, in particular during the last decade of
educational reform in teaching and learning. Section I of this document
provides a context in which to understand these changes, particularly social
and historical changes. It also examines how classroom assessment is used
for multiple purposes, with special attention to the role of differentiated
learning.
Key Ideas in Section I
• Classroom assessment practices are deeply rooted in societal
expectations.
• Classroom assessment plays a major role in how students
learn, their motivation to learn, and how teachers teach.
• Quality issues (reliability, reference points, validity, and
record-keeping) are important in any classroom assessment.
• Identifying the purpose of any classroom assessment is critical
for it to be productive and efficient.
• Planning classroom assessment based on purpose ensures that
it will be coherent and effective.
• Teachers can use many different strategies and tools for
classroom assessment, and can adapt them to suit the purpose
and the needs of individual students.
S
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c
t
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I
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 1
Setting the Stage
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 3
C hapt e r 1
Why Change
Classroom Assessment?
As society changes, educators find themselves faced with the task of creating
schools that will serve their students well, even if they are uncertain about the
nature of the society that their students will face in the future. During the past 50
years, massive cultural, social, economic, political, environmental, and
technological changes have meant that every facet of schooling has been
subjected to investigation and rethinking, including classroom assessment.
Throughout most of the 20
th
century, classroom assessment was considered a
mechanism for providing an index of learning, and it followed a predictable
pattern: teachers taught, tested the students’ knowledge of the material, made
judgements about students’ achievement based on the testing, and then moved on
to the next unit of work. More recently, however, this approach to assessment
has come into question as societal expectations for schooling have changed,
cognitive science has provided new insights into the nature of learning, and the
traditional role of assessment in motivating student learning has been challenged.
• In the past, schooling beyond basic skills and knowledge was viewed as
required by only a few. But now, high school graduation is considered a
necessity for all, and the educational community is being asked to ensure that
graduates be proficient in complex critical thinking, problem-solving, and
effective communication to meet demanding societal, economic, and
technological challenges.
• Learning was long thought to be an accumulation of atomized bits of
knowledge that are sequenced, hierarchical, and need to be explicitly taught
and reinforced. Learning is now viewed as a process of constructing
understanding, during which individuals attempt to connect new information
to what they already know, so that ideas have some personal coherence.
Individuals construct this understanding in many different ways, depending
on their interests, experience, and learning styles.
4 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 1
• Educators have traditionally relied on assessment that compares students
with more successful peers as a means to motivate students to learn, but
recent research suggests students will likely be motivated and confident
learners when they experience progress and achievement, rather than the
failure and defeat associated with being compared to more successful peers
(Stiggins, 2001).
These three changes in societal expectations and in knowledge about learning
and motivation have strong implications for how teachers teach, what they teach,
and especially how they apply classroom assessment practices.
Classroom Assessment and Societal Change
Formal and informal assessment of learning has always been part of
educational institutions. With the advent of universal schooling at the turn
of the 20
th
century, children were expected to attend school to learn basic
skills. Assessment was the mechanism for making decisions about future
programs, and for providing information to parents about their children’s
learning.
At the middle of the 20
th
century, it became clear that schooling was an
important key to social mobility, and that achievement in school was the
basis for entry into the workplace. Tests and exams took on major
importance in deciding which students would have access to higher education.
Many jurisdictions instituted standardized testing programs alongside classroom
assessment to ensure fair, accurate, and consistent opportunities for students.
Since the 1960s and 1970s, the purposes for classroom assessment have
expanded. The terms formative assessment and summative assessment entered
the language of educators—formative assessment being assessment that takes
place during teaching to make adjustments to the teaching process, and
summative assessment being assessment at the end of a unit or term to convey
student progress. In order to fulfill these two
purposes, educators extended their assessment
practices and began assessing a wider range
of student work, such as practical tasks,
coursework, projects, and presentations. For
the most part, however, assessment was still a
matter of making statements about students’
weaknesses and strengths.
Expectations of schooling now include these types of valued outcomes:
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(\1.¡|-1 ||»m \||--|as. Leadership for Excellence in Assessment: A
Powerful New School District Planning Guidei
Reflection:
What recent societal
changes have had a
significant effect on your
students and
their community? What
has the effect been
on teaching and
learning?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 5
Why C hange C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt ?
More recently, the focus in educational policy has been on preparing all students
for tomorrow’s world. At the same time, the expectations for students have
increased in breadth and depth, dramatically affecting teachers’ instructional and
assessment roles, and students’ roles as learners.
The Effects of Classroom Assessment on Learning
There is considerable evidence that assessment is a powerful process for
enhancing learning. Black and Wiliam (1998) synthesized over 250 studies
linking assessment and learning, and found that the intentional use of assessment
in the classroom to promote learning improved student achievement. Increasing
the amount of time on assessment, however, does not necessarily enhance
learning. Rather, when teachers use classroom assessment to become aware of
the knowledge, skills, and beliefs that their students bring to a learning task, use
this knowledge as a starting point for new instruction, and monitor students’
changing perceptions as instruction proceeds, classroom assessment promotes
learning.
When learning is the goal, teachers and
students collaborate and use ongoing
assessment and pertinent feedback to move
learning forward. When classroom assessment
is frequent and varied, teachers can learn a
great deal about their students. They can gain
an understanding of students’ existing beliefs
and knowledge, and can identify incomplete
understandings, false beliefs, and naïve
interpretations of concepts that may influence
or distort learning. Teachers can observe and
probe students’ thinking over time, and can
identify links between prior knowledge and
new learning.
Learning is also enhanced when students are encouraged to think about their own
learning, to review their experiences of learning (What made sense and what
didn’t? How does this fit with what I already know, or think I know?), and to
apply what they have learned to their future learning. Assessment provides the
feedback loop for this process. When students
(and teachers) become comfortable with a
continuous cycle of feedback and adjustment,
learning becomes more efficient and students
begin to internalize the process of standing
outside their own learning and considering it
against a range of criteria, not just the
teacher’s judgement about quality or accuracy.
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a--1 |» |.·- . s-as- »| »|.| || |s ||.| s|a1-a|s .|- |||a||a-. What is it that
they believe to be true?
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(l.||. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to
Maximize Student Learningi
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(|»s|.. l|»|»-a- |» l-|·|-. Visual Tools for Constructing Knowledgei
Resource:
Lambert and McCombs,
How Students Learn:
Reforming Schools
through Learner-Centered
Education
6 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 1
When students engage in this ongoing metacognitive experience, they are able to
monitor their learning along the way, make corrections, and develop a habit of
mind for continually reviewing and challenging what they know.
When they are learning
in any area, students
make connections and
move along a
continuum from
emergent to proficient.
Learners at the
emergent stage are
generally uncertain,
and rely heavily on
direct instruction,
modelling, and
whatever “rules” may
exist to give them
direction about how to
proceed, with little sense of underlying patterns. As learners
become more competent, they develop more complex schemata
of understanding, gain in confidence and independence, and
become efficient in problem-solving within new contexts. They
are able to apply the new learning independently and direct their
own learning.
When teachers understand this emergent-to-proficient process
as it relates to curriculum outcomes, they can use assessment
as the mechanism for helping students understand and value
their own learning and predict what comes next. The ongoing
cycle of assessment and feedback can guide students and
scaffold their learning as they move along the learning
continuum.
Classroom Assessment and Its Effects on Motivation
Motivation is essential for the hard work of learning. The higher the motivation,
the more time and energy a student is willing to devote to any given task. Even
when a student finds the content interesting and the activity enjoyable, learning
requires sustained concentration and effort.
Past views of motivation were heavily influenced by the behaviourist psychology
of the 1960s and 1970s, in which a schedule of rewards and punishments led to
either reinforcing or extinguishing a particular behaviour. It was believed that
assessment and grading motivated students to work hard and to learn. It is now
understood that the relationship between grades and motivation is neither simple
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Stages in Growth from Emergent to Proficient
Emergent Proficient
Reflection:
Think about something in which you
are proficient. How did you move
from emergent to proficient?
Describe the experiences that you
had along the way and what
insights they provide about your
growth in learning.
Think of something in which you
consider yourself to be at the
emergent stage. What are those
who are proficient in this area
doing that you want
to emulate?
Resource:
Brophy, “Synthesis of
Research on Strategies
for Motivating Students
to Learn”
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 7
Why C hange C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt ?
nor predictable. Grades have been
found to be motivating for some
students, and demotivating for others.
Students who generally do well are
often motivated by the likelihood of
success and praise that accompanies
doing well. Students who typically do
not do well may choose to avoid the
likelihood of a failure by devaluing
the assessment process and even
school.
According to current cognitive
research, people are motivated to learn by success and competence. When
students feel ownership and have choice in their learning, they are more likely to
invest time and energy in it. Assessment can be a motivator, not through reward
and punishment, but by stimulating students’ intrinsic interest. Assessment can
enhance student motivation by
• emphasizing progress and achievement rather than failure
• providing feedback to move learning forward
• reinforcing the idea that students have control over, and responsibility for,
their own learning
• building confidence in students so they can and need to take risks
• being relevant, and appealing to students’ imaginations
• providing the scaffolding that students need to genuinely succeed
Using Classroom Assessment for
Differentiating Learning
Classes consist of students with different needs, backgrounds, and skills. Each
student’s learning is unique. The contexts of classrooms, schools, and
communities vary. As well, the societal pressure for more complex learning for
all students necessitates that teachers find ways to create a wide range of
learning options and paths, so that all students have the opportunity to learn
as much as they can, as deeply as they can, and as efficiently as they can.
Many jurisdictions have moved toward differentiated instruction—from the
one-size-fits-all emphasis on the whole class to identifying the unique
learning patterns of each student, using various instructional approaches to
accommodate the range of learning patterns and styles, including designing
instruction for students with various learning challenges and disabilities.
In the past, instruction and assessment were differentiated only for those
students with identified needs. The class was typically regarded as a
The logic of using assessment to motivate improvement is relatively simple:
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s·|»»|s. |-.·|-|s. .a1 s|a1-a|s ·.a .s¡||-.
· !|-s- s|.a1.|1s ·.a ¡|»·|1- |»·as .a1 1||-·||»a |»| |-.·||a- .a1 |-.|a|a-.
· l-sa||s ||»m ||- .ss-ssm-a| sa¡¡»|| |m¡»||.a| |as|-||s »a ||- a.|a|-. s||-a-||s. .a1
»-.|a-ss-s »| s|a1-a| ¡|»-|-ss |-|.||·- |» ||- s|.a1.|1s.
· l1a·.|»|s .a1 s|a1-a|s as- |||s |--1|.·| |» aa1-|s|.a1 .a1 1||-·| ||-|| .||-a||»a |»
|m¡|»·|a- |-|-·.a| .s¡-·|s »| s|a1-a| |-.|a|a-.
· \ss-ssm-a| ·.a m»||·.|- s|a1-a|s |» |-.|a |-||-|. |-.·|-|s |» |-.·| |-||-|. .a1 s·|»»|s
|» |- m»|- -1a·.||»a.||· -||-·||·-.
(l-|m.a .a1 l|-|a. Assessing Opportunity to Learn: A California Examplei
Resources:
•Gregory and Chapman, Differentiated
Instructional Strategies
•Hutchison, Inclusion of Exceptional
Learners in Canadian Schools
•Manitoba Education and Training,
Success for All Learners: A
Handbook on Differentiating
Instruction
8 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 1
homogeneous unit, and teachers used phrases such as “The lesson went well for
the class” or “My students seemed to grasp that concept well.” Any student for
whom the lesson did not go well was considered an exception. Students with
labels such as “learning disability,”
“English as a second language,”
“attention deficit disorder,” or “gifted”
were seen as “different” from the rest
of the class, and the rest of the class
was seen as a single entity. Yet,
differences exist among all students,
not just those with such labels. It is
individuals, not classes, who learn.
When students learn, they make
meaning for themselves, and they
approach learning tasks in different
ways, bringing with them their own understanding, skills, beliefs, hopes, desires,
and intentions. It is important to consider each individual student’s learning,
rather than talk about the learning of “the class.”
Assessment practices lead to differentiated learning when teachers use them to
gather evidence to support every student’s learning, every day in every class. In
order to meet the wide range of abilities, motivations, and learning styles of their
students, teachers need to differentiate the extent of independence with which
students work, and the types and complexity of the learning. Curriculum guides
and programs of study provide the learning outcomes that teachers use to tailor
assessment and instruction to help
students learn and make sense of their
learning.
The learning needs of some students
are so significant, however, that they
may require individualized learning
plans in which the curricular learning
outcomes have been adjusted.
Teachers of these students can access
support from professionals and
resource materials specific to the
student’s particular learning needs.
Quality in Classroom Assessment
Classroom assessment involves complex processes requiring teachers’
professional judgement. Teachers decide how to assess, what to assess, and when
to assess. They also interpret students’ learning according to reference points for
success, such as curricular learning outcomes. The inferences about students’
Universal Design for Learning
la|·-|s.| l-s|-a |»| l-.|a|a- -·|-a1s ¡||a·|¡|-s as-1 |a .|·|||-·|a|- .a1 ¡|»1a·| 1-s|-a
|» |-.|a|a-. la|·-|s.||· 1-s|-a-1 -a·||»am-a|s .a1 ¡|»1a·|s .··»mm»1.|- ||- »|1-s|
s¡-·||am »| as-|s. .a1 .1.¡|.|||||· |s sa|||- .a1 |a|--|.|-1 |a|» ||- 1-s|-a. \». |»». ·.a
|-.·|-|s .1|as| |-.·||a-. .ss-ssm-a|. .a1 |-.|a|a- |» .··»mm»1.|- .|| s|a1-a|s. a»| |as|
||»s- »||| 1|s.||||||-s. l-.|a|a- m.|-||.|s ·.a |- ·.||-1 .a1 .1.¡|.||- |» |a·|a1-. |»|
-·.m¡|-. ma|||·s-as»|· 1|-||.| |-.|a|a- |»»|s .a1 1|-||.| |-s»a|·-s. |.||-| ||.a
·-a|-||a- »a ¡||a|-1 |-·|. \ss-ssm-a| |.s|s ·.a |- 1-s|-a-1 |» .||»» s|a1-a|s |»
1-m»as||.|- ||-|| .··»m¡||s|m-a| »| |-.|a|a- »a|·»m-s |||»a-| ·|sa.|. .·||·-. .a1 »|.|
m»1-s. .s »-|| .s |||»a-| »||||a-.
(\1.¡|-1 ||»m |-a|-| |»| \¡¡||-1 \¡-·|.| !-·|a»|»-·. la|·-|s.| l-s|-a |»| l-.|a|a-i
Shifting Paradigms: From “Deficit” Explanations of Diversity to
“Inclusive” Strategies for All
Deficit Paradigm Inclusion Paradigm
· »|.|'s »|»a- »||| ||- ·|||1 · »|.|'s »|»a- »||| ||- -a·||»am-a|
· |»·as »a 1-||·||s · |»·as »a s||.|--|-s
· ¡|-s·||¡||·- · m.||-.||-
· |»|-|.|-s 1|||-|-a·-s · -m||.·-s 1|||-|-a·-s
· |.|-s ·|||1 »a| »| ·|.ss · |--¡s ·|||1 |a ·|.ss
· |-||.a·- »a -·|-|a.| -·¡-|| · |-.·|-|j¡.|-a| .s -·¡-||
· ¡|»|-ss|»a.||i-1 · ¡-|s»a.||i-1
(\1.¡|-1 ||»m l|||¡»|| -| .|.. Supporting Learner Diversity in Aboriginal Schoolsi
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 9
Why C hange C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt ?
learning that teachers make need to be credible, fair, free from bias, and
connected to their intended purposes.
Assessment is fundamentally a measurement
process, subject to the principles of
measurement. Measurement, as it is used
here, is defined in the broadest sense of
“determining the degree of something.” In
order to make the right decisions about
students, it is necessary that teachers adhere
to these basic measurement principles.
There are four basic principles or quality
issues that are important in classroom
assessment: reliability, reference points, validity, and record-keeping.
Reliability
In classroom assessment, reliability addresses the questions How sure am I?
How confident am I that this assessment process provides enough consistent and
stable information to allow me to make statements about a student’s learning
with certainty?
When teachers make statements about students’ learning, they are making
inferences about what students know and can do from the evidence that is
available to them through assessment. If the assessment process is reliable, the
inferences about a student’s learning should be similar when they are made by
different teachers, when the learning is measured using various methods, or
when students demonstrate their learning at different times. If teachers are
unsure about whether the inferences would be consistent under all these
conditions, there is a question about reliability. When there is any doubt,
there is probably not yet enough information to make a reliable statement.
There are many ways to promote reliability:
• Teachers can use a variety of assessment tasks to provide a range of
information. The more information gathered, the clearer is the picture of a
student’s learning profile.
• Students can show their learning in many different ways. If teachers are to
have a good understanding of an individual student’s learning, they need to
allow that student to demonstrate his or her competence in a manner that
suits his or her individual strengths. For example, one student may choose to
do an oral presentation to demonstrate understanding of a concept, while
another may choose to complete a written text. Teachers can use a variety of
systematic processes—for example, scoring keys, rubrics, rating scales, and
continua—to make statements about student work in relation to the learning
outcomes.
\ss-ssm-a| m-||»1s s|»a|1 |- ||-- ||»m ||.s ||»a-|| .|»a| |· s|a1-a|
|.·|»|s -·||.a-»as |» ||- ¡a|¡»s- »| ||- .ss-ssm-a|. l»ss|||- |.·|»|s |»
·»as|1-| |a·|a1- ·a||a|-. 1-·-|»¡m-a|.| s|.--. -||a|·||·. --a1-|. s»·|»·
-·»a»m|· |.·|-|»aa1. |.a-a.--. s¡-·|.| |a|-|-s|s. .a1 s¡-·|.| a--1s.
\|a1-a|s' sa··-ss |a .as»-||a- ¡a-s||»as »a . |-s| »| |a .a »|.| ¡a|i. |»|
-·.m¡|-. s|»a|1 |- a»| |- 1-¡-a1-a| a¡»a ¡||»| ·a||a|.| |a»»|-1--. sa·| .s
aa1-|s|.a1|a- .a .||as|»a |» . ·a||a|.| ||.1|||»a »| ·.|a-. aa|-ss sa·|
|a»»|-1-- |.||s »||||a ||- ·»a|-a| 1»m.|a |-|a- .ss-ss-1. \|| s|a1-a|s
s|»a|1 |- -|·-a ||- s.m- »¡¡»||aa||· |» 1|s¡|.· ||-|| s||-a-||s.
(Principles for Fair Assessment Practices for Education in Canadai
10 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 1
• Teachers can work with other
teachers to review student work. By
working together, they establish
agreement among themselves about
what is expected and what can be
learned from a particular assessment.
Bringing a collective insight about
what is expected to the exercise
results in more reliable determinations
of what students understand.
Reference Points
The interpretation of any kind of measurement depends on reference points.
When carpenters measure distance, they use metres and centimetres;
meteorologists refer to temperature in relation to the freezing point of water
(0° C); restaurant reviewers rate the food in restaurants based on quality,
originality, and presentation. In classroom assessment, there are three reference
points teachers use when considering a student’s performance:
1. How is the student performing in relation to some pre-determined criteria,
learning outcome, or expectation (criteria- or outcomes-referenced)?
2. How is the student performing in relation to the performance of other
students in the defined group (norm-referenced)?
3. How is the student performing in relation to his or her performance at a prior
time (self-referenced)?
If all three of these reference points are used together, and the distinctions among
them are blurred, the resulting score or statement of learning does not provide
clear information about the nature or quality of the specific learning. A common
but problematic scenario when considering a student’s work is to pay particular
attention to the content knowledge that the student has demonstrated in the unit
or course. Then that student’s work is compared to that of other students in that
class and other classes. Finally, adjustments are made to the judgement based on
past performance and behaviour (e.g., work turned in, attendance, work habits).
The lack of clarity inherent in this process, however, makes it difficult for
anyone other than the teacher to disentangle the three reference points. The
resulting score or statement doesn’t provide detail about the nature or quality of
the specific learning.
Each reference point results in a different kind of interpretation about students’
learning. It is only by clearly distinguishing the reference points that teachers can
provide students, parents, and the general public with meaningful information
about what is deemed important, and what the stages are in the journey from
emergent to proficient.
Enhancing Reliability by Working Together
l||||- -| .|. (l»»||a- .| \|a1-a| \»||¨i |»aa1 ||.| »|-a |-.·|-|s »-|- |a·||-1 |» |»»|
·|»s-|· |»--||-| .| -·|1-a·- »| s|a1-a| |-.|a|a-.¨ || »¡-a-1 a¡ ||- 1|.|»-a- .|»a| »|.|
·»aa|s .a1 »|.| |s -»»1 -·|1-a·-. l|s·ass|»as |-·.m- ·.|a.||- »|-a ||- |-.·|-|s
s|.||-1 |.|||a- .|»a| ||-|| |as||a·||»a .a1 ||.m-1 ||-|| sa---s||»as |a ».·s ||.| ||a|-1
|» ||- ¡|»||-m »| s|a1-a| |-.|a|a- .s |-||-·|-1 |a ||- s|a1-a| »»||. !||s |»»| ||m-
|-·.as- |-.·|-|s |.1 |» --| |» . ¡»|a| »|-|- ||-· »-|- 1»|a- ||- aa|.m|||.|÷|»»||a-
.| s|a1-a| »»|| »|||»a| -·.|a.||·- |a1--m-a|. ra|. .s ||-· |.||-1 .|»a| »|.| ».s |a ||-
»»|| |a 1-s·||¡||·- |.||-| ||.a |a -·.|a.||·- |-|ms. ||-· »-|- .||- |» m.|- ||-|| ·|||-||.
m»|- -·¡||·|| .a1 |.|| .|»a| ||- ·|||-||. »||| ||- -|»a¡.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 11
Why C hange C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt ?
Validity
Validity in classroom assessment is about the accuracy of the interpretation and
the use of assessment information: How well does the assessment measure what
I’m trying to measure? Does the
interpretation of the results lead
to appropriate conclusions and
consequences?
When thinking about validity,
we focus on the inferences that
are drawn from an assessment
and the consequences of these
inferences for those who have
been assessed. When an
assessment is misinterpreted or
used for purposes that were not
intended, the result may be poor
decisions and problematic
consequences.
Validity of classroom assessment
depends on
• analyzing the intended
learning and all its embedded
elements
• having a good match among
the assessment approaches, the intended learning, and the decisions that
teachers and students make about the learning
• ensuring that the assessment adequately covers the targeted learning
outcomes, including content, thinking processes, skills, and attitudes
• providing students with opportunities to show their knowledge of concepts in
many different ways (i.e., using a range of assessment approaches) and with
multiple measures, to establish a composite picture of student learning
Record-Keeping
High-quality record-keeping is critical for ensuring quality in classroom
assessment. The records that teachers and students keep are the evidence that
support the decisions that are made about students’ learning. The records should
include detailed and descriptive information about the nature of the expected
learning as well as evidence of students’ learning, and should be collected from a
range of assessments.
Unintended Consequences from an Invalid Interpretation
lm.-|a- ||.| . s»·|.| s|a1|-s ·a|||·a|am »a|·»m- |»| s|a1-a|s |s »|-.a|i.||»a .a1
·»mmaa|·.||»a¨ .a1 ||.| ||- »||-·||·- |a·|a1-s ||-s- sa|·||-ms.
· s|a1-a|s |-·.||. |.a|. .a1 s-|-·| ||s|»||·.| |a|»|m.||»a
· s|a1-a|s .··a|.|-|· s-|-·| .a1 as- ·||»a»|»-|·.| ·»a·-a||»as
· s|a1-a|s ·»mmaa|·.|- ||-|| |a»»|-1-- .a1 aa1-|s|.a1|a- »| ||s|»||·.| -·-a|s
la |-.·||a- |||s ·»m¡|-· ·»as|-||.||»a »| ·»a·-¡|s |a . aa|| .|»a| -·-a|s ||.| |-1 |» \»||1 \.|
ll. . |-.·|-| ¡|»·|1-s ||- s|a1-a|s »||| 1-|.||-1 -|.¡||· »|-.a|i-|s .a1 ¡|»·-ss-s |»| |1-a|||·|a-
||- ¡-|||a-a| |a|»|m.||»a. »|-.a|i|a- ||. |a|-|¡|-||a- ||. .a1 ¡|-s-a||a- . samm.|·. \s .a -a1·
»|·aa|| .ss-ssm-a|. ||- |-.·|-| .s|s ||- s|a1-a|s |» |-·|-» . s-|-·||»a »| m.|-||.| ||.| ||-· |.1
s|a1|-1 |a ·|.ss .a1 as- . -|.¡||· »|-.a|i-| |» ¡|»1a·- . 1-|.||-1 samm.|· »| ||- -·-a|s
|-.1|a- |» \»||1 \.| ll.
!|- |-.·|-| |a|-a1s |||s .ss-ssm-a| |» |a|-| »|-||-| ||- s|a1-a|s |.1 |a|-|a.||i-1 ||- ·»a·-¡|s
.a1 s||||s .ss»·|.|-1 »||| »|-.a|i.||»a .a1 ·»mmaa|·.||»a.¨ .a1 |» |-¡»|| |» ¡.|-a|s .|»a|
-.·| s|a1-a|'s |-·-| »| ·»m¡-|-a·- »a |||s »a|·»m-.
l»»-·-|. |-·.as- ||- m.|-||.| ||.| .¡¡-.|-1 »a ||- .ss-ssm-a| ».s a»| a-» .a1 ||- s|a1-a|s
|.1 .||-.1· ¡|.·||s-1 ·|-.||a- -|.¡||· »|-.a|i-|s »||| |||s m.|-||.|. ||- |-.·|-|'s |a|-|-a·- |s
|.a||·. la |.·|. |- |s .||- |» .ss-ss »a|· ||- s|a1-a|s' |-·»-a|||»a .a1 |-·.|| ||»m ¡||»| -·¡»sa|-.
a»| ||-|| .|||||· |» »|-.a|i- .a1 ·»mmaa|·.|- a-» m.|-||.|.
\|-a ||-s- s|a1-a|s m»·- |» ||- a-·| |-.·|-|. ||-· .|- .ssam-1 |» |.·- . |.s- »| s|||| |a
»|-.a|i|a- .a1 ·»mmaa|·.||a-. .a1 s» m.· a»| |- -|·-a .a »¡¡»||aa||· |» 1-·-|»¡ .a1
|a|-|a.||i- ||-s- |-· s||||s.
C hapt e r 2
Purposes of Classroom
Assessment
Chapter 1 provided the context and arguments for the necessity of changing
classroom assessment. In this chapter, the emphasis is on the purposes of
classroom assessment. It asserts that assessment works best when its purpose is
clear, and when it is carefully designed to fit that purpose.
The focus of this document is on three
2
distinct but inter-related purposes for
classroom assessment: assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and
assessment of learning.
1. Assessment for learning is designed to give teachers information to modify
and differentiate teaching and learning activities. It acknowledges that
individual students learn in idiosyncratic ways, but it also recognizes that
there are predictable patterns and pathways that many students follow. It
requires careful design on the part of teachers so that they use the resulting
information to determine not only what students know, but also to gain
insights into how, when, and whether students apply what they know.
Teachers can also use this information to streamline and target instruction
and resources, and to provide feedback to students to help them advance their
learning.
2. Assessment as learning is a process of developing and supporting
metacognition for students. Assessment as learning focusses on the role of
the student as the critical connector between assessment and learning. When
students are active, engaged, and critical assessors, they make sense of
information, relate it to prior knowledge, and use it for new learning. This is
the regulatory process in metacognition. It occurs when students monitor
their own learning and use the feedback from this monitoring to make
adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes in what they understand.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 13
____________________
2. Some authors identify only two categories: assessment of learning and assessment for
learning. As such, the term assessment for learning encapsulates the ideas described here in
two categories—assessment for learning and assessment as learning.
14 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
It requires that teachers help students develop, practise, and become
comfortable with reflection, and with a critical analysis of their own learning.
3. Assessment of learning is summative in nature and is used to confirm what
students know and can do, to demonstrate whether they have achieved the
curriculum outcomes, and, occasionally, to show how they are placed in
relation to others. Teachers concentrate on ensuring that they have used
assessment to provide accurate and sound statements of students’
proficiency, so that the recipients of the information can use the information
to make reasonable and defensible decisions.
Balance and Tensions in Assessment Purposes
Assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of
learning all serve valuable, and different, purposes. It is not always easy,
however, getting the balance right. If we want to enhance learning for all
students, the role of assessment for learning and assessment as learning takes on
a much higher profile than assessment of learning. Traditionally, the focus of
classroom assessment has been on assessment of learning—measuring learning
after the fact, using the information to make judgements about students’
performances, and reporting these judgements to others. Teachers traditionally
have also been using assessment for learning when they built in diagnostic
processes, formative assessment, and feedback at various stages in the teaching
and learning process, though it was often informal and implicit. Systematic
assessment as learning—where students become critical analysts of their own
learning—was rare. Although some teachers have incorporated self-assessment
into their programs, few have systematically or explicitly used assessment to
develop students’ capacity to evaluate and adapt their own learning.
The first pyramid illustrated in Fig. 2.1 shows the traditional relationship of the
three approaches to one another, assessment of learning being the predominant
focus. The second pyramid suggests a reconfiguration of the balance among the
three approaches, one that emphasizes assessment as learning, and assessment
for learning. Assessment of learning has an important role to play, but is used
only when summative judgements are required.
It is purpose that dictates how assessment is constructed and used. If the
purpose is enhancing learning, the assessment needs to give students an
opportunity to make their learning apparent without anxiety or censure. If the
purpose is checking learning for reporting, teachers need to be especially
concerned about the quality of the assessment, and how it might be used by
others. It is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to serve three different
assessment purposes at the same time. It is important for educators to
understand the three assessment purposes, recognize the need to balance
among them, know which one they are using and why, and use them all
wisely.
Reflection:
What is an example
from your teaching
practice of assessment
for learning?
assessment as
learning? assessment
of learning?
Reflection:
Where are you on an
emerging-proficient
continuum in your
understanding of
different classroom
assessment purposes
and how purpose
influences the
assessment process?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 15
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
Fig. 2.1 Balance Among Assessment Purposes
Earl, Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning
Planning the Assessment Process
Careful planning is required to ensure that there are logical connections among
the purpose, methods, and use of the results. Classroom assessment is planned in
relation to purpose and in alignment with curriculum and instruction.
Curriculum, assessment, instruction, and learning are interconnected and interact
in an iterative and sometimes (but not always) cyclical process. All four need to
be aligned and coherent for the learning to be effective and meaningful.
The process of planning is what provides a blueprint that centres on the purpose,
makes the connections explicit, and creates a coherent organizational structure.
Against this blueprint teachers can constantly question their strategies: Are my
strategies still appropriate and aligned? Do I need to make adjustments or perhaps
even shift direction? Although teachers do not need to adhere strictly to their
plans, without proper planning it is difficult to ensure balance and coherence.
Section II outlines a set of planning considerations for designing and using
assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning.
AS
FOR
OF
OF
FOR
AS
Assessment Learning
Traditional Assessment Pyramid
Assessment Learning
Reconfigured Assessment Pyramid
Resource:
Wiggins and
McTighe,
Understanding
by Design
Backward Mapping: Planning with the End in Mind
As teachers, we sometimes begin planning a unit or sequence of learning activities by identifying a topic and favoured lessons and activities that
optimize the resources we already have on hand, then proceed with teaching the material. Somewhere at the end of this process, we assess what
students have learned, only to discover that the lessons or the assessment tools did not align well with curricular expectations.
Backward mapping, on the other hand, creates the necessary alignment among desired outcomes, assessment tools, and teaching strategies by
turning the planning process on its head. It prompts us to start at “the end” with the goals and outcomes we hope to achieve. Once the Where do
we need to end up? question is answered, then the subsequent questions How can we best get there? and How will I know when we’ve arrived?
can be considered. Backward mapping requires us not only to think about the curricular goals we want students to meet, but also to deconstruct
the complex learning processes involved to identify the stages of learning. It also requires us to consider the misconceptions and confusions we
might encounter along the way, and decide how we will assess whether students are progressing toward the goals. Only then should we begin
considering which assessment and instructional strategies would work best to support students in working toward the desired outcomes.
16 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
Reporting
The fundamental purpose of reporting is to enable parents and students to
understand the student’s performance at a specific point in time, and to decide
what is required for future progress. More complex forms of classroom assessment
require new ways of reporting. These new ways need to include both a frame of
reference and sufficient information, so that an outsider can make sense of the
information. Suggestions should be included about
how the information could be used to help make
reasoned judgements. The reports should clearly
state purpose and learning outcomes, and should
present an accurate profile of a student in relation to
these. G. Wiggins (1998) suggests that reporting be
outcome-based, honest yet fair, rich in context, and
user friendly. This kind of reporting
• explicitly identifies the purpose of the assessment
• provides sufficient context and points of reference to make interpretation
reasonable
• uses a variety of descriptors and symbols (e.g., letter or percent grades) that
have clear, agreed-upon, and stable meaning
• provides rich, detailed information and evidence (not just a single grade)
Assessment Tool Kit
The variety of methods available for collecting, interpreting, and reporting
information about what students know and can do is endless, and there are
many excellent resources for teachers.
3
Although some methods have come to
be associated with assessment during instruction and learning, and others
with assessment at the end of a unit or term, there are a variety of methods
that can be used for all three purposes: assessment for learning, assessment
as learning, and assessment of learning. What is important is that teachers
first clarify the purpose of assessment and then select the method that best
serves the purpose in the particular context. The list in Fig. 2.2 is not
exhaustive, but gives examples of the kinds of methods that teachers can
use for assessment purposes. Although the methods have been organized by
function—gathering information, interpreting information, keeping records, and
communicating—there are indeed interrelationships among them, and it is
important to note that some methods belong in multiple categories.
Revision of report cards is best not construed as a matter of teachers
coming up with new designs and grading systems based on their own
interests. Better reports require that we ask a radical question: Who is
the audience and what is the purpose of reporting?
(Wiggins, Educative Assessment: Designing Assessment to
Inform and Improve Student Performance)
____________________
3. See Resources for Further Reading at the end of this document for a partial list, as well as
the resources noted in the margins throughout.
Reflection:
Which of the
assessment methods
in Fig. 2.2 do you
use? For what
purposes?
Fig. 2.2 Assessment Tool Kit
Method Description
G a t h e r i n g I n f o r m a t i o n
Questioning asking focussed questions in class to elicit understanding
Observation systematic observations of students as they process ideas
Homework assignments to elicit understanding
Learning conversations or interviews investigative discussions with students about their understanding and confusions
Demonstrations, presentations opportunities for students to show their learning in oral and media performances, exhibitions
Quizzes, tests, examinations opportunities for students to show their learning through written response
Rich assessment tasks complex tasks that encourage students to show connections that they are making among concepts they are
learning
Computer-based assessments systematic and adaptive software applications connected to curriculum outcomes
Simulations, docudramas simulated or role-playing tasks that encourage students to show connections that they are making among concepts
they are learning
Learning logs descriptions students maintain of the process they go through in their learning
Projects and investigations opportunities for students to show connections in their learning through investigation and production of
reports or artifacts
I n t e r p r e t i n g I n f o r m a t i o n
Developmental continua profiles describing student learning to determine extent of learning, next steps, and to report progress and
achievement
Checklists descriptions of criteria to consider in understanding students’ learning
Rubrics descriptions of criteria with gradations of performance described and defined
Reflective journals reflections and conjecture students maintain about how their learning is going and what they need to do next
Self-assessment process in which students reflect on their own performance and use defined criteria for determining the status of
their learning
Peer assessment process in which students reflect on the performance of their peers and use defined criteria for determining the
status of their peers’ learning
R e c o r d - K e e p i n g
Anecdotal records focussed, descriptive records of observations of student learning over time
Student profiles information about the quality of students’ work in relation to curriculum outcomes or a student’s individual
learning plan
Video or audio tapes, photographs visual or auditory images that provide artifacts of student learning
Portfolios systematic collection of their work that demonstrates accomplishments, growth, and reflection about their learning
C o m m u n i c a t i n g
Demonstrations, presentations formal student presentations to show their learning to parents, judging panels, or others
Parent-student-teacher conferences opportunities for teachers, parents, and students to examine and discuss the student’s learning and plan
next steps
Records of achievement detailed records of students’ accomplishment in relation to the curriculum outcomes
Report cards periodic symbolic representations and brief summaries of student learning for parents
Learning and assessment newsletters routine summaries for parents, highlighting curriculum outcomes, student activities, and examples of their learning
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 17
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
18 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
AVignette of Assessment in Action
Assessment happens every day in classrooms. It is inextricably tied to
instruction, and is always mediated by the particular needs of students. The
following vignette shows two teachers’ learning journey as they collaborate,
plan, rethink, try out, and reflect on their assessment and instruction practices.
Their explanation sets the stage for the approaches elaborated upon in
subsequent chapters.
Christine was in the staff room of her Middle Years school, marking math tests and thinking about what she could do to help
Sam. He’d failed another math test. Sam was an enigma to her. Sometimes he responded well to questions she asked him
in class, but mostly he just looked down. Recently, he had begun disturbing others in class.
Paul, the drama teacher, came in. “Hi Chris. You look to be deep in thought. Is something wrong?”
“I’m concerned about Sam. He just failed another test. Have you noticed anything unusual about his behaviour in drama
class recently?”
“No. But I have been very impressed with the creative ideas he has for blocking the set.”
“Blocking the set? What do you mean?”
“It’s part of staging a play, deciding where to place things on the stage, what props we need, who should enter from where,
things like that. Sam has a different way of seeing things that really helped the class plan the stage layout. He’s able to
visualize the scene and the entire stage. He had several suggestions about where to put the props to divide the stage into
areas that are complex irregular shapes, but are all about equal size so that each area is just large enough for the
characters and the action. And he suggested a way to move just one wall to make a different configuration for another
scene, without disrupting the visual proportions.”
Christine looked surprised. “It sounds like he’s applying mathematical concepts. It doesn’t sound like the same Sam that I
had just been thinking about.” Christine began to think about how to tap into Sam’s ability to visualize spatial relationships
and use this to scaffold his math learning.
“You know, Paul, I’ve also been thinking about the professional growth plan that we’re to do. I’d like to do something to help
me better understand Sam. Maybe we could work as a team, if you’re interested? We could focus on differentiating
instruction, not just for Sam, but for all of the kids.” Christine had been thinking about the diversity of the students in her
class and the need for diversity in relation to their learning. Two of the students were following individual learning plans and
several others were new learners of English. In fact, one boy, Saad, had just arrived from North Africa.
The next day, Paul and Christine began drafting their joint professional growth plan. They agreed to take an action research
approach to understanding Sam’s and the others’ learning needs. The focus would be mathematics. Christine would work
with Sam in the classroom, and Paul would make focussed observations of Sam in drama class and one day a week in
Christine’s math class. Paul would also contribute and learn by being be a “critical friend” to Christine as they generated
ideas, planned instruction, debriefed how things worked, and reflected on what they were learning. They made a list of
books and websites to investigate, and agreed to meet once a week. They would each keep journals of their planning, the
results of their strategies, their reflections, and questions for follow-up.
Christine was about to start a mathematics unit on operations with fractions. Here was their chance to put their plan into
action. Before moving into adding and subtracting fractions, Christine needed to assess what each student already
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 19
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
understood about fractions, the gaps in understanding, and their thinking processes when working with fractions. Christine
and Paul developed a set of tasks designed to gather some initial understanding of students’ prior knowledge in relation to
the following outcomes from previous grades:
Each student was given grid paper, counters, and a set of fraction tiles to use in any way he or she wished. They were each
given six sheets of paper, with one task on each sheet. On their task sheets they were to demonstrate their thinking as they
came up with solutions. They could demonstrate this thinking by drawing or writing, or both. The first task would be done in
their “home groups.” The remaining five tasks would be done individually, but their explanations would be shared with their
“math buddy” later.
Christine explained that their work on these tasks would give them, as well as her, a good idea about what they needed to
do next in order to fully understand fractions and the operations with fractions that they would soon be learning.
Following are the six orientation tasks that the students were given:
1. For this task, you can work in your “home groups.” You’ll need the following fraction tiles.
Suppose the following shape is 1 whole.
By placing fraction tiles on the shape, represent one or more of the following fractions in as many ways as possible:
1/2, 2/3, 1/6, 3/4.
Draw and write the symbols for all the equivalent fractions that you make.
2. Which fraction is larger: 1/6 or 1/5? Show or explain your thinking.
3. Replace the “?” with a number to complete the following equation: 18/24 = 6/?
4. Put the following fractions in order from smallest to largest: 3/4, 1/6, 4/3, 5/6, 7/6, 7/12, 1/5.
5. Suzanne has 11 cookies, and she wants to share them with her 3 friends. How many cookies will Suzanne and
each of her friends get? Show how you know with a diagram.
6. (a) Odette and George each have the same kind of chocolate bar. Odette still has 3/4 of her chocolate bar left.
George has 7/12 of his left. Who has more chocolate left? Show how you know this with a diagram.
(b) How much chocolate do Odette and George have in total?
As they were approaching the end of the math class, Christine asked the students to look at the six sheets that they had been
working on and make two piles. One pile would contain the tasks they thought they understood how to do; they marked all of
the pages in this pile with a check mark (). The other pile would contain the tasks they felt they didn’t fully understand, or
yellow red blue green
• basic concepts and representations of fractions: transfers easily among concrete, pictorial,
verbal, and symbolic representations
• ordering of fractions: independently orders a sequence of fractions involving any combination of
conditions
• equivalent fractions: given a fraction, can find and state a whole series of equivalent fractions
• communicating mathematical thinking in fractions: work is shown and explanations are clear
and fully developed; use of mathematical language is precise
20 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
ones where they were unsure about how to proceed. These pages were marked with a question mark (?). After class, Christine
reviewed the task sheets.
At the beginning of the next math class, the students were given their math task sheets and, with their math buddies, shared
their thinking and how they arrived at their solutions. The math buddies’ task was to ask for more information or clarification
about their buddies’ thinking. During these exchanges, Christine circulated about the room, observing and making notes
about their understandings, gaps, and misconceptions.
In a class debriefing with the students about the tasks, Christine asked questions.
Christine: Let’s start with the second task. Sabrina, which fraction is larger, 1/6 or 1/5? How do you know?
Sabrina: 1/5 is larger. I know because I drew two identical circles and cut one into 5 equal parts and the other into 6. When
you look at them, the slice that represents 1/5th is bigger. If it were a pizza, I’d rather be sharing among 5 than 6. That way I
get more.
Christine: Clifford, do you agree?
Clifford: Yes I do. If the whole thing is cut into 5 pieces, then the pieces are bigger than if it is cut into 6 pieces.
Christine: So, 1/5 is bigger than 1/6. Even though 6 is bigger than 5. Sam? Is that true?
Sam: Yeah, it kinda doesn’t make sense but when you look at it in a picture, you can see it. When there are fewer pieces,
the number on the bottom of the fraction is smaller. And the pieces are bigger.
Christine: Anthony, what do you think about the third task? What does the “?” stand for?
Anthony: I’m not sure. It might be 8. I tried to think about having 24 marbles and if I took 18 of them, that would be 18 of 24.
So, if I had 6 marbles out of something and it was the same, I think it would be out of 8, but I’d only have 6 marbles. I don’t
know. It’s confusing.
Christine: Any thoughts about this one, Penny?
Penny: Yeah, 18/24 is 3/4 and 6/8 is also 3/4. So, Anthony is right. The question mark stands for 8.
Christine: Let’s look at the fourth task. Trevor, what did you think is the largest fraction, and why?
Trevor: 4/3 and 7/6 are the largest because they’re both larger than one. 4/3 is the same as 8/6, which is larger than 7/6.
Therefore, 4/3 is the largest fraction.
Based on her observations of students working on the tasks (in groups and individually), their explanations of their thinking
to their math buddies, her review of their task sheets, and the questioning in class, Christine completed an observation form
that she and Paul had designed. The accompanying chart provides a sample of her records.
When Christine met with Paul next, she explained how this process of collecting evidence of students’ understanding had
already shown her much. After Paul had reviewed her notes, he said, “Well, it looks like the kids are all over the map in their
understanding. And Sam doesn’t stand out as a problem. His profile is not that different from some of the others. He actually
seems to have a pretty good sense of the concepts. Am I right?”
“Yes. Sam has trouble expressing what he knows and can do, but I think he basically understands the concepts. It’s as if he
doesn’t have the mathematical language to represent what he is thinking. The pictures he draws are accurate, but that
doesn’t translate into the abstract language of mathematics. What I find amazing is that there are many kids like Sam who
get the concepts, but don’t know how to express what they know. And, there are some who really need to have more direct
experience with the concepts related to ‘parts of a unit’ before they go on to do operations with fractions. A couple of them
need even more than that. I need to find a way for them to catch up.”
Based on what each student needed to learn next, Christine began planning her instruction and determining groups. Many of
the students already demonstrated a solid grasp of the concepts and were ready to move forward with some consolidation
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 21
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
Summary of Observations:
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22 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
Student Understanding Feedback, ideas, and follow-up
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Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 23
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
and extension of their learning. This included Trevor, Bill, and Saad. With Saad’s emerging English language skills, Christine
and his group members needed to help him, but he seemed ready for more challenging math tasks.
A second set of students seemed to understand the concepts, but needed to work on describing their work in mathematical
language. Most of them were not yet confident about their knowledge because they were not able to communicate what they
knew. They needed some direct instruction so that they could express themselves mathematically and be better positioned
to do operations. This included Sam.
However, rather than forming groups within these two sets, Christine and Paul opted to try small mixed groups made up from
across these two larger sets. Those who were already adeptly using mathematical language may be able to model this
language for the others in their groups. For these mixed groups, Christine and Paul planned a series of challenges designed
to provide practice and consolidation of their understandings and skills with adding and subtracting fractions.
Another group would benefit by working intensively with manipulatives and having opportunities to practise and talk about
relationships of parts of a unit. Without a solid grasp of these concepts, they would feel frustrated, and would not be able to
fully perform operations with fractions. Christine intended to work very closely with this group to help them catch up to the
other groups. This group included Clifford and Lydia. Lydia was a concern, even though Christine was comfortable with the
way she was programming for her according to her individualized learning plan. Christine would continue to work with her
individually, and include her in as many class activities as possible.
Christine had some more assessment sleuthing to do with some of the other students. She needed to find out more about
what was going on with Anthony, for example, before she could determine which group would best fit his needs. Penny was
going to be a challenge. She was so sure of herself, dependent on rules and unbending in her convictions. Christine decided
to put her in the group with Sam because they would be working on developing language to describe equivalences, and this
would reinforce the idea that there are several ways to represent fractions.
In planning their instructional strategies for the unit, Christine and Paul discussed some of the reading they had been doing.
Paul was particularly interested in helping students develop the “habits of mind” that are essential for learning new
information and skills, and in knowing how to act on what they learn. Young people require explicit teaching, modelling, and
practice in order to develop these habits.
From Christine’s point of view, these habits of mind are essential in math. To be successful in math, students need to view
and represent problems in various ways, form a hypothesis, and find solutions. This requires, for example, thinking flexibly,
questioning, applying past knowledge to new situations, imagining and innovating, taking risks, and persisting. As Christine
discovered, “Many of the students are not very aware of their own thinking processes and they don’t seem to have ways of
knowing if they are on the right track or not. I was surprised by the number of students who placed question marks on their
task sheets—even those who completed the tasks successfully. They wanted me to tell them if they are right or not. Maybe
working on habits of mind will help them reflect on their own work.”
Christine began the next day by introducing the Sixteen Habits of Mind, which they would use increasingly in their work
throughout the rest of the year:
Habits of Mind
1. persisting 9. thinking and communicating with clarity and precision
2. managing impulsivity 10. gathering data through all of the senses
3. listening with understanding and empathy 11. creating, imagining, innovating
4. thinking flexibly 12. responding with wonderment and awe
5. thinking about thinking 13. taking responsible risks
6. striving for accuracy 14. finding humour
7. questioning and posing questions 15. thinking independently
8. applying past knowledge to new situations 16. remaining open to continuous learning
(Costa and Kallick, Habits of Mind)
24 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
To start, they would focus on posing questions. The class discussed how questioning what you are thinking can lead to new
ideas. Christine used examples from television, showing how detectives ask questions to find more evidence and come
closer to understanding what might have happened. Sometimes their questions cause them to change their hypotheses or to
think about the problem in completely different ways. Like detectives, the students would be learning to think about their
thinking. What questions could you ask about the way you are thinking? What makes sense and what doesn’t, and why?
What makes you wonder about your ideas?
Christine discussed with the class how they were going to approach this unit, their groupings, and the kinds of learning they
would be doing. Together they moved the furniture into a new configuration of activity stations for group work, and quiet
places for individual work. She also indicated that they would write their habits-of-mind questions in their notebooks and on
sticky notes that would later be assembled into concept maps.
For the next few math sessions, the students continued working in their groups on the assignments that Christine and Paul
had developed. Christine worked with each group and with individuals to give them focussed, descriptive feedback and more
complex challenges that would enable them to apply new learning in a number of contexts. As she worked with them, she
wrote her observations about each student on a clipboard. During the one class per week in which Paul was able to be in
the math class, he also observed and discussed with the students their questions and the concept maps they were
developing.
Near the end of every math session, the students shared with the class some of their questions, and many ideas and
possible explanations emerged. Christine asked students to write the idea or explanation that they thought was most sound
in their notebooks. By reviewing these, Christine could get a sense of what they were thinking.
When Christine and Paul met next, they decided that the next habit of mind that they would introduce was “gathering data
through all senses.” They also agreed that they needed some way for the students to monitor their own learning about
fractions. They began discussing criteria that students could use when Paul asked, “Why are we doing this for them if they’re
learning to be skilled at self-assessment? We can all develop criteria together.”
The criteria that the class developed, with Paul’s guidance in maintaining focus on the learning outcomes, are as follows:
The students used the criteria to consider the work that they had done in the unit. By reviewing worksheets, project notes,
and other materials in their math folders, they answered the self-assessment questions and provided evidence for their
answers, just like detectives.
As they approached the end of the unit, Paul and Christine struggled with how they would communicate all that they had
learned about the students’ accomplishments, and all that the students had learned about their own learning, using only
Self-Assessment Criteria for Operations in Fractions
Knowledge Skills Communication Insight
Do I understand operations
with fractions, and why
they’re important to learn?
Do I ask thoughtful
questions to help me better
understand?
Can I do operations with
fractions (add, subtract) and
know when to use them?
Am I sure that my work
does not contain calculation
errors?
Have I shown my work and
explained my thinking clearly
and accurately so that others
can understand it?
Can I show my
understanding in pictures, in
writing, in speaking, and in
numbers and symbols?
Have I used correct
mathematical language?
Can I find alternative ways
to solve the problem?
Do I understand operations
with fractions well enough
to use them in new
contexts?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 25
Pur po s e s o f C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
letter grades and short comments on a report card. They decided to use the anecdotal comment space to provide a concise
summary of each student’s current level of understanding, and share the detailed information at parent-teacher night.
With guidance, each student prepared a package that included
• the student’s self-assessment based on the “self-assessment criteria”
• the teacher’s assessment of the student’s work linked to the outcomes-based criteria for operations with fractions
• examples of student work as evidence for the statements, with reflections by the student
• notes about growth made by the student and the teacher
• ideas for work at home
While assembling the packages, Clifford said, “You know, some of us think that we should have a celebration of our work.”
Paul and Christine agreed, and during the next session they guided the class in drafting the invitation, preparing a display
and presentations, and organizing a process for parents to participate in math.
On Friday the room was buzzing. Each student shared his or her package of material with his or her parents. Some students
made presentations for groups of parents about aspects they found interesting in what they had learned about their learning.
These presentations revealed how different the learning process was for different students.
Saad and Sam both spoke about how they could use mathematical language to describe what they were doing, and about
how they had very different ways of understanding their work with fractions. Saad worked with the numbers and Sam “saw”
the relationships. Penny shared how important it was to consider a range of alternatives. As she said, “There may be several
ways to do something, and when you think about all of them, you can see advantages and disadvantages and make better
choices. Just knowing the rules isn’t enough. You have to use the ‘reasonableness test’ to check your solutions, as well as
the rules.”
In the following week, Paul and Christine met to review the activities of the past few weeks.
“Well, that was a successful start to our journey in differentiating learning,” said Paul. “Seeing
the look on Saad’s father’s face was worth it all.”
“And hearing Sam confidently using mathematical language to explain the way in which he
sees relationships was also worth it,” replied Christine. “We have to credit Sam for steering
us toward this learning journey. It’s amazing how focussing on each student’s learning can
accomplish so much. Now we really have to keep going with this. And find a way to do this
in all subject areas.”
M
Invitation to Parents to Share in Our Math Learning
M
We invite you to join us this Friday afternoon in a celebration of learning about
fractions. The students have been preparing packages of their work and reflections
to share with you. There will also be demonstrations and presentations that we
hope will provide you with deeper insight into what we have learned.
M
Reflection:
What implications of
the approaches in this
vignette do you see
for student
learning in your
classes?
26 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 2
“And a way to share it with our colleagues,” Paul added. “Let’s write a formal reflection on
the whole process, what worked and what didn’t, and present our research to the rest of the
staff.”
At the next staff meeting, they shared their story. And the process continued.
Reflection:
As you read the rest
of the document,
think about how
Christine
and Paul are using
assessment for
various purposes.
Three Purposes
of Assessment
Thinking about assessment from the perspective of purpose rather than
method puts the emphasis on the intended end result. The chapters in this
section describe in detail three different assessment purposes: assessment for
learning (Chapter 3); assessment as learning (Chapter 4); and assessment of
learning (Chapter 5). The order (for, as, of) is intentional, indicating the
importance of assessment for learning and assessment as learning in
enhancing student learning. Assessment of learning should be reserved for
circumstances when it is necessary to make summative decisions.
In planning, developing, and using assessment methods that are “fit for
purpose,” teachers think about curriculum and about their students as they
ask themselves the following questions:
(Adapted from Manitoba Education
and Youth, Senior 2 Science:
A Foundation for Implementation)
These questions are used throughout Section II to show the key planning
considerations in designing assessment.
Key Ideas in Section II
• Classroom assessment is used for various purposes: assessment
for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning.
• Each of these purposes requires a different role for teachers,
different planning, and raises different quality issues.
• The most important part of assessment is the interpretation and
use of the information that is gleaned for its intended purpose.
S
e
c
t
i
o
n

I
I
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 27
How can I use the
information from this
assessment?
How can I ensure quality in
this assessment process?
What assessment
method should I use?
What am I assessing?
Why am I assessing?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 29
C hapt e r 3
Assessment for Learning
What Is Assessment for Learning?
Assessment for learning occurs throughout the learning process. It is
designed to make each student’s understanding visible, so that teachers can
decide what they can do to help students progress. Students learn in
individual and idiosyncratic ways, yet, at the same time, there are
predictable patterns of connections and preconceptions that some students
may experience as they move along the continuum from emergent to
proficient. In assessment for learning, teachers use assessment as an
investigative tool to find out as much as they can about what their
students know and can do, and what confusions, preconceptions, or
gaps they might have.
The wide variety of information that teachers collect about their students’
learning processes provides the basis for determining what they need to do next
to move student learning forward. It provides the basis for providing descriptive
feedback for students and deciding on groupings, instructional strategies, and
resources.
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment for Learning
Assessment for learning occurs throughout the learning process. It is interactive,
with teachers
• aligning instruction with the targeted outcomes
• identifying particular learning needs of students or groups
• selecting and adapting materials and resources
• creating differentiated teaching strategies and learning opportunities for
helping individual students move forward in their learning
• providing immediate feedback and direction to students
Reflection:
Think about an example
of assessment for
learning in your own
teaching and try to
develop it further
as you read this
chapter.
30 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 3
Teachers also use assessment for learning to enhance students’ motivation and
commitment to learning. When teachers commit to learning as the focus of
assessment, they change the classroom culture to one of student success. They
make visible what students believe to be true, and use that information to help
students move forward in manageable, efficient, and respectful ways.
Planning Assessment for Learning
When the intent is to enhance student learning, teachers use assessment for
learning to uncover what students believe to be true and to learn more about the
connections students are making, their prior knowledge, preconceptions, gaps,
and learning styles. Teachers use this information to structure and differentiate
instruction and learning opportunities in order to reinforce and build on
productive learning, and to challenge beliefs or ideas that are creating problems
or inhibiting the next stage of learning. And they use this information to provide
their students with descriptive feedback that will further their learning.
Why am I
assessing?
Using Questioning in Class to Expose Learning
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»»||| .s||a-¨ .|-.
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· ls -|.·||· . |.·| »| . ||-»|·! \|.| -·|1-a·- sa¡¡»||s ·»a| .as»-|!
· la »|.| ».·s .|- ||- .a|m.|s |a ||- s|»|· |||- |am.as! la »|.| ».·s .|- ||-· a»| |||- |am.as!
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· l-s·|||- »|.| ·»a |||a| |s ||- |-m¡-|.|a|- »| ||- ¡»-m.
· \|.| 1» ·»a sas¡-·| |.¡¡-a-1 |» ||- s|.|a |a|-||! \|·!
\|a1-a|s' aa1-|s|.a1|a- ·.a |- -·¡»s-1 a»| »a|· |||»a-| ||-|| |-s¡»as-s |» ||- |-.·|-|'s ¡a-s||»as. |a| .|s» |||»a-| ||- ¡a-s||»as ||-· |»|ma|.|-
|» .1·.a·- ||-|| aa1-|s|.a1|a-.
Resource:
Assessment Reform
Group, Assessment
for Learning Beyond
the Black Box
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 31
As s e s s me nt f o r L e ar ni ng
Teachers use the curriculum as the starting point in deciding what to assess, and
to focus on why and how students gain their understanding. Assessment for
learning requires ongoing assessment of the curriculum outcomes that comprise
the intended learning. Teachers create assessments that will expose students’
thinking and skills in relation to the intended learning, and the common
preconceptions.
Teachers use focussed observations, questioning, conversations, quizzes,
computer-based assessments, learning logs, or whatever other methods are likely
to give them information that will be useful for their planning and their teaching
(see Fig. 2.2, Assessment Tool Kit, page 17). Each time a teacher plans an
assessment for learning, he or she needs to think about what information the
assessment is designed to expose, and must decide which assessment approaches
are most likely to give detailed information about what each student is thinking
and learning.
The methods need to incorporate a variety of ways for students to demonstrate
their learning. For example, opportunities for students to complete tasks orally or
through visual representation are important for those who are struggling with
reading, or for those who are new English-language learners.
Assessment for learning is of high quality when a teacher can use it to make
decisions about students’ learning with enough specificity to be able to provide
descriptive feedback, and to design the next stage of learning.
Reliability
Because assessment for learning focusses on the nature of students’ thinking and
learning at any given point in time, and is used to determine the next phase of
teaching and learning, reliability depends on the accuracy and consistency of
teachers’ descriptions of the learning. Teachers will want to be sure that they are
How can I ensure
quality in this
assessment process?
What assessment
method should I
use?
What am I
assessing?
32 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 3
actually getting a clear picture of how the students are thinking and what it is
that they understand or find confusing. A single assessment is rarely sufficient to
produce detailed insights into students’ learning. Instead, teachers use a range of
assessments in different modes (e.g., oral, visual, active, written), and do them at
different times to develop a rolling picture of the student’s progress and
development. Teachers are always looking for evidence and descriptions of each
student’s way of understanding the concepts.
One of the best ways for teachers to gain reliable insights into how students are
thinking is to work with other teachers. When teachers share their views about
students’ work and the nature and quality of the learning in relation to
curriculum outcomes, they gain consistency and coherence in their descriptive
accounts, and they can feel more confident about the final decisions and next
steps in teaching.
Reference Points
Curriculum learning outcomes or, for some students, learning outcomes of an
individualized learning plan, are the reference points for assessment for learning.
They serve as guides in providing feedback and in planning instruction. Learning
expectations that are clear and detailed, with exemplars and criteria that differentiate
the quality and the changes along the learning continuum, enable teachers to
accurately consider each student’s work in relation to these expectations.
Validity
Validity in assessment for learning is all about how well assessment can shed
light on students’ understanding of the ideas that are contained in the learning
outcomes and in the effectiveness of the choices and the guidance that the
teacher provides for the next stage of learning. Teachers can judge the validity of
their assessment processes by monitoring how well their assessment shows the
progress of students’ learning along the continuum of the curriculum.
Record-Keeping
Record-keeping is an important part of ensuring quality in assessment for learning.
Teachers keep detailed notes, not for making comparative judgements among the
students, but to provide each student with individualized descriptive feedback that
will help further that student’s learning. Good record-keeping will show whether
the student work is on track and, when it is not, raise questions about the
instruction and ways it could be adjusted. The focus of record-keeping in
assessment for learning is on documenting individual student learning and
annotating it in relation to the continuum of learning. The focus is also on
identifying groups of students with similar learning patterns so that instruction can
be efficiently differentiated. Teachers’ records need to be based on the curriculum
learning outcomes, and need to give detailed accounts of student accomplishments
in relation to these outcomes, with evidence to support these accounts.
Resource:
Gipps, Beyond
Testing: Toward a
Theory of Educational
Assessment
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 33
As s e s s me nt f o r L e ar ni ng
Feedback to Students
Descriptive feedback is the key to successful assessment for
learning. Students learn from assessment when the teacher
provides specific, detailed feedback and direction to each
student to guide his or her learning. Feedback for learning is
part of the teaching process; the part that comes after the
initial instruction takes place, when information is provided
about the way that the student has processed and interpreted
the original material. It is the vital link between the teacher’s
assessment of a student’s learning and the action following
that assessment.
To be successful, feedback needs to be immediate and identify
the way forward. It should not simply tell learners whether their
answers are right or wrong, or simply provide evaluative
feedback in the form of grades
and short, non-specific
comments of praise or censure.
This latter kind of feedback
affects students’ senses of
themselves and tells them how
they stand in relation to others,
but it offers very little direction
for moving forward. Feedback
for learning, on the other hand,
How can I use the
information from
this assessment?
Evaluative and Descriptive Feedback
Evaluative Feedback
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· |a1--m-a|s »| ·»||-·|a-ss »| |a·»||-·|a-ss
Descriptive Feedback
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(\1.¡|-1 ||»m ||¡¡s -| .|.. What Makes a Good
Primary School Teacher? Expert Classroom
Strategiesi
Feedback for Learning
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An Example of “Closing the Gap” Feedback Prompts
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s||a·|a|- »| s»m- 1||-·||»a |a| .|- |||-|· |» ·.||· »a ||»m |-|-.i
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(\1.¡|-1 ||»m l.||. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximise Student Learningi
34 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 3
is descriptive and specific. Descriptive feedback makes explicit connections
between students’ thinking and the learning that is expected. It addresses faulty
interpretations and lack of understanding. It provides the student with manageable
next steps and an example of what good work looks like.
Feedback for learning provides evidence that confirms or challenges an idea that
a student holds. It gives recognition for achievement and growth, and it includes
clear directions for improvement. It encourages students to think about, and
respond to, the suggestions. And it focusses on both quality and learning.
Differentiating Learning
Assessment for learning provides information about what students already know
and can do, so that teachers can design the most appropriate next steps in
instruction. When teachers are focussed on assessment for learning, they are
continually making comparisons between the curriculum expectations and
the continuum of learning for individual students, and adjusting their
instruction, grouping practices, and resources. Each student can then receive
the material, support, and guidance that he or she needs to progress, without
experiencing unnecessary confusion and frustration. By carefully planning
and targeting what they do to help each student, teachers can reduce the
misunderstandings and provide just-in-time support for the next stage of
learning, and streamline and speed up the learning process.
Reflection:
How have you used
assessment to determine
the differences in your
students’ learning
needs? How did this
influence the
instruction that
followed?
The Pool Table Task
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l-a-|| \|1|| xam|-| »| l||s xam|-| »| \¡a.|-s
» J ¯ I:
1 ¯ | I¯
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(\1.¡|-1 ||»m l.||. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learningi
Resource:
Tomlinson, The
Differentiated
Classroom: Responding
to the Needs of All
Learners
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 35
As s e s s me nt f o r L e ar ni ng
Reading and Writing in Geography: An Example of Keeping Parents Informed
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l| ·»a |.·- .a· ¡a-s||»as »| ».a| m»|- |a|»|m.||»a. |--| ||-- |» ·»a|.·| m- .| .a· ||m-.
Reporting
Reporting in assessment for learning is based on open, frequent, and ongoing
communication with students and their parents about progress in learning,
methods that the teacher is using to ensure ongoing progress, and ways that
students, teachers, and parents might help move learning forward with minimal
misunderstanding and confusion for the student. The reports might focus on a
single outcome but more often on a series, or cluster, of outcomes. Reporting
should take into account what learning is expected, provide good models of what
students can achieve, and identify strategies for supporting students.
An Example of Assessment for Learning
Karen, an experienced primary-grade teacher, reflected upon her students’ growth in language arts over the term just
completed. She had focussed her instruction on constructing meaning from texts, and her students were immersed in a wide
variety of quality literature that was chosen to develop students’ comprehension skills before, during, and after reading and
listening. She observed that there was a wide distribution along the continuum of learning among the students in her
classroom. For example, some students were noticing various authors’ writing techniques, some were requiring much
guidance in responding to texts, and some were showing interest in fairy tales. With this in mind, and to challenge the
proficient writers and provide guided practice for those who were just emerging as writers, Karen decided to focus on the
process of writing. She used differentiated instruction through assessment for learning to address the needs of all students in
her classroom.
36 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 3
Karen was interested in how her students expressed their ideas in writing, and how they made connections between the
strategies that established authors use and their own writing. By assessing their thinking and writing processes, she was
able to determine what specific instructional strategies would best advance each student’s learning.
Karen targeted the following curriculum outcomes to focus her instruction and assessment for learning:
• Create Original Texts (to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms)
• Generate Ideas (focus a topic for oral, written, and visual texts using a variety of
strategies)
• Appraise Own and Others’ Work (share own stories and creations in various ways with
peers; give support and offer feedback to peers using pre-established criteria when
responding to own and others’ creations)
• Appreciate Diversity (connect the insights of individuals in oral, print, and other media
text to personal experiences)
What am I assessing?
I am assessing my students’ abilities to
express their own ideas in writing and to
appraise their own and other’s writing.
Why am I assessing?
I want to determine ways to differentiate
instruction in order to help each student
progress in his or her writing and make
connections to his or her reading.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 37
As s e s s me nt f o r L e ar ni ng
With the goal in mind of having her students make connections between reading and writing, Karen focussed on a genre
study of fairy tales and the process of writing. She gathered information about her students’ learning by observing them and
having conversations with them. She used the curriculum learning outcomes as the focus for her observations and her
record-keeping.
Karen used a writers’ workshop format so that she could balance whole-class instruction and work in flexible groupings. In
the whole-class context, she used read-aloud and brainstorming methods to chart the strategies that established authors use
to write fairy tales, modelled the writing process, and had students share their writing and self-assessments.
During these whole-class strategies, Karen identified dynamic flexible groupings, which allowed students to progress in
various rhythms and at various rates toward independence. She determined which students would need to be guided
through interactive writing, which learning centres would be appropriate for which students, and which students would move
quickly into independent writing and the Author’s Chair. The centres included a drama centre, with puppets and props, and a
visual arts centre. The centres provided a forum in which emergent writers could generate and focus their ideas, and the
more proficient writers could hone their skills in using imagery, description, and dialogue.
Karen knew that in order to guide her students toward the desired outcomes, she needed to provide clear criteria for high-
quality work. Therefore, at the close of each workshop, she worked with the whole class to generate, revise, and refine a set
of criteria. As her students gained more experience with the writing process and fairy tales, their reflections about and
revisions of the criteria became more focussed. Based on the question, What does a quality fairy tale look and sound like?,
the students decided that there are three elements in a good fairy tale: (1) it has an idea about wishes, magic objects, or
trickery; (2) it has a problem to be solved; (3) it makes a connection to our community.
In order to manage her anecdotal records in an efficient and focussed way, Karen used a clipboard and notepaper formatted
as follows.
How can I ensure quality in this
assessment for learning process?
I can focus my observations on the targeted
outcomes and criteria.
I can observe my students in a variety of contexts
and tasks over time, and guide their portfolio choices .
I can keep accurate, effective, and manageable
records that show each student’s learning path.
What assessment method should I use?
I need an ongoing and focussed observation
approach during regular classroom
instruction and practice in which students
share and reflect throughout the writing
process, making their thinking and skills
visible.
The process of sharing and reflection on the part of the students provided Karen with the opportunity to identify specific
areas of need, which she then addressed through strategic instruction to the whole class, and to flexible groups, pairs, and
individuals, to ensure that all students were experiencing success. She saw that the emergent writers experienced success
as they developed their fairy tales through visual representations and drama performances. Karen highlighted these
students’ strengths in art and drama to help build their confidence, and to scaffold their writing skills while she modelled and
guided them to write a group fairy tale. Another group of students began using descriptive language to add interest to their
fairy tales, and she used the opportunity to teach a mini-lesson on using words to make “language pictures.” Yet another
group was experimenting with the use of dialogue in their first drafts, so she gave a mini-lesson on the use of quotation
marks.
At the end of the unit, Karen and her students reflected upon their criteria for high-quality work and assessed the students’
portfolios. They noticed that, with their successes, they were now ready to set new and more challenging learning goals.
Karen and her students used the assessment information that she had gathered to share with parents, and to plan the next
instruction to once again meet the various needs of her students along the continuum of learning.
How can I use the information from
this assessment?
I can provide descriptive feedback to
students and parents about students’
development as writers.
I can guide students in setting new and
increasingly challenging goals.
38 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 3
Targeted Outcomes
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Criteria (student-generated)
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Student Names Date
Assessment Context, Task, Product
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Summary of Planning Assessment for Learning
Why Assess?
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.1·.a·|a- s|a1-a| |-.|a|a-
Assess What?
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What Methods?
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s|a1-a|s' s||||s .a1 aa1-|s|.a1|a- ·|s|||-
Ensuring Quality
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Using the Information
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|--1|.·| .|»a| s|a1-a| |-.|a|a- .a1 |1-.s |»|
sa¡¡»||
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 39
As s e s s me nt f o r L e ar ni ng
C hapt e r 4
Assessment as Learning
What Is Assessment as Learning?
Assessment as learning focusses on students and emphasizes assessment as a
process of metacognition (knowledge of one’s own thought processes) for
students. Assessment as learning emerges from the idea that learning is not
just a matter of transferring ideas from someone who is knowledgeable to
someone who is not, but is an active process of cognitive restructuring that
occurs when individuals interact with new ideas. Within this view of
learning, students are the critical connectors between assessment and
learning. For students to be actively engaged in creating their own
understanding, they must learn to be critical assessors who make sense of
information, relate it to prior knowledge, and use it for new learning. This
is the regulatory process in metacognition; that is, students become adept
at personally monitoring what they are learning, and use what they
discover from the monitoring to make adjustments, adaptations, and even major
changes in their thinking.
Assessment as learning is based in
research about how learning
happens, and is characterized by
students reflecting on their own
learning and making adjustments
so that they achieve deeper
understanding. P. Afflerbach
(2002) notes (in the context of
reading assessment):
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 41
\- mas| ·»as|.a||· |-m|a1 »a|s-|·-s ||.| ||- a|||m.|-
¡a|¡»s- »| -·.|a.||»a |s |» -a.||- s|a1-a|s |» -·.|a.|-
||-ms-|·-s.
(|»s|.. l-.ss-ss|a- \ss-ssm-a|¨i
Dimensions of Metacognition
Knowledge of Cognition
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· |a»»|-1-- .|»a| »|-a .a1 »|· |» as- . s||.|--·
Regulation of Cognition
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1·s|-||»as 1-·|.a|sms¨i
Reflection:
Think about an
example of
assessment as
learning in your own
teaching and try
to develop it further
as you read this
chapter.
42 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
Too many students have reading assessment done to them,
or for them. Only reading assessment that is done with
students and eventually by students can foster true
independence and success in reading. Accomplished
readers are flexible in their routines of metacognition and
comprehension monitoring, as demanded by the particular
act of reading. The ability to self-assess is multifaceted,
and good readers apply their self-assessment strategies on
demand (p. 99, emphasis added).
Although Afflerbach’s comment is specifically about reading, it is applicable to
many other areas of learning as well. Students become productive learners when
they see that the results of their work are part of critical and constructive
decision-making. If young people are to engage in
continuous learning in environments where knowledge is
always changing, they need to internalize the needing-to-
know and challenging-of-assumptions as habits of mind.
The ultimate goal in assessment as learning is for students
to acquire the skills and the habits of mind to be
metacognitively aware with increasing independence.
Assessment as learning focusses on the explicit fostering
of students’ capacity over time to be their own best
assessors, but teachers need to start by presenting and
modelling external, structured opportunities for students
to assess themselves.
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment as Learning
A high level of student participation in the assessment process does not diminish
teachers’ responsibilities. Rather, assessment as learning extends the role of
teachers to include designing instruction and assessment that allows all students
to think about, and monitor, their own learning.
Assessment as learning is based on
the conviction that students are
capable of becoming adaptable,
flexible, and independent in their
learning and decision-making. When
teachers involve students and promote
their independence, they are giving
them the tools to undertake their own
learning wisely and well.
To become independent learners, students must develop sophisticated
combinations of skills, attitudes, and dispositions. Self-monitoring and
Monitoring Metacognition
· \|.| |s ||- ¡a|¡»s- »| |-.|a|a- ||-s- ·»a·-¡|s .a1 s||||s!
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\».|-a-ss¨i
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(\.1|-|. l»|m.||·- \ss-ssm-a| .a1 ||- l-s|-a »| las||a·||»a.| \·s|-ms¨i
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 43
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
evaluation are complex and difficult skills that do not develop quickly or
spontaneously. Like any other complex set of skills, becoming metacognitively
aware requires modelling and teaching on the part of the teacher, and practice on
the part of the student.
The teacher’s role in promoting the development of independent learners through
assessment as learning is to
• model and teach the skills of self-assessment
• guide students in setting goals, and monitoring their progress toward them
• provide exemplars and models of good practice and quality work that reflect
curriculum outcomes
• work with students to develop clear criteria of good practice
• guide students in developing internal feedback or self-monitoring
mechanisms to validate and question their own thinking, and to become
comfortable with the ambiguity and uncertainty that is inevitable in learning
anything new
• provide regular and challenging opportunities to practise, so that students can
become confident, competent self-assessors
• monitor students’ metacognitive processes as well as their learning, and
provide descriptive feedback
• create an environment where it is safe for students to take chances and where
support is readily available
Students need to experience continuous and genuine success. This does not mean
that students should not experience failure but, rather, that they need to become
comfortable with identifying different perspectives
and challenge these perspectives; they need to learn
to look for misconceptions and inaccuracies and
work with them toward a more complete and
coherent understanding.
Students (both those who have been successful—in
a system that rewards safe answers—and those who
are accustomed to failure) are often unwilling to
confront challenges and take the risks associated with making their thinking
visible. Teachers have the responsibility of creating environments in which
students can become confident, competent self-assessors by providing emotional
security and genuine opportunities for involvement, independence, and
responsibility.
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s»m-||m-s |.|| .| |||s|. .a1 ||.| |.||a|- |s .|| ||-||. !|- |||·| |s |» |-|¡
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44 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
Planning Assessment as Learning
In order to know what steps to take to support students’ independence in
learning, teachers use assessment as learning to obtain rich and detailed
information about how students are progressing in developing the habits of mind
and skills to monitor, challenge, and adjust their own learning. For their part,
students learn to monitor and challenge their own understanding, predict the
outcomes of their current level of understanding, make reasoned decisions about
their progress and difficulties, decide what else they need to know, organize and
reorganize ideas, check for consistency between different pieces of information,
draw analogies that help them advance their understanding, and set personal
goals.
In assessment as learning, teachers are interested in how students understand
concepts, and in how they use metacognitive analysis to make adjustments to
their understanding. Teachers monitor students’ goal-setting process and their
What am I
assessing?
Why am I
assessing?
A Nunavut Example of Reflection and Decision-Making
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m»1a|-. s|a1-a|s »»|| |»--||-| »a . ·|.ss ¡|»|-·| |-|.|-1 |» ||- ||.1|||»a.| laa|| ¡||a·|¡|- »| Avatimik Kamattiarniq (-a·||»am-a|.|
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s||||s »| laa|| ·a||a|-. |.a-|| |· l|1-|s |» ·»aa- ·|||1|-a .a1 m.|a|.|a-1. |-||a-1. .a1 -|.|»|.|-1 a¡»a |||»a-|»a| ||-|| ||·-s.
!|- ·|.ss ¡|»|-·| |-¡a||-s ||.| s|a1-a|s ·»||.|»|.|- |» s-|-·| .a .·||·||· ||.| 1-m»as||.|-s .a aa1-|s|.a1|a- »| Avatimik Kamattiarniq .a1
|.|- . s|-¡ |»».|1 ||. \||-| ·»m¡|-||a- . ·»mmaa||· m.¡¡|a- .·||·||· ||.| |»·ass-s »a |||s ¡||a·|¡|-. s|a1-a|s -·¡|»|- »|.| ||-|| ·»mmaa||· 1»-s
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|a·»|·-1 |a m.||a- . 1-·|s|»a |»--||-|. l-·|s|»a·m.||a- |· ·»as-asas |s . 1||||·a|| aa1-||.||a-. |-¡a|||a- ¡.|||·|¡.a|s |» ¡.· ·|»s- .||-a||»a |»
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||-s- ¡||a·|¡|-s |-|.|- |» Avatimik Kamattiarniq. !|- s|a1-a|s .|- |as||a·|-1 |» |-||-·| |a1|·|1a.||· »a ||- ·»a·-¡|a.|. s»·|.|. .a1 ¡-|s»a.|
.s¡-·|s »| »|.| ||-· .|- |-.|a|a-. !|- ·»a·-¡|a.| .s¡-·| |s |.s-1 »a ||- ¡||a·|¡|- »| -a·||»am-a|.| s|-».|1s||¡. ||- s»·|.| .s¡-·| |a·|a1-s .a
.a.|·s|s »| ||- -|»a¡'s .|||||· |» as- ·»||.|»|.||»a .a1 ·»as-asas 1-·|s|»a·m.||a- |» .··»m¡||s| ||- |.s|. .a1 ||- ¡-|s»a.| .s¡-·| ¡|»m¡|s -.·|
s|a1-a| |» .ss-ss ||s »| |-| »»a |-.|a|a- .a1 |»|- |a ||- ¡|»·-ss.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 45
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
thinking about their learning, and the strategies students use to support or
challenge, adjust, and advance their learning.
Teachers can use a range of methods in assessment as learning (see Fig. 2.2,
Assessment Tool Kit, page 17), as long as the methods are constructed to elicit
detailed information both about students’ learning and about their metacognitive
processes. Teachers teach students how to use the methods so that they can
monitor their own learning, think about where they feel secure in their learning
and where they feel confused or uncertain, and decide about a learning plan.
Although many assessment methods have the potential to encourage reflection
and review, what matters in assessment as learning is that the methods allow
students to consider their own learning in relation to models, exemplars, criteria,
rubrics, frameworks, and checklists that provide images of successful learning.
Quality in assessment as learning depends on how well the assessment engages
students in considering and challenging their thinking, and in making judgements
about their views and understanding. Teachers establish high quality by ensuring
How can I ensure
quality in this
assessment process?
What assessment
method should I
use?
Mathematics Portfolio Letter
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· |»» ||-· |-.|a m.||-m.||·s |-s| (»»|||a- .|»a-. »»|||a- »||| »||-|s. as|a- ·»a·|-|- m.|-||.|s. |-.1|a- .|»a| ||- s»|a||»asi
· »|.| ||-· |||- .a1 1»a'| |||- .|»a| m.||-m.||·s
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.a.|·i- ||-|| »»a |-.|a|a-.
l-||»1|·.||· 1a||a- ||- ·»a|s-. s|a1-a|s |-·|-» ||-|| |a|||.| |-||-|s .a1 »|||- |»||»»·a¡ |-||-|s |» ||- |-.·|-| ||.| |a·|a1-
· . 1-s·||¡||»a »| ||- -·|-a| |» »||·| ||-|| -·¡-·|.||»as |»| |||s ·|.ss |.·- s» |.| |--a m-|
· |--1|.·| »a ||- ||a1s »| |-.·||a- .a1 |-s»a|·-s ||.| |-|¡-1 ||-m |-.|a m.||-m.||·s
· . 1-s·||¡||»a »| »|.| ||-· |.·- |-.|a-1 .|»a| ||-ms-|·-s .s |-.|a-|s
46 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
that students have the right tools and are accumulating the evidence needed to
make reasonable decisions about what it is that they understand or find
confusing, and what else they need to do to deepen their understanding.
Reliability
Reliability in assessment as learning is related to consistency and confidence in
students’ self-reflection, self-monitoring, and self-adjustment. As students
practise monitoring their own learning and analyzing it in relation to what is
expected, they eventually develop the skills to make consistent and reliable
interpretations of their learning. In the short term, however, teachers have the
responsibility of engaging students in the metacognitive processes. They do this
by scaffolding students’ understanding; providing criteria, exemplars, and
resources to help them analyze their own work; teaching them the necessary
skills to think about their own learning in relation to their prior understanding
and the curricular learning outcomes; and gathering evidence about how well
they are learning.
Reference Points
The reference points in assessment as learning are a blend of curricular
expectations and the individual student’s understanding at an earlier point in
time. Students compare their own learning over time with descriptions and
examples of expected learning.
Validity
Students are able to assess themselves only when they have a clear picture of
proficient learning and the various steps that need to be taken to attain the desired
expertise. Students need clear criteria and many varied examples of what good
work looks like, as well as opportunities to compare
their work to examples of good work. They need to
reflect on their own and others’ work in the context of
teacher feedback and advice about what to do next.
Record-Keeping
Students are the key players in record-keeping, as they are in all the other
components of assessment as learning. They need to develop skills and attitudes
that allow them to keep systematic records of their learning, and these records
need to include reflections and insights as they occur. Their individual records
become the evidence of their progress in learning and in becoming independent
learners.
!|- s|a1-a| |a»»s m»|- ||.a ||- |-.·|-| .|»a| »|.| .a1 |»» |-
|.s |-.|a-1÷-·-a || |- |a»»s |-ss .|»a| »|.| ».s |.a-||.
(l||»». Writing without Teachersi
Resource:
Gregory, Cameron,
and Davies, Setting and
Using Criteria: For Use in
Middle and Secondary
School Classrooms
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 47
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
Students use assessment as learning to gain knowledge about their progress,
show milestones of success that are worthy of celebration, adjust their goals,
make choices about what they need to
do next to move their learning
forward, and advocate for themselves.
Feedback to Students
Feedback is particularly important in
assessment as learning. Learning is
enhanced when students see the
effects of what they have tried, and
can envision alternative strategies to
understand the material. When
feedback enhances understanding and provides models for independent learning,
students tend to be diligent and more engaged. Although assessment as learning
is designed to develop independent learning, students cannot accomplish it
without the guidance and direction that comes from detailed and relevant
feedback. Students need feedback to help them develop autonomy and
competence. Complex skills, such as monitoring and self-regulation, become
routine only when there is constant feedback and practice using the skills.
Effective feedback challenges ideas, introduces additional information, offers
alternative interpretations, and creates conditions for self-reflection and review
of ideas. It provides students with information about their performance on a task,
and how they could come to the conclusions on their own.
How can I use the
information from
this assessment?
Nutrition Notes: An Example of Students as Record Keepers
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\| ||- a-·| ·|.ss 1|s·ass|»a. ||-· |-·|-» ||-|| ·|.||s .a1 1-·|1- »|.| -|s- ||-· a--1 |» |a»» .|»a| ||- ».·s 1|-| .||-·|s ||-|| |-.|||. !|-· .-|--
||.| -·-|·|s- |s .a |m¡»||.a| |.·|»| ||.| |.s |-.||a- »a ||- .m»aa| .a1 ||a1s »| |»»1 . ¡-|s»a |-¡a||-s. !|-· 1-·|1- |» .|s» |--¡ . |-·»|1 »| ||-||
¡.||-|as »| -·-|·|s- ||-a -s||m.|- ||- |||»|»a|-s »| -a-|-· -·¡-a1-1 |a ||-|| »--||· -·-|·|s-.
la||a- 1|s·ass|»as |||»a-|»a| ||- |-|m. ||-· as- ||- |a|»|m.||»a ||-· |.·- -.||-|-1 |» m.|- ¡|-1|·||»as. ·|.||-a-- |·¡»||-s-s. .a1 .11 a-» |1-.s.
a-» 1.|.. .a1 a-» ¡a-s||»as |» ||- 1|s·ass|»a. x-.| ||- -a1 »| ||- |-|m. ||- s|a1-a|s -.·| |-·|-» ||-|| |»a|a.|s .a1 1-s|-a . ¡»s|-|. ·|1-» ·||¡. »|
s|»|| ¡|-s-a|.||»a |» s|»» ||- |-· 1|m-as|»as »| |-.|||· ||·|a- .a1 ||- |-|.||»as||¡s .m»a- ||-m. !|-· .|s» ·|-.|- . ·|.|| »| ||-|| ¡-|s»a.| |-.|||
-».|s. ||-|| m||-s|»a-s. ||-|| -|-.|-s| ·|.||-a--s |a ¡|»-|-ss|a- |»».|1 ||-|| -».|s. .a1 ||-|| |as|-||s »a »|.| ||-· |-.|a-1 .|»a| ||-ms-|·-s.
Metacognition in Action
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»|.| s|a1-a|s |.·- 1»a- |-|»|-. .a1 »|.|. s¡-·|||·.||·. s|- ».a|s ||- s|a1-a|s |» |- .||-
|» 1» »|-a ||-·'·- ||a|s|-1 ||- aa||.
\| ||- -a1 »| ||- aa||. -.·| s|a1-a| ·»m¡|-|-s .a .ss-ssm-a| |-·»|1 ||.| ||s|s ||-
·|||-||.. ||·|a- |» |- s¡-·|||· .|»a| »|.| ||-· |.·- |-.|a-1 .a1 »||| »|.| ||-· |.·- |.1
||»a||-. !|- |-.·|-| .11s ·»mm-a|s |» |-|a|»|·- .a1 -·|-a1 ||- s|a1-a|'s ·|-»s. !|-
|-.·|-| .a1 ||- s|a1-a| |»--||-| sa---s| . s¡-·|||· a-·| s|-¡. !|- |-·»|1s .|- |-¡| |a
||- s|a1-a|s' |»|1-|s s» ||.| ||-· .|- .··-ss|||- |» ||- |-.·|-| .a1 |» ||- s|a1-a|s.
(\1.¡|-1 ||»m \a||»a. Assessment for Learningi
48 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
If all feedback does is provide direction for what students need to do—that is, if
the feedback doesn’t refer to students’ own roles in moving forward to the next
stage of learning—they will be perpetually asking questions like Is this right? Is
this what you want? Rather, feedback in assessment as learning encourages
students to focus their attention
on the task, rather than on getting
the answer right. It provides them
with ideas for adjusting,
rethinking, and articulating their
understanding, which will lead to
another round of feedback and
another extension of learning.
Although teachers are the main
providers of feedback, they are
not the only ones. Peers, family,
and community members also are
important players. Students learn
a great deal within their families
and their communities. When
students encounter new
information, they filter it through their existing beliefs and ideas and those of
their community and culture. They compare the new information to the beliefs
and ideas held by the people around them.
Differentiating Learning
When assessment lies in the hands of students as well as teachers, students are
practising their own metacognitive skills of self-reflection, self-analysis,
interpretation, and reorganization of knowledge. When these skills become well-
developed, students will be able to direct their own learning. They will have
Thinking about Composition
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as|a- ·.||»as ¡.|a||a- |-·|a|¡a-s. äa- »| ||- m.|a ||-m-s »| ||- aa|| |s ||.| ||-s- ¡||a·|¡|-s
.|- a»| |a|-s |a|. |.||-|. -a|1-||a-s |»| |||a||a- .|»a| »|.| »»||s .a1 »|.| 1»-sa'|.
äa- »| ||- s|a1-a|s. ]».aa-. |s |-||-·||a- »a ||- ·.||»as ».|-|·»|»a| ¡.|a||a-s ||.| s|-
·»m¡|-|-1 |a ||- ·|.ss .a1 |.s 1|.||-1 ||- |»||»»|a- |-||-·||»a ¡a-s||»as.
· |»|»a| .a1 |-·|a|¡a-. \|- ||- ·»|»a|s l'·- as-1 ·»as|s|-a| »||| ||- m»»1 l ».a| |» ·|-.|-!
\|-|- |s ||- ·»|»a| ·||m.·. »| |»·as. |a |||s ¡.|a||a-! \|-|- |s ||- ·»|»a| ·.|a- m»s|
|a|-as-! l»» 1»-s ||- |-·|a|¡a- |a||a-a·- ||- m»»1!
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\|-|- |s ||- |-as|»a! \|.| ·|-.|-s ||- |-as|»a! \|»a|1 ||-|- |- . |-s»|a||»a!
· l-¡-||||»a. |.|.a·-. .a1 |.|m»a·. l»-s |||s ¡.|a||a- a--1 s·mm-||· »| .s·mm-||·! l»»
1»-s ||- -·- m»·-! ls ||-|- . s-as- »| ·»m¡|-||»a!
\s ]».aa- |-·|-»s |-| ¡»|||»||». s|- a»| »a|· .as»-|s ||- ¡a-s||»as ||.| s|- |.s ¡»s-1. |a| .|s»
.11s a-» ¡a-s||»as.
Looking for Language Clues
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¡|»·|1-s ||- s|a1-a|s »||| ·|a-s¨ (·|-·|||s|s .a1 |a|||·si ||.| |- (.s ||- |-.1 |a·-s||-.|»|¨i as-s |a »|1-| |» |-.|a m»|- .|»a| |»» ||- la-||s|
|.a-a.-- »»||s. !|-|- .|- ¡|-1|·|.||- ·|a-s .a1 ||-|- .|- 1»»i|-s¨ (¡|.·-s »|-|- ||- |a|-s 1»a'| »»||i.
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|»»m. \|-a ||- s|a1-a|s .|||·-. ||-· s-.|·| |»| ||-|| |»·-s .a1 as- ||- -·|1-a·- .a1 ||- ·|a-s |» |-|||a| ||-|| »»|| ||»m ||- 1.· |-|»|-. !|- |»·
·»a|.|as m.|-||.| ||.| ||-· ¡|»1a·-1 1a||a- ||- ¡|-·|»as 1.·. .|»a- »||| . s-| »| ·|a-s ||.| ||-· ·.a as- |» .a.|·i- ||-|| »»|| .a1 1-·-|»¡ . ¡|.a
|»| ||- ·a||-a| 1.·'s |.a-a.-- |a·-s||-.||»a. !|- s|a1-a|s ·.a »»|| »a ||-|| »»a »| ||-· ·.a ·.|| »a ||-|| |a·-s||-.||»a |-.m¨ |» |-|¡ ||-m.
!||s s||.|--· .||»»s ]-.a |» ¡|-¡.|- s¡-·|||· .ss-ssm-a| |.s|s |»| -.·| s|a1-a| (.|||»a-| . aam|-| »| s|a1-a|s m.· --| ||- s.m- ·|a-si .a1 as-
||- ·|a-s |» ¡|»·|1- |--1|.·| .a1 s·.||»|1 |1-.s |»| ||- s|a1-a|. r-|»|- -m|.|||a- »a .a .·||»a ¡|.a. -.·| s|a1-a| |.|-s ||s »| |-| ¡|.a |» ||-
|-.1 |a·-s||-.|»| |»| 1|s·ass|»a. |-||a-m-a|. .a1 .¡¡|»·.|. !||s 1|s·ass|»a |-.1s |» .ss|-am-a|s |»| ||- 1.·. !|- ¡|»·-ss »| |--1|.·| .a1 |-||-·||»a
·»a||aa-s ||- a-·| 1.·.
learned to ask for support, search out new information, and reinforce or
challenge their decisions by reviewing and discussing them with others.
Assessment as learning provides the conditions under which students and
teachers can discuss what the students are learning, what it means to do it well,
what the alternatives might be for each student to advance his or her learning,
what personal goals have been reached, and what more challenging goals can be
set.
Reporting
Reporting in assessment as learning is the responsibility of students, who must
learn to articulate and defend the nature and quality of their learning. When
students reflect on their own learning and must communicate it to others, they
are intensifying their understanding about a topic, their own learning strengths,
and the areas in which they need to develop further.
Student-led parent-teacher conferences have become a popular reporting forum
that fits with assessment as learning. However, the success of these conferences
depends on how well they are structured and how well the students prepare. The
students need to have been deeply involved in assessment as learning throughout
the instructional process, and be able to provide their parents with evidence of
their learning. The evidence needs to include an analysis of their learning
progress and what they need to do to move it forward.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 49
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
Conferences for Learning
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||-|| ¡|-s-a|.||»as.
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Resource:
Davies, Cameron,
Politano, and Gregory,
Together Is Better:
Collaborative Assessment,
Evaluation, and Reporting
An Example of Assessment as Learning
Sheila recently began working with her students on solving complex problems in various subject areas. She knew that one of
the key factors for success in solving problems independently is persistence. She also knew that students must learn to think
explicitly about their own approaches to problems, and become comfortable with trying a range of possibilities.
Solving complex problems requires students to take risks in their thinking, and to explore different options. Ultimately, when
faced with new situations, they need to be able to develop solutions on their own.
Sheila wanted to help her students understand how to approach a problem, and to recognize the kinds of thinking they need
to do before finding a solution (or giving up). She knew that, if the students increased their self-awareness, they would be
able to draw on more strategies for enhancing their learning and independence in problem-solving.
What am I assessing?
I am assessing my students’ abilities to
monitor their own thinking processes and
their strategies for persisting when
solving complex problems.
Why am I assessing?
I want to help my students develop
increased awareness of their approaches to
problem-solving and their level of
persistence so that they can advance their
learning in a variety of contexts.
50 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 51
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
Sheila realized that she needed to create a safe and supportive environment for open dialogue and self-assessment. She
knew that developing metacognition and persistence in problem-solving strategies is complex, and needed to be developed
over the course of the school year. To help students monitor their progress, she had each keep an ongoing record in a
learning log of his/her reflections, and she kept her own record of conversations and focussed observations as the students
worked in small groups and whole-class settings. In order to make her observations and conversations manageable, she
focussed on three students at a time.
To initiate the exploration of persistence in problem-solving, Sheila discussed with the students her expectations and the
value of persistence in problem-solving. She provided some examples of what persistence looks like and how students
would know when they had given up too soon on a problem. She had students list in their learning logs how they recognized
when they were persisting and when they were not. Here is a sample from one student’s log.
I kn o w t h a t I a m p e rsisti ng wh e n I d o
t h e s e t hi ngs:
1. I f I d o n’ t kn o w ho w t o st a rt , I
r e r e a d t h e q u e sti o n a nd l o ok f or
t hi ngs t h a t I kn o w.
2. I t r y t o fi nd p a rt s o f t h e pr o bl e m
t h a t I t hi nk I c a n d o.
3. I c h e c k my n o t e s f or o t h e r
pr o bl e ms t h a t a r e si mil a r.
4. I r e a d t h e t e xt b o ok s e c ti o n t h a t
e xpl ai ns ho w t o sol v e t h e s a me ki nds
o f pr o bl e ms.
5. I a sk t h e t e a c h e r t o h e l p me fi gur e
out ho w t o fi nd t h e t hi ngs t h a t I kn o w
a b out t h e pr o bl e m.
6. I a sk t h e t e a c h e r t o h e l p me fi gur e
out wh e r e I c a n l o ok n e xt.
7. I t hi nk a b out ho w ma ny ti me s a nd
di f f e r e nt t hi ngs I t ri e d wh e n sol vi ng
o t h e r pr o bl e ms.
8. I f I still d o n’ t f e e l I c a n p e rsist , I
t hi nk a b out why.
What assessment method should I use?
Students need frequent opportunities to think about and
monitor their level of persistence when faced with
difficult problems. They also need the tools to articulate
their efforts. The method will need to elicit evidence of
their learning and metacognitive processes. I will need to
observe the students working and sharing their
reflections, and converse with them about their learning.
52 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
Sheila engaged the students in a discussion about the characteristics of persistence that they had listed in their logs, and
how these play out in a range of problem-solving situations, in school and outside school. During the discussions, she
recorded these characteristics in a long list. Together, they refined the list by sorting and grouping. They ended up with a few
succinct criteria that they all agreed described what persistence looks like in any problem-solving situation. Here are the
criteria they developed together.
The students used these criteria as a guide when problem-solving and reflecting on the problem-solving processes. Sheila
used the criteria to guide her observations of the students as they worked at solving complex problems and shared their
reflections. When observing the students, she noted, for example, whether they reread the problem carefully, what
information sources they referred to and, if they asked for help, if their request for help was an attempt to be given the
solution or to get hints about how to generate their own solution. To follow up on her observations of each student, Sheila
had a brief conversation based on the following questions:
• How did you know you were persisting?
• What was your thinking as you worked through the problem?
• What decisions did you make along the way?
• Can you tell me more about the decisions?
• How does your thinking and decision-making fit with your goal for persistence?
Sheila related each student’s self-assessment to her observation notes and the student-developed criteria. She focussed on
the student’s own determination of which strategies increased his or her level of persistence and generated successful
problem-solving, and how the student saw his or her level of persistence in comparison to her observations.
Sheila thought about how to ensure the validity of her interpretations of her students’ persistence. She also needed to
understand the validity of their interpretations. As time went on, Sheila recognized that, although her students had changed
their level of persistence in approaching a complex problem, there remained a group of students who didn’t seem to have a
Our Criteria for Persistence in Problem-Solving
• I reread the problem carefully and several times in order to fully understand it.
• I break the problem into parts to find out what I know, and what information I need to find.
• I check notes, books, and other resources to find ideas that might be useful in solving the
problem.
• I ask other people focussed questions to try to find helpful ideas (but I do not ask for the
solution).
• I draw diagrams or use objects as models to think about the problem in many ways.
How can I ensure quality in this
assessment process?
I need to be sure that the students recognize what
persistence looks like when solving a complex problem,
and that they are making reasonable and consistent
judgements about their own persistence.
I need to ensure that my students keep a relevant record
of the self-assessment of their persistence when solving
complex problems. This record needs to be kept over time
to show change.
good sense of their own persistence. A few of them thought they were persisting when, actually, they were simply skipping
difficult questions or seeking help from peers without attempting to solve the problems on their own. Others thought they
were not persisting enough, yet Sheila’s notes showed that they were requesting hints only after they expended great effort
and time. The majority of her students, however, were accurate in their estimation of their own persistence.
Based on what they learned from their self-assessments and Sheila’s observations, the students reviewed what persistence
in solving problems looks like. Together they revised and refined their criteria.
Sheila arranged the students in pairs: one who was proficient at monitoring his or her own persistence, and the other who
was still moving toward this awareness. Over the next several weeks, the pairs were called upon periodically to use their
criteria to review their persistence in whatever activity they were engaged in. Over the course of the year, the students
became their own best assessors, learning with increasing independence to monitor, adjust, and take charge of their own
learning.
How can I (and the students) use the
information from this assessment?
By understanding and valuing the students’ thinking,
I can scaffold their growth and provide direction for
further developing the habits of mind that will promote
persistence in any learning situation. (Students will be
able to use their increased awareness of their own
persistence and skills to enhance their learning in
various contexts.)
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 53
As s e s s me nt a s L e ar ni ng
54 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 4
Summary of Planning Assessment as Learning
Assessment for Learning Assessment as Learning
Why Assess?
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.1·.a·|a- s|a1-a| |-.|a|a-
Assess What?
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What Methods?
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Ensuring
Quality
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|» -.·| s|a1-a|
Using the
Information
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sa¡¡»||
to guide and provide opportunities for each student to
monitor and critically reflect on his or her learning and
identify next steps
each student’s thinking about his or her learning, what
strategies he or she uses to support or challenge that
learning, and the mechanisms he or she uses to adjust
and advance his or her learning
a range of methods in different modes that elicit
students’ learning and metacognitive processes
• accuracy and consistency of student’s self-reflection,
self-monitoring, and self-adjustment
• engagement of the student in considering and
challenging his or her thinking
• students record their own learning
• provide each student with accurate, descriptive
feedback that will help him or her develop
independent learning habits
• have each student focus on the task and his or her
learning (not on getting the right answer)
• provide each student with ideas for adjusting,
rethinking, and articulating his or her learning
• provide the conditions for the teacher and student to
discuss alternatives
• students report about their learning
C hapt e r 5
Assessment of Learning
What Is Assessment of Learning?
Assessment of learning refers to strategies designed to confirm what
students know, demonstrate whether or not they have met curriculum
outcomes or the goals of their individualized programs, or to certify
proficiency and make decisions about students’ future programs or
placements. It is designed to provide evidence of achievement to parents,
other educators, the students themselves, and sometimes to outside
groups (e.g., employers, other educational institutions).
Assessment of learning is the assessment that
becomes public and results in statements or symbols
about how well students are learning. It often
contributes to pivotal decisions that will affect
students’ futures. It is important, then, that the
underlying logic and measurement of assessment of
learning be credible and defensible.
Teachers’ Roles in Assessment of Learning
Because the consequences of assessment of learning are often far-reaching and
affect students seriously, teachers have the responsibility of reporting student
learning accurately and fairly, based on evidence obtained from a variety of
contexts and applications. Effective assessment of learning requires that teachers
provide
• a rationale for undertaking a particular assessment of learning at a particular
point in time
• clear descriptions of the intended learning
• processes that make it possible for students to demonstrate their competence
and skill
• a range of alternative mechanisms for assessing the same outcomes
• public and defensible reference points for making judgements
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 55
The purpose of assessment that typically comes at the end of a
course or unit of instruction is to determine the extent to which
the instructional goals have been achieved and for grading or
certification of student achievement.
(Linn and Gronlund, Measurement and Assessment in
Teaching)
Reflection:
Think about an
example of
assessment of
learning in your own
teaching and try
to develop it
further as you
read this
chapter.
56 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 5
• transparent approaches to interpretation
• descriptions of the assessment process
• strategies for recourse in the event of disagreement about the decisions
With the help of their teachers, students can look forward to assessment of
learning tasks as occasions to show their competence, as well as the depth and
breadth of their learning.
Planning Assessment of Learning
The purpose of assessment of learning is to measure, certify, and report the level
of students’ learning, so that reasonable decisions can be made about students.
There are many potential users of the information:
• teachers (who can use the information to communicate with parents about
their children’s proficiency and progress)
• parents and students (who can use the results for making educational and
vocational decisions)
• potential employers and post-secondary institutions (who can use the
information to make decisions about hiring or acceptance)
• principals, district or divisional administrators, and teachers (who can use the
information to review and revise programming)
Assessment of learning requires the collection and interpretation of information
about students’ accomplishments in important curricular areas, in ways that
represent the nature and complexity of the intended learning. Because genuine
learning for understanding is much more than just recognition or recall of facts
or algorithms, assessment of learning tasks need to enable students to show the
complexity of their understanding. Students need to be able to apply key
concepts, knowledge, skills, and attitudes in ways that are authentic and
consistent with current thinking in the knowledge domain.
What am I
assessing?
Why am I
assessing?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 57
As s e s s me nt o f L e ar ni ng
In assessment of learning, the methods chosen need to address the intended
curriculum outcomes and the continuum of learning that is required to reach the
outcomes. The methods must allow all students to show their understanding and
produce sufficient information to support credible and defensible statements
about the nature and quality of their learning, so that others can use the results in
appropriate ways.
Assessment of learning methods include not only tests and examinations, but
also a rich variety of products and demonstrations of learning—portfolios,
exhibitions, performances, presentations, simulations, multimedia projects, and a
variety of other written, oral, and visual methods (see Fig. 2.2, Assessment Tool
Kit, page 17).
What assessment
method should I
use?
Graduation Portfolios
Graduation portfolios are a requirement for graduation from British Columbia and Yukon Senior Years schools. These portfolios comprise
collections (electronic or printed) of evidence of students’ accomplishments at school, home, and in the community, including demonstrations of
their competence in skills that are not measured in examinations.
Worth four credits toward graduation, the portfolios begin in Grade 10 and are completed by the end of Grade 12. The following are some goals of
graduation portfolios:
• Students will adopt an active and reflective role in planning, managing, and assessing their learning.
• Students will demonstrate learning that complements intellectual development and course-based learning.
• Students will plan for successful transitions beyond Grade 12.
Graduation portfolios are prepared at the school level and are based on specific Ministry criteria and standards. Students use the criteria and
standards as guides for planning, collecting, and presenting their evidence, and for self-assessing. Teachers use the criteria and standards to
assess student evidence and assign marks.
There are three major components of a graduation portfolio:
1. Portfolio Core (30 percent of the mark). Students must complete requirements in the following six portfolio organizers: arts and design
(respond to an art, performance, or design work); community involvement and responsibility (participate co-operatively and respectfully in a
service activity); education and career planning (complete a graduation transition plan); employability skills (complete 30 hours of work or
volunteer experience); information technology (use information technology skills); personal health (complete 80 hours of moderate to intense
physical activity).
2. Portfolio Choice (50 percent of the mark). Students expand on the above areas, choosing additional evidence of their achievements.
3. Portfolio Presentation (20 percent of the mark). Students celebrate their learning and reflect at the end of the portfolio process.
(Portfolio Assessment and Focus Areas: A Program Guide)
58 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 5
Assessment of learning needs to be very carefully constructed so that the
information upon which decisions are made is of the highest quality. Assessment
of learning is designed to be summative, and to produce defensible and accurate
descriptions of student competence in relation to defined outcomes and,
occasionally, in relation to other students’ assessment results. Certification of
students’ proficiency should be based on a rigorous, reliable, valid, and equitable
process of assessment and evaluation.
Reliability
Reliability in assessment of learning depends on how accurate, consistent, fair, and
free from bias and distortion the assessment is. Teachers might ask themselves:
• Do I have enough information about the learning of this particular student to
make a definitive statement?
• Was the information collected in a way that gives all students an equal
chance to show their learning?
• Would another teacher arrive at the same conclusion?
• Would I make the same decision if I considered this information at another
time or in another way?
Reference Points
Typically, the reference points for assessment of learning are the learning
outcomes as identified in the curriculum that make up the course of study.
Assessment tasks include measures of these learning outcomes, and a student’s
performance is interpreted and reported in relation to these learning outcomes.
In some situations where selection decisions need to be made for limited
positions (e.g., university entrance, scholarships, employment opportunities),
assessment of learning results are used to rank students. In such norm-referenced
situations, what is being measured needs to be clear, and the way it is being
measured needs to be transparent to anyone who might use the assessment
results.
Validity
Because assessment of learning results in statements about students’ proficiency
in wide areas of study, assessment of learning tasks must reflect the key
knowledge, concepts, skills, and dispositions set out in the curriculum, and the
statements and inferences that emerge must be upheld by the evidence collected.
How can I ensure
quality in this
assessment process?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 59
As s e s s me nt o f L e ar ni ng
Record-Keeping
Whichever approaches teachers choose for assessment of learning, it is their
records that provide details about the quality of the measurement. Detailed
records of the various components of the assessment of learning are essential,
with a description of what each component measures, with what accuracy and
against what criteria and reference points, and should include supporting
evidence related to the outcomes as justification.
When teachers keep records that are detailed and descriptive, they are in an
excellent position to provide meaningful reports to parents and others. Merely a
symbolic representation of a student’s accomplishments (e.g., a letter grade or
percentage) is inadequate. Reports to parents and others should identify the
intended learning that the report covers, the assessment methods used to gather
the supporting information, and the criteria used to make the judgement.
Feedback to Students
Because assessment of learning comes most often at the end of a unit or learning
cycle, feedback to students has a less obvious effect on student learning than
assessment for learning and assessment as learning. Nevertheless, students do
How can I use the
information from
this assessment?
Guidelines for Grading
1. Use curriculum learning outcomes or some clustering of these (e.g., strands) as the basis for grading.
2. Make sure that the meaning of grades comes from clear descriptions of curriculum outcomes and standards. If students achieve the outcome,
they get the grade. (NO bell curves!)
3. Base grades only on individual achievement of the targeted learning outcomes. Report effort, participation, and attitude, for example,
separately, unless they are a stated curriculum outcome. Any penalties (e.g., for late work, absences), if used, should not distort achievement or
motivation.
4. Sample student performance using a variety of methods. Do not include all assessments in grades. Provide ongoing feedback on formative
performance using words, rubrics, or checklists, not grades.
5. Keep records in pencil so they can be updated easily to take into consideration more recent achievement. Provide second-chance assessment
opportunities (or more). Students should receive the highest, most consistent mark, not an average mark for multiple opportunities.
6. Crunch numbers carefully, if at all. Consider using the median, mode, or statistical measures other than the mean. Weight components within
the final grade to ensure that the intended importance is given to each learning outcome.
7. Make sure that each assessment meets quality standards (e.g., there should be clear targets, clear purpose, appropriate target-method match,
appropriate sampling, and absence of bias and distortion) and is properly recorded and maintained (e.g., in portfolios, at conferences, on
tracking sheets).
8. Discuss and involve students in grading at the beginning and throughout the teaching and learning process.
(Adapted from O’Connor, How to Grade for Learning)
Resource:
Marzano,
Transforming
Classroom Grading
60 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 5
rely on their marks and on teachers’ comments as indicators of their level of
success, and to make decisions about their future learning endeavours.
Differentiating Learning
In assessment of learning, differentiation occurs in the assessment itself. It would
make little sense to ask a near-sighted person to demonstrate driving proficiency
without glasses. When the driver uses glasses, it is possible for the examiner to get
an accurate picture of the driver’s ability, and to certify him or her as proficient. In
much the same way, differentiation in assessment of learning requires that the
necessary accommodations be in place that allow students to make the particular
learning visible. Multiple forms of assessment offer multiple pathways for making
student learning transparent to the teacher. Aparticular curriculum outcome
requirement, such as an understanding of the social studies notion of conflict, for
example, might be demonstrated through visual, oral, dramatic, or written
representations. As long as writing were not an explicit component of the outcome,
students who have difficulties with written language, for example, would then have
the same opportunity to demonstrate their learning as other students.
Although assessment of learning does not always lead teachers to differentiate
instruction or resources, it has a profound effect on the placement and promotion of
students and, consequently, on the nature and differentiation of the future instruction
and programming that students receive. Therefore, assessment results need to be
accurate and detailed enough to allow for wise recommendations.
Reporting
There are many possible approaches to reporting student proficiency.
Reporting assessment of learning needs to be appropriate for the audiences for
whom it is intended, and should provide all of the information necessary for
them to make reasoned decisions. Regardless of the form of the reporting,
however, it should be honest, fair, and provide sufficient detail and contextual
information so that it can be clearly understood. Traditional reporting, which
relies only on a student’s average score, provides little information about that
student’s skill development or knowledge. One alternate mechanism, which
recognizes many forms of success and provides a profile of a student’s
level of performance on an emergent-proficient continuum, is the parent-
student-teacher conference. This forum provides parents with a great deal of
information, and reinforces students’ responsibility for their learning.
The Communication System Continuum: From Symbols to Conversations
(O’Connor, How to Grade for Learning)
Grades Report cards
(grades and
brief comments)
Infrequent
informal
communications
Parent-teacher
interviews
Report cards
with expanded
comments
Frequent
informal
communication
Student-involved
conferencing
Student-led
conferencing
Reflection:
What forms do your
reports of student
proficiency take?
How do these
differ according
to audience?
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 61
As s e s s me nt o f L e ar ni ng
An Example of Assessment of Learning
Elijah was interested in assessing student mastery of both the modern and the traditional skills required for survival in the
Nunavut environment where he teaches. The overarching theme of survival is taught in the early grades and culminates at
the senior level in a course delivered in Inuktitut. Students learn how to take care of themselves and others, and how to
adapt what they know to the situation at hand. Survival requires not only skills and knowledge, but also a concept the Inuit
people call qumiutit, or the ability in an emergency situation to pull out of stored memory information that will enable a
person to cope, not panic. Traditionally, this was learned in a holistic manner, grounded in Inuit traditional guiding principles
that were nurtured and developed from birth, and taught and reinforced in daily living.
Throughout the term, Elijah took his students to an outdoor area to practise on-the-land survival activities, using both
traditional and modern methods. He always took with him a knowledgeable Elder who could give the students the
information they needed to store away in case of emergency. The students watched demonstrations of a skill a number of
times. Each student then practised on his or her own, as Elijah and the Elder observed and assisted.
Elijah knew that students need to have a high level of expertise in the survival skills appropriate for the northern natural
environment.
Elijah assessed each student on each survival skill (e.g., making fire the traditional way, tying the knots required for the
qamutik cross-pieces on a sled).
What am I assessing?
I am assessing each student’s performance of
traditional and modern survival skills.
Why am I assessing?
I want to know which survival skills each
student has mastered and their readiness to
survive in the natural environment.
62 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 5
Elijah knew that the best way to determine if students have mastered the skills is to have them perform them. When
students believed they were ready, Elijah created an opportunity for them to demonstrate the mastered skill to a group of
Elders, who then (individually, then in consensus) determined if the performance was satisfactory.
A student’s competence in a survival skill is often demonstrated by an end product. For example, competence in knot tying
is demonstrated by a knot that serves its purpose, and competence in fire building is demonstrated by a fire that is robust.
As the Elders judged each student’s performance of the skills, Elijah recorded the results. He shared the information with
each student and his or her parents in a final report, as shown here.
How can I use the information from
this assessment?
Now that I know which skills each of the students
has mastered, I can report this information to the
students and their parents. I can use this
information to identify a learning path for each
student.
How can I ensure quality in this
assessment process?
Ensuring quality with this approach involves clear
criteria: either the student performs the skill
successfully or does not.
I need to provide adequate opportunities for the
student to demonstrate the skills under various
conditions and at various times.
What assessment method should I use?
I need an approach in which students can
demonstrate the traditional survival skills that they
learned. The method I choose should also allow me
to identify which skills they did not master.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 63
As s e s s me nt o f L e ar ni ng
Shelters:
• emergency shelters
• igloo building
4
• qamaq
5
• tents
Transportation needs:
• making the knots required for the
qamutik cross pieces on a sled
• building a kayak/umiak
• fixing a snowmobile (spark plugs,
repairing track, drive belt)
• keeping a boat seaworthy
Navigational issues:
• reading the land
• reading the sky
• understanding seasonal variations
• reading inuksuit
• using GPS
• map reading
Preparation for land travel:
• packing a qamutiq (sled)
• load, balance
• necessities: snow knife, rope, food,
water, heat source
• letting others know where you are
going
• necessary tools, supplies,
snowmobile parts, fuel
• using communication devices
Food sources:
• plants and their nutritional properties
• hunting, skinning, and cutting up
seal, caribou, etc.
• kinds of food to take on the land,
and their nutritional properties
____________________
4. Expertise in igloo building includes understanding of types of snow, the shape and fit of blocks, and the use of a snow-
knife.
5. A qamaq is a rounded house, built of scrap wood or bones, and covered with skins, cardboard, or canvas.
Report on Survival Skills
Student: _______________________________________________ Date: _______________________
Traditional Survival Skills Modern Survival Skills Adaptability
to the Seasons
Attitude Success Next Steps
1) Skills
Building a fire / means of keeping warm:
• fuel sources
• getting a spark
• propane heaters, stoves
• clothing
2) Relationship to the Seasons
Assessing conditions / recognizing
danger signs:
• seasonal changes
• land changes
• water changes
• wind changes
• weather changes
Climatic changes:
• weather changes and how this
affects the land and water
• knowledge of animals and their
characteristics and behaviours
3) Attitudinal Influences (Having the right attitude to learn)
• respect for the environment (cleaning up a campsite upon leaving, dealing with
the remains of an animal, not over-hunting/fishing)
• respect for Elders and their knowledge
• ability to learn from Elders
64 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 5
Elijah’s report identified which of the students had mastered the specified skills required to survive in the Nunavut
environment. It outlined other areas (such as adaptability to the seasons and attitudinal influences) about which peers,
parents, and family members would need to provide input before a comprehensive assessment could be made. The
assessment also identified those students not yet ready to survive in the natural environment. But the Elders did not stop
working with the students who did not reach mastery. Elders see learning as an individual path in which skills, knowledge,
and attitudes are acquired along the way. If a particular skill was beyond the capability of a student, the Elders identified
other areas where that person could contribute to the common good of the community, and was accepted for the gifts he or
she brought to the group. In this way, the Elders helped Elijah differentiate the learning path for each of his students.
Summary of Planning Assessment of Learning
Assessment for Learning Assessment as Learning Assessment of Learning
Why Assess?
to enable teachers to determine next
steps in advancing student learning
to guide and provide opportunities for
each student to monitor and critically
reflect on his or her learning, and
identify next steps
Assess What?
each student’s progress and learning
needs in relation to the curricular
outcomes
each student’s thinking about his or her
learning, what strategies he or she uses
to support or challenge that learning,
and the mechanisms he or she uses to
adjust and advance his or her learning
What Methods?
a range of methods in different modes
that make students’ skills and
understanding visible
a range of methods in different modes
that elicit students’ learning and
metacognitive processes
Ensuring
Quality
• accuracy and consistency of
observations and interpretations of
student learning
• clear, detailed learning expectations
• accurate, detailed notes for
descriptive feedback to each student
• accuracy and consistency of student’s
self-reflection, self-monitoring, and
self-adjustment
• engagement of the student in
considering and challenging his or
her thinking
• students record their own learning
Using the
Information
• provide each student with accurate
descriptive feedback to further his or
her learning
• differentiate instruction by
continually checking where each
student is in relation to the
curricular outcomes
• provide parents or guardians with
descriptive feedback about student
learning and ideas for support
• provide each student with accurate
descriptive feedback that will help
him or her develop independent
learning habits
• have each student focus on the task
and his or her learning (not on
getting the right answer)
• provide each student with ideas for
adjusting, rethinking, and
articulating his or her learning
• provide the conditions for the
teacher and student to discuss
alternatives
• students report about their learning
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 65
As s e s s me nt o f L e ar ni ng
to certify or inform parents or
others of student’s proficiency in
relation to curriculum learning
outcomes
the extent to which students can
apply the key concepts,
knowledge, skills, and attitudes
related to the curricular
outcomes
a range of methods in different
modes that assess both product
and process
• accuracy, consistency, and
fairness of judgements based
on high-quality information
• clear, detailed learning
expectations
• fair and accurate summative
reporting
• indicate each student’s level
of learning
• provide the foundation for
discussions on placement or
promotion
• report fair, accurate, and
detailed information that can
be used to decide the next
steps in a student’s learning
Next Steps
The focus on the purposes of assessment, and the process of making
assessment for learning, assessment as learning, and assessment of learning
distinct and identifiable parts of the teaching and learning process, is one of
the most significant changes to occur in education. It represents a major shift
in thinking toward assessment as a key contributor to enhancing learning for
all students. It requires changes in the mindsets of educators, students,
parents, and society.
Key Ideas in Section III
• Shifting and balancing assessment purposes requires
changes in habits of mind.
• Embedding and sustaining habits of mind requires
professional learning.
• Building the capacity for rethinking and changing
assessment requires systematic planning and
implementation.
• WNCP jurisdictions have many structures and resources
already in place that can be mobilized for changing
assessment practices.
S
e
c
t
i
o
n

I
I
I
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 67
C hapt e r 6
Embedding and Sustaining
Purposeful Classroom
Assessment
Although many innovations have been introduced to
educational systems, few have had a fundamental
effect on what happens in classrooms. Change
requires learning. Nothing can really change in
schools unless teachers and administrators have
learned new knowledge and skills, and are able to
transfer that learning to the classroom.
Thinking about assessment as a major facilitator of
learning is likely to be one of the most significant changes in classroom practice.
This change will challenge many educators’ fundamental beliefs about their work
and about education, and it will require of them new knowledge and skills.
This document provides a framework and direction for teachers, administrators,
and professional developers as they work together to make fundamental changes
in classroom assessment practices. It does not offer “quick fixes.” This chapter
offers ideas about what is needed to change and sustain assessment practices that
differentiate learning for all students. Because assessment is intertwined with
other dimensions of schooling, it is not possible to change one without changing
the others. Significant changes in assessment will involve not only educators, but
also parents and members of the wider community.
The success of embedding and sustaining any serious alteration to classroom
practice depends on changes in the hearts and minds of individual teachers,
administrators, and district or division leaders. Critical elements in the process
are understanding and motivation to engage in the change, access to professional
development to build the necessary capacity, support from local leadership, work
environments that have capacity for continuous change and adjustment, and the
support of the wider community.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 69
Learning is the imperative to equip future generations to respond
and to survive in a frenetically and unpredictably changing world.
The challenge for educators is to engage in new learning themselves
in order to help students deal with the opportunities and stresses of
shifting and unpredictable social forces on their lives.
(Stoll, Fink, and Earl, It’s about Learning [and It’s about
Time]: What’s in it for Schools?)
70 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 6
Understanding and Motivation
Changing practices requires deep understanding on the part of educators.
Looking beyond immediate action, and into the reasons for the change and the
subtle differences between the old and the
new is essential. For most people, the
approach to processing new information is
conservative, in that human beings are
inclined to preserve existing beliefs and habits
rather than transform them or construct new
ones. We tend to assimilate new information
into our current knowledge structures, rather
than create new structures to fit the new
information. We may integrate information into our comfort zones, and feel we
are practising the innovation. But we may not have fully understood the
innovation, and so have not made the intended changes.
Alternative assessment techniques have been part of the educational landscape
for several decades, and, although many of them seem to have been adopted,
significant changes in classroom assessment purposes have not been evident. In
addition to having access to a collection of assessment tools, teachers require
time to actively think about existing practices, decide what is different, and make
conscious adaptations and innovations.
The shift from doing to thinking about assessment can be difficult. Doing feels
productive. Doing suggests that there is progress and that the change will soon
be established. But just going through the motions is not enough. It may, in fact,
be counterproductive.
Changing assessment practices is not just intellectual work; indeed, assessment
has an inherent emotional component that impacts on motivation. Consider, for
example:
• Assessment for learning is premised on a belief that all students are capable
of learning the intended curriculum, and that teachers have the requisite
content knowledge and the pedagogical skills to find ways to facilitate
students’ learning. If a teacher does not hold this view, he or she may feel
conflicted and may focus negatively on why it can’t work.
• Assessment as learning requires reconceptualizing not just assessment, but
teaching and learning as well. Assessment as learning means giving up the
more traditional constructs of transmitting knowledge, “managing”
classrooms, and maintaining control, and instead redistributing
responsibilities in classrooms. This major shift in approach (and
consequently in the student-teacher power arrangements) can produce a sense
of disequilibrium and dissonance.
Change is evolutionary, not revolutionary; persistence is essential, and
patience is a virtue. There is no “there” in the educational change process.
What matters is “getting there,” in fact to lots of “theres.” Educational
change is, fundamentally, the accumulation of small ongoing improvements
that are rooted in deep understanding on the part of teachers and motivated
by deep understanding on the part of students. A journey worth taking.
(Earl, The Paradox of Hope: Educating Young Adolescents)
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 71
E mbe ddi ng and S us t ai ni ng Pur po s e f ul C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
• Thinking about the quality concerns in assessment of learning brings past
practices into question, and may indicate the need for new ways of doing
things.
Each teacher will receive and respond to changes in classroom assessment
practices from his or her own history, background, and experiences. These need
to be drawn out, clarified, and investigated as part of any new learning.
It is important to understand that dissonance is a necessary part of change.
Teachers who are making changes in their understanding of assessment, and
learning new ways of assessing, are at the same time revisiting their views about
how children learn and what role teachers play in supporting learning for every
student. They are choosing to review, monitor, adapt, and reflect on their own
effectiveness in the classroom. Indeed, these teachers are using the same
processes as their students to become their own best assessors, and are following
their own learning path.
Capacity: Knowledge and Skills
Although many teachers have very large repertoires
of assessment methods, they may need to revisit and
enhance their knowledge and skills in identifying
purpose, deciding what to assess, choosing methods,
ensuring quality, interpreting evidence, and using the
assessment for the intended purpose. The framework
for planning assessment that was used throughout the
three chapters in Section II provides teachers with a
template for this process (see Appendix 1 for a blank template). Changing
classroom assessment depends on teachers building repertoires of knowledge of
learning theories, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge.
Learning Theory
Research in the past few decades has fundamentally transformed what is known
about how people learn. In order for teachers to use assessment to enhance
Powerful Insights about How People Learn
1) People come to learning with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp
the new concepts and information that are taught or may learn them superficially and revert to their preconceptions in real situations.
2) To develop competence in an area of inquiry, people must
• have a deep foundation of factual knowledge
• understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework
• organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application
3) A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help people learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and
monitoring their own progress in achieving them.
(National Research Council, How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice)
Capacity is a complex blend of motivation, skill, positive learning,
organizational conditions and culture, and infrastructure of
support. Put together, it gives individuals, groups and, ultimately,
whole school communities the power to get involved in and sustain
learning.
(Stoll et al., Preparing for Change)
72 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 6
learning, they need an understanding of how people learn, as well as a focus on
effective tools of assessment and teaching.
Curriculum and Subject Content
An important aspect of changing assessment to focus on learning is teachers
being knowledgeable about the curriculum specific to the subject areas that they
teach and the ways that people learn and master specific material. It is also
important to be aware of the various misconceptions that students can bring to a
subject, and the views that led them to their misconceptions. With this
knowledge, teachers can provide useful descriptive feedback and create tasks
that not only challenge students’ existing beliefs, but also offer new ones that
will advance their learning.
Pedagogy and Differentiating Learning
Attending to the purposes of assessment, and putting the emphasis on assessment
for learning and assessment as learning, directs differentiating instruction for all
students. When teachers have considerable expertise in tailoring pedagogical
practice, they are in a good position to address the needs of groups and
individuals. They can plan some learning contexts that are the same for all
students, some for groups of students, and some for individuals. They can draw
on a wide range of resources, activities, and strategies to engage students in their
own learning, scaffold their learning along the way, and provide experiences that
give students lots of practice and support. Their plans will provide the blueprint
that they and their students can use to constantly identify the intentions, make
the connections explicit, reinforce the relationships, and identify the
misconceptions that can get in the way. Assessment is then the key to making
on-the-spot modifications, or, if need be, proceeding in another direction.
Leadership
Even when high-quality professional development and communities of practice
are in place, changes will not occur unless there is also strong instructional
leadership and creative management on the part of school administrators.
Administrators have the responsibility for creating the conditions necessary for
growth in teachers’ professional knowledge. They require a thorough
understanding of the theories and the practices of classroom assessment, so that
they can effectively examine and modify school policies, help prioritize
teachers’ time, allocate funding, monitor changing practices, and create a
culture within the school that allows teachers to feel safe as they challenge their
own beliefs, and change their practices.
Resource:
Gregory and Kuzmich,
Data-Driven
Differentiation in the
Standards-Based
Classroom
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 73
E mbe ddi ng and S us t ai ni ng Pur po s e f ul C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
School and Community Support for Change
Because schooling is a strong and important pillar of each community, whenever
any practices or policies in schools change it is important that the public
understand the reasons for the changes, what the changes look like in practice,
and the consequences of the changes. Assessment is the “public face” of
education, and changes need to be shared with all who are affected.
Students comprise the first and most important group that needs to understand
the changes being made. When students come to understand that the primary
goal in the assessment process is learning (through assessment for learning and
assessment as learning) and that the teacher is there to help them, they begin to
trust that learning is not a competition, but rather the pursuit of a series of
challenges that result in a sense of worthwhile achievement. When they
eventually face assessment of learning conditions, students are likely to be
competent and confident.
Parents comprise another group that needs to understand the changes that are
being made. Assessment and evaluation have traditionally been viewed as
private, mysterious activities, often accompanied by a sense of foreboding.
Shifting parents’ perceptions, and
winning their support, will take a
concerted effort.
A third group that needs to
understand the changes is the general
public. It is important that they come
to understand the purposes of
assessment, and see how clarifying
and separating the purposes can
contribute to better decisions for all
students and for society as a whole.
Nurturing Inquiry Habits of Mind
If teachers are to support students’ efforts at becoming lifelong learners who are
capable of meeting the challenges of a complex and constantly changing society,
it is important that they, as well as their students,
• think and work with a mindset of being in charge of their own destinies,
always hungry to know more
• value deep understanding
• reserve judgement and maintain a tolerance for ambiguity
• think about a range of perspectives while systematically posing increasingly
focussed questions
New Zealand research shows that teachers and their curriculum leaders who work
together to examine the implications of evidence of student achievement for their teaching
had higher-achieving students. These teachers were involved in “learning conversations”
based on a consideration of students’ work to help them reflect on how they might teach
more effectively. One teacher described the process like this:”When you look at the
assessments, you can identify where you are with your children. You can see where your
hot spots are. It’s the sharing amongst the teachers. When you have a problem you just put
it on the table and we all try to figure out what to do. Maybe others are teaching it
differently, and you know these little bits help you. We all look forward now to actually
sharing our results so we can figure out how to get it right for those children.”
(Timperley and Wiseman, The Sustainability of Professional Development in
Literacy)
C hapt e r 7
Building Capacity for
Enhancing Classroom
Assessment
This chapter provides examples of strategies, structures, and processes that
individuals and groups in schools, districts, educational associations, provinces,
and territories can use for building the
necessary capacity to embed and
sustain changes to classroom
assessment. Each jurisdiction will
have to decide how to integrate
rethinking classroom assessment into
its other capacity-building endeavours.
The examples provided here are just a beginning. As educators rethink their
classroom assessment, they will develop many more examples.
Professional Learning
Deep learning and its application in practice requires more than just attending
workshops and courses. Effective professional development is not simply a
uniform delivery of information to teachers, but takes into account teachers’
diverse backgrounds and the diverse contexts
in which they work. Teachers themselves
have a responsibility of acquiring pedagogical
knowledge and disseminating it to others
through networking. Professional learning can
be formal (as in in-service and professional
development sessions and professional
growth planning), and it can be informal (as
in close daily attention to classroom
assessment practices). It can occur in initial
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 75
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(\|»|| .a1 r»|.m. Leadership in Communitiesi
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communities of continuous inquiry and improvement.
(l»|1. Professional Learning Communities: Communities of
Continuous Inquiry and Improvementi
76 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 7
teacher training or throughout teachers’ careers. It can happen individually or
collectively.
Some examples of strategies for building capacity through professional learning
follow.
Assessment Study Groups. In a study group that is focussed on changing
classroom assessment, teachers read about, study, talk about, observe, debate,
and implement changes to assessment
practices. They work together to extend
what they do, to systematically monitor
and make changes based on what they
learn.
Assessment Learning Walks. During
learning walks, teachers visit one
anothers’ classrooms and schools to
observe assessment in action, discuss
assessment approaches, share resources,
consider student work, and plan changes
to their assessment practices.
Assessment Plans. A template for
planning assessment, such as the one
found in Appendix 1, is a valuable tool
for shaping thinking about assessment
practices and formulating new ones. Teachers can use this process to plan
assessment in conjunction with their planning for instruction.
Assessment Collaborations. When teachers work together to consider the work
that students have produced or to listen to students’ presentations, they bring to
this exercise the collective wisdom of all of the people in the group. More minds
result in more reliable determinations of what students understand. Teachers can
work together to develop a range of strategies for helping each student move
forward.
Assessment Action Research. When educators engage in action research they try
out some new approaches to assessment, and they develop a process for
recording their success or obstacles to success. They use what they learn to
adjust their practices, and they share what they have learned with others.
Electronic Assessment Conference or Bulletin Board. For some educators, it is
not easy to have direct personal contact with colleagues. An electronic bulletin
board or conference related to assessment allows them to ask one another
questions, post examples, participate in discussions, and share ideas.
Yukon Teacher Collaboration Teams
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Resource:
Little et al., “Looking at
Student Work for Teacher
Learning, Teacher
Community, and School
Reform”
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 77
Bui l di ng C apac i t y f o r E nhanc i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
Professional Reading and Writing about Assessment. There are many excellent
books and articles about classroom assessment, some of which are noted in the
margins and included in the resource list at the end of this document. Reading
these resources and keeping professional journals creates an opportunity for
educators to review their own assessment experiences, reflect on their students’
assessment experiences, examine their assessment beliefs and practices,
stimulate new ideas, chart their own learning about assessment, and apply what
they have learned.
Assessment Audits. Over the course of a term, teachers can keep detailed logs of
their day-to-day assessment practices, including a description of the assessment
and its purposes, how they have addressed issues of quality, and how they have
used the assessment information. At the end of a term, teachers can review their
logs and note what proportion of their assessment falls into each purpose, and
they can determine changes that would improve the balance.
Leadership and Support
The kinds of strategies for professional learning described above require
leadership and support. Effective leadership in schools, districts, provinces, and
territories will ensure that the
necessary policies are in place to
encourage and endorse a focus
on rethinking classroom
assessment with purpose in
mind. The WNCP itself is an
excellent example of a
policy-support system that
provides leadership and direction
through various project
initiatives, such as the one that
gave rise to this document.
School and district leaders can do much to support teachers’ continued
development of their classroom assessment practices. In addition to providing
access to the kinds of professional development strategies outlined above, there
are a number of other possible strategies, including boundary-spanning activities,
developing critical friendships, modelling, and making time.
Using Boundary-Spanning Activities. Leaders can play a pivotal role in giving
classroom assessment a high profile by ensuring that boundaries between
individual classrooms and whole schools are permeable. In the short term, this
might mean that every meeting agenda include an example of good practice,
which could be as simple as requesting staff to bring along a piece of student
work to share. In the long term, school staffs could develop school improvement
Building a Culture of Collaboration
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78 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 7
plans that include the school-wide goal of enhancing classroom assessment.
These plans would include indicators that show evidence of change.
Developing Critical Friendships. Critical friends offer support and honest, open
critiques. When they have expertise in classroom assessment as well as
sensitivity and the ability to listen and respond
thoughtfully, critical friends can be an invaluable asset.
They can observe what may not be apparent to insiders,
facilitate reflection on classroom assessment practices,
ask questions, and probe for justifications. They are not
afraid to challenge assumptions, but they do it in a non-
judgemental and helpful way. They also provide
reminders of accomplishments. Leaders are well-placed to broker critical
friendship interactions in their districts and beyond.
Modelling. One of the most powerful ways that leaders can support the new
learning of others is by modelling. Leaders can model the behaviours, attitudes,
and commitments that they ask others to demonstrate. Leaders who make their
own professional learning about classroom
assessment apparent can underscore the “do
as I do, as well as do as I say” message. This
message stands not only in terms of the
process of continuous learning about
classroom assessment, but also in terms of
the content. Whether it is in the context of
formal activities, like school improvement planning and working with
professional growth plans, or in the informal, day-to-day, decisions that they are
required to make, leaders draw on evidence to inform what happens next, to
figure out how to best help others to help themselves, or to determine
proficiency.
Making Time. Educators often feel that they have little control over the way that
time is allocated in school. The one commodity that they say they do not have
enough of is time. Frustration about time is often
expressed in relation to the feeling that one has to
accomplish more than there is time for. However, the
problem is not so much about lack of time but use of
time. Rethinking classroom assessment is not about
doing more but about doing differently. The challenge,
as noted on the assessment pyramids shown in Fig. 2.1,
is to bring balance to classroom assessment practices. Leaders can help teachers
make the thinking time they need by supporting opportunity cost analyses (the
idea that everything that gets done has a cost in terms of what doesn’t get done),
and the decisions that follow. Leaders can support teachers by endorsing and
encouraging opportunities for assessments for and as learning as a basis for
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|-as. .a1 »||-|s ·||||¡a- »| . ¡-|s»a's »»||. .s |||-a1.
(|»s|. .a1 l.|||·|. Assessment in the Learning
Organizationi
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(\·||-·||·. Schools for the Twenty-First Century:
Leadership Imperatives for Educational Reformi
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 79
Bui l di ng C apac i t y f o r E nhanc i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt
having students more involved in their learning and
reporting about their learning.
Engaging Parents and Community
Intentionally creating a partnership is a useful way of engaging parents, students,
and the community in the work of the school. Members of a partnership
contribute mutually to reach goals, provide different perspectives on issues, offer
support, and bring specific skills and strengths to the table. (The “letter home”
example on page 35 and the example of student-led conferencing on page 49
show how partnerships can develop when assessment is not something that is
done to students but rather something
that is done with students, for
students, and by students.) Some
strategies for developing successful
school-family-community partnerships
with a classroom assessment focus
include (adapted from Epstein, 2002):
Workshopping with Parents. Provide workshops for parents to explain current
classroom assessment practices, and to demonstrate how instruction is targeted
and learning is supported.
Communicating. Establish mechanisms for timely, two-way communication
between home and school that celebrates student success and identifies areas of
concern. For example, use a folder to send student work home each week, with a
space for student reflections and parent comments.
Volunteering. Survey parents and community members about their interests,
strengths, and availability, and develop a program for using the volunteers to
support the differentiated learning needs of students as directed by classroom
assessment practices.
Learning at Home. Develop procedures that enable parents to monitor (and help
students to monitor) homework, lend support, and give feedback to teachers,
according to a set of outcomes-based criteria that teachers provide.
Making Decisions. Encourage and facilitate active involvement by both parents
and students in assessment-informed decisions that affect the student, such as
charting next steps. Use assessment as learning opportunities to encourage
students to talk explicitly about their own learning, and encourage others to do
the same.
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(la-||s| x.||»a.| |»||--- |»| \·|»»| l-.1-|s||¡. Making the Difference: Successful
Leadership in Challenging Circumstancesi
80 • Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd
C hapt e r 7
Celebrating with the Community. Consider producing a video series for local
cable networks that highlights the assessment work that is being done in your
schools. It could include footage of the process that you are engaged in and of
teachers, students, and parents in discussion about assessment for learning,
assessment as learning, and assessment of learning.
Rethinking classroom assessment may appear to be a daunting task. As teachers
Christine and Paul discovered (see AVignette of Assessment in Action, pages 18
to 26), focussed attention on assessment purposes and on the students in the class
provide the starting point. However, we need to remember that teachers are not
alone in making assessment a critical part of learning. As Margaret Mead once
said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Nor should we
underestimate the power of classroom assessment.
Reflection:
What are some next
steps that you or
your learning team
might explore in
order to make a
difference in
student learning?
Appendices
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 81
Appendi x 1
A Template for Planning Assessment
Why am I assessing?
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
What am I assessing?
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
What assessment method should I use?
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________________
How can I ensure quality in this assessment?
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
How can I use the information from this assessment?
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________________
Appe ndi x 2
Overview of Planning Assessment
This appendix provides a summary of the tables in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 (Section II) of this document.
Re t hi nk i ng C l as s r o o m As s e s s me nt wi t h Pur po s e i n Mi nd • 85
Assessment for Learning Assessment as Learning Assessment of Learning
Why Assess?
to enable teachers to determine next
steps in advancing student learning
to guide and provide opportunities for
each student to monitor and critically
reflect on his or her learning and
identify next steps
to certify or inform parents or others of
student’s proficiency in relation to
curriculum learning outcomes
Assess What?
each student's progress and learning
needs in relation to the curricular
outcomes
each student's thinking about his or her
learning, what strategies he or she uses
to support or challenge that learning,
and the mechanisms he or she uses to
adjust and advance his or her learning
the extent to which students can apply
the key concepts, knowledge, skills, and
attitudes related to the curriculum
outcomes
What
Methods?
a range of methods in different modes
that make students’ skills and
understanding visible
a range of methods in different modes
that elicit students’ learning and
metacognitive processes
a range of methods in different modes
that assess both product and process
Ensuring
Quality
• accuracy and consistency of
observations and interpretations of
student learning
• clear, detailed learning expectations
• accurate, detailed notes for
descriptive feedback to each student
• accuracy and consistency of student's
self-reflection, self-monitoring, and
self-adjustment
• engagement of the student in
considering and challenging his or
her thinking
• students record their own learning
• accuracy, consistency, and fairness of
judgements based on high-quality
information
• clear, detailed learning expectations
• fair and accurate summative reporting
Using the
Information
• provide each student with accurate
descriptive feedback to further his or
her learning
• differentiate instruction by
continually checking where each
student is in relation to the curricular
outcomes
• provide parents or guardians with
descriptive feedback about student
learning and ideas for support
• provide each student with accurate,
descriptive feedback that will help
him or her develop independent
learning habits
• have each student focus on the task
and his or her learning (not on
getting the right answer)
• provide each student with ideas for
adjusting, rethinking, and articulating
his or her learning
• provide the conditions for the teacher
and student to discuss alternatives
• students report about their learning
• indicate each student's level of
learning
• provide the foundation for discussions
on placement or promotion
• report fair, accurate, and detailed
information that can be used to
decide the next steps in a student's
learning
Resources for Further
Reading
The following resources may be useful for teachers and administrators in their study
and implementation of classroom assessment with purpose in mind. This list is not
exhaustive. Instead, it includes examples of books, articles, materials, and web links
that can be the starting point for individuals and groups to build their own
personalized assessment resource compendia.
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CA: Corwin, 2001.
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Teacher’s Role in Formative Assessment.” School Science Review 82.301
(2001): 55-61.
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Learning: Putting It into Practice. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press, 2003.
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Companion Guide to Assessing Student Learning. New York, NY: Teachers’
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Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind
Assessment for Learning Assessment as Learning Assessment of Learning

2006 Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education. and Yukon Territory as represented by their Ministers of Education.ca> ii •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . If cases are identified where this has not been done. Every effort has been made to acknowledge original sources and to comply with copyright law. Educational tests and measurements. I.Manitoba Education. Nunavut. Errors or omissions will be corrected in a future edition. Students——Evaluation. British Columbia. 3. Academic achievement——Evaluation. assessment of learning Includes bibliographical references. Citizenship and Youth Cataloguing in Publication Data 371. Students——Rating of. the Crown in Right of the Governments of Alberta. Saskatchewan. please notify Manitoba Education.wncp. Copyright © 2006. Northwest Territories. 2.26 Rethinking classroom assessment with purpose in mind : assessment for learning. ISBN 0-7711-3478-9 1. Citizenship and Youth. Manitoba. assessment as learning. This resource is available on the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education website: <www. 4.

and Employment: Nunavut Department of Education: Saskatchewan Learning: Yukon Education: Gail Campbell. and locating examples from within their own jurisdictions. in collaboration with the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education (WNCP) assessment team. Steven Katz from Aporia Consulting. Special thanks are due to Sonia Ben Jaafar and Leanne Foster of Aporia Consulting and Sandra Folk of OISE/UT. Betty Morris Pierre Gilbert Dr. Citizenship and Youth for document design and layout. with WNCP team members sharing in shaping the document. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• iii . Culture. Lorna Earl and Dr. Writing this guide has been a collaborative process. WNCP team members: Alberta Education: British Columbia Education: Manitoba Education.Acknowledgements This document has been developed by Dr. and Carol Dahlstrom for editorial assistance. Cyril Parent of Manitoba Education. Pamela Petten (until May 2004) Margaret Joyce Rick Johnson Terry Markley The team would like to thank all the people in their jurisdictions who provided examples of assessment processes or who provided other information and support. which is made up of representatives from each of the member provinces and territories. and to the many individuals and groups who contributed to the development of this document through their review and valuable advice. Citizenship and Youth: Northwest Territories Education. Cheryl Cline Abrahams Ronda Nicklen (as of May 2004). developing the ideas.

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Table of Contents Acknowledgements Introduction Section I: Setting the Stage Chapter 1: Why Change Classroom Assessment? Classroom Assessment and Societal Change The Effects of Classroom Assessment on Learning Classroom Assessment and Its Effects on Motivation Using Classroom Assessment for Differentiating Learning Quality in Classroom Assessment Chapter 2: Purposes of Classroom Assessment Balance and Tensions in Assessment Purposes Planning the Assessment Process Reporting Assessment Tool Kit A Vignette of Assessment in Action Section II: Three Purposes of Assessment Chapter 3: Assessment for Learning What Is Assessment for Learning? Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment for Learning Planning Assessment for Learning An Example of Assessment for Learning Summary of Planning Assessment for Learning Chapter 4: Assessment as Learning What Is Assessment as Learning? Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment as Learning Planning Assessment as Learning iii vii 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 13 14 15 16 16 18 27 29 29 29 30 35 39 41 41 42 44 v Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• .

An Example of Assessment as Learning Summary of Planning Assessment as Learning Chapter 5: Assessment of Learning What Is Assessment of Learning? Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment of Learning Planning Assessment of Learning An Example of Assessment of Learning Summary of Planning Assessment of Learning Section III: Next Steps Chapter 6: Embedding and Sustaining Purposeful Classroom Assessment Understanding and Motivation Capacity: Knowledge and Skills Leadership School and Community Support for Change Nurturing Inquiry Habits of Mind 50 54 55 55 55 56 61 65 67 69 70 71 72 73 73 Chapter 7: Building Capacity for Enhancing Classroom Assessment 75 Professional Learning Leadership and Support Engaging Parents and Community Appendix 1: Template for Planning Assessment Appendix 2: Overview of Planning Assessment Resources for Further Reading Works Cited 75 77 79 82 85 87 95 vi •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d .

not large-scale assessment. and some another bad: the key issue is around fitness for purpose. This document focusses on the kind of assessment that is an integral part of regular activity in every classroom. and professional developers work together over time in developing and using assessment in their classrooms to differentiate and facilitate learning for all students. Nunavut. and not a substitute for. Saskatchewan. It has been produced by the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education (WNCP). In recent years. a partnership of provinces and territories1 with a mandate to provide quality education for all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 through collaboration in educational programs and services. classroom assessment. and to serve as a basis for designing professional learning. It is a complement to. and will develop local implementation plans and supports. and fairly. All of the provinces and territories in WNCP are engaged in one kind of largeWe are not arguing that one assessment approach is good and scale assessment program or another. Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is designed to support teachers in assessing their students effectively. Each province and territory in the WNCP will use the document within its unique circumstances. share resources. Large-scale assessment plays a (Gipps and Cumming. each of the provinces and territories in the WNCP has recognized the power of assessment for student learning in statements that reinforce a focus on assessment for enhancing learning for all students.Introduction With the goal of enhancing student learning. Manitoba. It is designed to provide a framework for thinking as teachers. administrators. Alberta. every day. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• vii . Northwest Territories. British Columbia. It is important to note that Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is concerned with classroom assessment. Assessing Literacies) useful and important role in providing systemlevel feedback. efficiently. and the Yukon Territory. ____________________ 1.

and involve the community in the education of their children. and the goals of the community. be a planned. •• is an integral part of all teaching and learning processes in the school. Each part of the teaching and learning process should be a positive experience for students and promote personal growth. . (Manitoba Education and Youth. it is important to build into the learning environment reflection. •• is based on the educational needs of all students. 2004) Northwest Territories Schools are extensions of the cultures and languages of the communities they serve. Classroom assessment plays a crucial role in this goal of assessing the continuous educational needs and progress of students to direct the teaching and differentiated learning within the classroom. •• identify students who may require intervention. In this context. and provide an education appropriate to the individual learner. 2003) Saskatchewan Evaluation should be an integral part of the teaching-learning process. . Instead. Changing assessment will require new individual and collective capacity for teachers. 1991) Manitoba The ultimate goal of assessment is to help develop independent. the values. viii •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . assist[s] teachers in meeting individual needs and encourag[es] active participation and student selfappraisal to foster life-long learning. and for creating and implementing changes to teachers’’ assessment practices that are consistent with enhancing learning for all students. and that it is important to intentionally design and use classroom assessment methods to serve the intended purposes. [that] reflect[s] the intended outcomes of the curriculum. (Yukon Department of Education. . Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is premised on the belief that assessment has various purposes. 2004) Alberta Assessment. •• plan further instructional and learning activities. (Saskatchewan Education. it depends on routine attention to the intended purposes. •• set subsequent learning goals. lifelong learners who regularly monitor and assess their own progress. it is not a collection of assessment tools for teachers to ““mix and match. . administrators. at home. and in the community.”” Instead. . and •• measures growth with respect to specific learning outcomes. . rethinking classroom assessment is about thinking first and doing second. . Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind is designed to give teachers an opportunity to both confirm and extend their learning. 2001) Nunavut If students are to successfully move on to the next stage. strives to develop the whole child . (Alberta Learning. Culture and Employment. 2000) British Columbia Teachers use assessment and evaluation information to •• provide students and parents with ongoing feedback. and even students. The notion of a framework for thinking is an important one. Practices should be carried out in such a way that they support continuous learning and development. The Department encourage[s] independent self-assessors in the quest for life-long learning.Introduction Yukon The Yukon Department of Education. This is not a step-by-step process. (British Columbia Ministry of Education. continuous activity . working with parents and community. (Northwest Territories Education. assessment: •• must reflect the vision. selfassessment and correction. (Nunavut Department of Education. 2003) Although this document includes many examples. . . . evaluation and communication of student achievement and growth are essential parts of the teaching and learning process. it provides a framework for thinking about the purposes of assessment.

and can be used as discussion prompts for study groups and other professional learning contexts. It includes an outline of three purposes of classroom assessment and a vignette. analysis. II Three Purposes of Assessment provides a detailed description of the three purposes of assessment that form the framework for thinking about how to select or develop assessment tasks. Concepts are presented in margin boxes. showing what some of the ideas presented might look like in practice. This section suggests ways that educators might engage in this process. Reflection: As you read this document. Resources that might be of interest to particular readers are included in the margins throughout the text. and learning. and examples appear throughout. This document is organized into three sections: I Setting the Stage provides background information about why assessment has moved recently to the forefront. and assessment of learning. and can be fostered at the level of the school. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• ix . deliberation.Introduction This document is written to provide educators with starting points for reflection. and new learning for educators. deliberation. This process involves building individual and collective capacity. and others: assessment for learning. assessment as learning. Case examples from teachers in WNCP territories and provinces are included in each of the chapters of this section. and how to communicate about them with students. parents. and why it is important for educators in all positions to understand both the changes that are occurring in assessment and the implications of these changes for policy and practice. discussion. and the province or territory. how to use them. which shows all three in action. Suggestions for reflection are posted in the margins throughout the text. the district or division. III Next Steps suggests that rethinking assessment is a process of reflection. and there is a list of resources for additional reading at the end of the document. think about how you could apply the ideas to your own assessment practices.

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Section I of this document provides a context in which to understand these changes. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• Section I 1 The current focus on classroom assessment comes out of changes that have been occurring over many years. in particular during the last decade of educational reform in teaching and learning. •• Planning classroom assessment based on purpose ensures that it will be coherent and effective. .Setting the Stage Key Ideas in Section I •• Classroom assessment practices are deeply rooted in societal expectations. and can adapt them to suit the purpose and the needs of individual students. and how teachers teach. with special attention to the role of differentiated learning. reference points. particularly social and historical changes. validity. •• Quality issues (reliability. their motivation to learn. •• Teachers can use many different strategies and tools for classroom assessment. It also examines how classroom assessment is used for multiple purposes. •• Identifying the purpose of any classroom assessment is critical for it to be productive and efficient. and record-keeping) are important in any classroom assessment. •• Classroom assessment plays a major role in how students learn.

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Individuals construct this understanding in many different ways. and effective communication to meet demanding societal. Learning is now viewed as a process of constructing understanding. high school graduation is considered a necessity for all. massive cultural. cognitive science has provided new insights into the nature of learning. depending on their interests. schooling beyond basic skills and knowledge was viewed as required by only a few. during which individuals attempt to connect new information to what they already know. problem-solving. political. made judgements about students’’ achievement based on the testing. •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 3 . and technological changes have meant that every facet of schooling has been subjected to investigation and rethinking. and technological challenges. Learning was long thought to be an accumulation of atomized bits of knowledge that are sequenced. social. economic. environmental. tested the students’’ knowledge of the material. experience. hierarchical. economic. so that ideas have some personal coherence. and it followed a predictable pattern: teachers taught. and the educational community is being asked to ensure that graduates be proficient in complex critical thinking. and then moved on to the next unit of work. educators find themselves faced with the task of creating schools that will serve their students well. More recently. •• In the past. classroom assessment was considered a mechanism for providing an index of learning.Chapter 1 Why Change Classroom Assessment? As society changes. including classroom assessment. But now. and need to be explicitly taught and reinforced. this approach to assessment has come into question as societal expectations for schooling have changed. even if they are uncertain about the nature of the society that their students will face in the future. and learning styles. Throughout most of the 20th century. During the past 50 years. and the traditional role of assessment in motivating student learning has been challenged. however.

accurate. and that achievement in school was the basis for entry into the workplace. and especially how they apply classroom assessment practices. interests. Leadership for Excellence in Assessment: A Powerful New School District Planning Guide) 4 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . The terms formative assessment and summative assessment entered the language of educators——formative assessment being assessment that takes place during teaching to make adjustments to the teaching process. Many jurisdictions instituted standardized testing programs alongside classroom assessment to ensure fair. what they teach. Tests and exams took on major importance in deciding which students would have access to higher education. and for providing information to parents about their children’’s learning. Since the 1960s and 1970s. the purposes for classroom assessment have expanded. (Adapted from Stiggins. At the middle of the 20th century. With the advent of universal schooling at the turn of the 20th century. For solve problems Performance skills: doing something where it is the process that is important the most part. such as practical tasks. attitudes. and motivations matter of making statements about students’’ weaknesses and strengths. These three changes in societal expectations and in knowledge about learning and motivation have strong implications for how teachers teach. and consistent opportunities for students. 2001). it became clear that schooling was an important key to social mobility. projects. and presentations.Chapter 1 •• Educators have traditionally relied on assessment that compares students with more successful peers as a means to motivate students to learn. coursework. assessment was still a Dispositions: developing valued feelings. but recent research suggests students will likely be motivated and confident learners when they experience progress and achievement. Assessment was the mechanism for making decisions about future programs. rather than the failure and defeat associated with being compared to more successful peers (Stiggins. however. and summative assessment being assessment at the end of a unit or term to convey student progress. children were expected to attend school to learn basic skills. Classroom Assessment and Societal Change Reflection: What recent societal changes have had a significant effect on your students and their community? What has the effect been on teaching and learning? Formal and informal assessment of learning has always been part of educational institutions. educators extended their assessment Knowledge: knowing and understanding substantive subject matter content practices and began assessing a wider range Reasoning: using the knowledge and understanding to figure out things and of student work. In order to fulfill these two Expectations of schooling now include these types of valued outcomes: purposes.

Before teachers can plan for targeted teaching and classroom activities. Increasing the amount of time on assessment. the expectations for students have increased in breadth and depth. How Students Learn: Reforming Schools through Learner-Centered Education There is considerable evidence that assessment is a powerful process for enhancing learning. Learning is an interactive process by which learners try to make sense of new information and integrate it into what they already know. Experts describe metacognitive thinking as an internal continuous cycle of feedback and adjustment. Black and Wiliam (1998) synthesized over 250 studies linking assessment and learning. use this knowledge as a starting point for new instruction. (Earl. predicting their learning becomes more efficient and students performance. and monitor students’’ changing perceptions as instruction proceeds. the focus in educational policy has been on preparing all students for tomorrow’’s world. deciding what else they need to know. checking for consistency between different pieces of outside their own learning and considering it information. conversation——monitoring their own understanding. Visual Tools for Constructing Knowledge) 5 Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• . (Costa. and can identify incomplete understandings. not just the understanding. teachers can learn a great deal about their students. skills. false beliefs. When learning is the goal. and naïve interpretations of concepts that may influence or distort learning. and can identify links between prior knowledge and new learning. dramatically affecting teachers’’ instructional and assessment roles. Teachers can observe and probe students’’ thinking over time. and drawing analogies that help them advance their against a range of criteria. and found that the intentional use of assessment in the classroom to promote learning improved student achievement.Why Change Classroom Assessment? More recently. when teachers use classroom assessment to become aware of the knowledge. organizing and begin to internalize the process of standing reorganizing ideas. Students are always thinking and they are either challenging or reinforcing their thinking on a moment-by-moment basis. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning) Learning is also enhanced when students are encouraged to think about their own learning. teachers and students collaborate and use ongoing assessment and pertinent feedback to move learning forward. Assessment provides the feedback loop for this process. When students (and teachers) become comfortable with a Human beings engage in metacognition——reflecting on their own thinking processes. teacher’’s judgement about quality or accuracy. They can gain an understanding of students’’ existing beliefs and knowledge. What is it that they believe to be true? This process involves much more than ““Do they have the right or wrong answer?”” It means making students’’ thinking visible and understanding the images and patterns that they have constructed in order to make sense of the world. however. Rather. classroom assessment promotes learning. and beliefs that their students bring to a learning task. and to apply what they have learned to their future learning. to review their experiences of learning (What made sense and what didn’’t? How does this fit with what I already know. When classroom assessment is frequent and varied. they need to have a sense of what it is that students are thinking. At the same time. does not necessarily enhance learning. or think I know?). Prologue to Heryle. from their perspective. The Effects of Classroom Assessment on Learning Resource: Lambert and McCombs. and students’’ roles as learners.

Even when a student finds the content interesting and the activity enjoyable. emulating those experience. Stages in Growth from Emergent to Proficient had along the way and what insights they provide about your growth in learning. make corrections. Adjusts to adapt to and independently proficient. Has whole rather than Has a holistic grasp Learners at the ““rules”” and patterns. The higher the motivation. Think of something in which you consider yourself to be at the emergent stage. What are those who are proficient in this area doing that you want to emulate? When teachers understand this emergent-to-proficient process as it relates to curriculum outcomes. they can use assessment as the mechanism for helping students understand and value their own learning and predict what comes next. Considers alternatives emergent stage are generally uncertain. learning requires sustained concentration and effort. How did you move from emergent to proficient? are able to apply the new learning independently and direct their Describe the experiences that you own learning. They are proficient. thought to be relies on rules. they develop more complex schemata Reflection: of understanding. and develop a habit of mind for continually reviewing and challenging what they know. When they are learning in any area. ““Synthesis of Research on Strategies for Motivating Students to Learn”” Past views of motivation were heavily influenced by the behaviourist psychology of the 1960s and 1970s. Some considers possible synthesis. gain in confidence and independence. in which a schedule of rewards and punishments led to either reinforcing or extinguishing a particular behaviour. they are automatic. Makes ongoing modelling. Sees the context. direct instruction. students Emergent Proficient make connections and move along a continuum from Little or no practical Expects definitive Locates and Uses analysis and Understands the experience. emergent to proficient. with little sense of underlying patterns. exist to give them direction about how to proceed. Classroom Assessment and Its Effects on Motivation Motivation is essential for the hard work of learning. Limited internalized the key aspects. It was believed that assessment and grading motivated students to work hard and to learn. and adaptations whatever ““rules”” may automatically.Chapter 1 When students engage in this ongoing metacognitive experience. As learners become more competent. integrates ideas into and rely heavily on efficient solutions. Dependent on recognition of patterns. they are able to monitor their learning along the way. Resource: Brophy. answers. Still dimensions so that links and patterns. and Think about something in which you become efficient in problem-solving within new contexts. Looks for of relationships. The ongoing cycle of assessment and feedback can guide students and scaffold their learning as they move along the learning continuum. the more time and energy a student is willing to devote to any given task. the context. It is now understood that the relationship between grades and motivation is neither simple 6 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d .

•• Educators and students use this feedback to understand and direct their attention to improving relevant aspects of student learning. their own learning building confidence in students so they can and need to take risks being relevant. teachers to teach better. Differentiated Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• . and schools to be more educationally effective. and skills. instruction and assessment were differentiated only for those students with identified needs. Students who generally do well are often motivated by the likelihood of success and praise that accompanies doing well. and appealing to students’’ imaginations providing the scaffolding that students need to genuinely succeed Using Classroom Assessment for Differentiating Learning Classes consist of students with different needs. backgrounds. and communities vary. Assessment can enhance student motivation by •• •• •• •• •• •• emphasizing progress and achievement rather than failure providing feedback to move learning forward reinforcing the idea that students have control over. •• Results from the assessment support important insights on the nature. Grades have been found to be motivating for some students. schools. In the past. using various instructional approaches to accommodate the range of learning patterns and styles. they are more likely to invest time and energy in it. and responsibility for. According to current cognitive research.Why Change Classroom Assessment? The logic of using assessment to motivate improvement is relatively simple: •• Assessments can communicate meaningful standards to which school systems. Many jurisdictions have moved toward differentiated instruction——from the one-size-fits-all emphasis on the whole class to identifying the unique learning patterns of each student. and students can aspire. Students who typically do not do well may choose to avoid the likelihood of a failure by devaluing the assessment process and even school. so that all students have the opportunity to learn as much as they can. Assessing Opportunity to Learn: A California Example) nor predictable. Assessment can be a motivator. Each student’’s learning is unique. and as efficiently as they can. as deeply as they can. including designing instruction for students with various learning challenges and disabilities. but by stimulating students’’ intrinsic interest. The contexts of classrooms. As well. people are motivated to learn by success and competence. schools. the societal pressure for more complex learning for all students necessitates that teachers find ways to create a wide range of learning options and paths. Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian Schools •• Manitoba Education and Training. When students feel ownership and have choice in their learning. •• Assessment can motivate students to learn better. teachers. Success for All Learners: A Handbook on Differentiating Instruction •• Gregory and Chapman. not through reward and punishment. strengths. (Herman and Klein. and weaknesses of student progress relative to the standards. •• These standards can provide focus and direction for teaching and learning. and demotivating for others. The class was typically regarded as a 7 Resources: Instructional Strategies •• Hutchison.

example. Yet. however. It is centering on printed text. beliefs. In order to meet the wide range of abilities.”” Assessment practices lead to differentiated learning when teachers use them to gather evidence to support every student’’s learning. and learning styles of their students. The inferences about students’’ 8 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . multi-sensory digital learning tools and digital resources. they make (Adapted from Center for Applied Special Technology. Learning materials can be varied and adaptable to include. Universal Design for Learning) meaning for themselves. and intentions. and the types and complexity of the learning. who learn. modes. such as curricular learning outcomes. bringing with them their own understanding. too. what to assess. •• takes child out of class •• keeps child in class Teachers of these students can access •• reliance on external expert •• teacher/parent as expert support from professionals and •• professionalized •• personalized resource materials specific to the (Adapted from Philpott et al. not just was seen as a single entity. and they approach learning tasks in different ways. not classes. So.Chapter 1 homogeneous unit. Teachers decide how to assess. those with disabilities.”” Any student for whom the lesson did not go well was considered an exception. Supporting Learner Diversity in Aboriginal Schools) student’’s particular learning needs.. It is important to consider each individual student’’s learning. Curriculum guides and programs of study provide the learning outcomes that teachers use to tailor assessment and instruction to help students learn and make sense of their Shifting Paradigms: From “Deficit” Explanations of Diversity to “Inclusive” Strategies for All learning. as well as through writing. that they •• focus on deficits •• focus on strategies may require individualized learning •• prescriptive •• malleable plans in which the curricular learning •• tolerates differences •• embraces differences outcomes have been adjusted. and teachers used phrases such as ““The lesson went well for the class”” or ““My students seemed to grasp that concept well. Universally designed environments and products accommodate the widest were seen as ““different”” from the rest spectrum of users. can of the class. active.”” Universal Design for Learning extends principles used in architecture and product design ““attention deficit disorder. hopes. Students with labels such as ““learning disability. desires. They also interpret students’’ learning according to reference points for success. and learning to accommodate all students. motivations. skills. and adaptability is subtle and integrated into the design.”” Universal Design for Learning ““English as a second language. Deficit Paradigm Inclusion Paradigm The learning needs of some students •• what’’s wrong with the child •• what’’s wrong with the environment are so significant. assessment. Assessment tasks can be designed to allow students to demonstrate their accomplishment of learning outcomes through visual. When students learn. teachers need to differentiate the extent of independence with which students work. and oral individuals. and when to assess. rather than talk about the learning of ““the class. Quality in Classroom Assessment Classroom assessment involves complex processes requiring teachers’’ professional judgement. every day in every class. rather than not just those with such labels.”” or ““gifted”” to learning. and the rest of the class teachers adjust teaching. for differences exist among all students.

If the assessment process is reliable. when the learning is measured using various methods. is defined in the broadest sense of ““determining the degree of something. Students can show their learning in many different ways. should be not be dependent upon prior cultural knowledge. reliability addresses the questions How sure am I? How confident am I that this assessment process provides enough consistent and stable information to allow me to make statements about a student’’s learning with certainty? When teachers make statements about students’’ learning. and connected to their intended purposes. The more information gathered. it is necessary that teachers adhere to these basic measurement principles. or when students demonstrate their learning at different times. Assessment methods should be free from bias brought about by student factors extraneous to the purpose of the assessment. socioeconomic background. fair. the inferences about a student’’s learning should be similar when they are made by different teachers. validity. while another may choose to complete a written text. such as understanding an allusion to a cultural tradition or value. special interests. ethnicity. as it is used here. they need to allow that student to demonstrate his or her competence in a manner that suits his or her individual strengths. subject to the principles of measurement. and special needs. When there is any doubt. rating scales. there is a question about reliability. there is probably not yet enough information to make a reliable statement. and continua——to make statements about student work in relation to the learning outcomes.”” In order to make the right decisions about students. gender. 9 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• . There are four basic principles or quality issues that are important in classroom assessment: reliability. one student may choose to do an oral presentation to demonstrate understanding of a concept. free from bias. reference points. for example. Students’’ success in answering questions on a test or in an oral quiz. Teachers can use a variety of systematic processes——for example. All students should be given the same opportunity to display their strengths. For example. There are many ways to promote reliability: •• Teachers can use a variety of assessment tasks to provide a range of information. If teachers are to have a good understanding of an individual student’’s learning. developmental stage. and record-keeping. they are making inferences about what students know and can do from the evidence that is available to them through assessment. Reliability In classroom assessment. the clearer is the picture of a student’’s learning profile. scoring keys. Possible factors to consider include culture.Why Change Classroom Assessment? learning that teachers make need to be credible. (Principles for Fair Assessment Practices for Education in Canada) Assessment is fundamentally a measurement process. rubrics. unless such knowledge falls within the content domain being assessed. If teachers are unsure about whether the inferences would be consistent under all these conditions. Measurement. language.

learning outcome. Bringing a collective insight about what is expected to the exercise results in more reliable determinations of what students understand.. How is the student performing in relation to the performance of other students in the defined group (norm-referenced)? 3. as they talked about what was in the work in descriptive rather than in evaluative terms. Each reference point results in a different kind of interpretation about students’’ learning. parents. But.or outcomes-referenced)? 2. How is the student performing in relation to his or her performance at a prior time (self-referenced)? If all three of these reference points are used together. A common but problematic scenario when considering a student’’s work is to pay particular attention to the content knowledge that the student has demonstrated in the unit or course. work habits). The interpretation of any kind of measurement depends on reference points. there are three reference points teachers use when considering a student’’s performance: 1. work turned in. How is the student performing in relation to some pre-determined criteria.g. The resulting score or statement doesn’’t provide detail about the nature or quality of the specific learning. attendance. In classroom assessment. they use metres and centimetres. they were able to make their criteria more explicit and talk about the criteria with the group. Reference Points •• Teachers can work with other teachers to review student work. and the general public with meaningful information about what is deemed important. however. meteorologists refer to temperature in relation to the freezing point of water (0° C). the resulting score or statement of learning does not provide clear information about the nature or quality of the specific learning. restaurant reviewers rate the food in restaurants based on quality. It is only by clearly distinguishing the reference points that teachers can provide students. Discussions became valuable when the teachers started talking about their instruction and framed their suggestions in ways that linked to the problem of student learning as reflected in the student work. The lack of clarity inherent in this process. By working together. 10 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . they establish agreement among themselves about what is expected and what can be learned from a particular assessment. adjustments are made to the judgement based on past performance and behaviour (e. (““Looking at Student Work””) found that when teachers were ““invited to look closely together at evidence of student learning. and the distinctions among them are blurred.Chapter 1 Enhancing Reliability by Working Together Little et al. makes it difficult for anyone other than the teacher to disentangle the three reference points. and what the stages are in the journey from emergent to proficient. Then that student’’s work is compared to that of other students in that class and other classes. or expectation (criteria. When carpenters measure distance. This took time because teachers had to get to a point where they were doing the unfamiliar——looking at student work without evaluative judgement. and presentation. Finally.”” it opened up the dialogue about what counts and what is good evidence. originality.

The records should include detailed and descriptive information about the nature of the expected learning as well as evidence of students’’ learning. In fact. the result may be poor and skills associated with ““organization and communication. As an endof-unit assessment. interpreting it. and select historical information When thinking about validity.”” and to report to parents about decisions and problematic each student’’s level of competence on this outcome. he is able to assess only the students’’ recognition and recall from prior exposure. and presenting a summary. However. organizing it. and attitudes •• providing students with opportunities to show their knowledge of concepts in many different ways (i. The records that teachers and students keep are the evidence that support the decisions that are made about students’’ learning. a teacher provides the students with detailed graphic organizers and processes for identifying inferences for those who have the pertinent information. they are assumed to have a base of skill in organizing and communicating. and so may not be given an opportunity to develop and learning and all its embedded internalize these key skills. •• analyzing the intended When these students move to the next teacher.Why Change Classroom Assessment? Validity Validity in classroom assessment is about the accuracy of the interpretation and the use of assessment information: How well does the assessment measure what I’’m trying to measure? Does the interpretation of the results lead Unintended Consequences from an Invalid Interpretation to appropriate conclusions and Imagine that a social studies curriculum outcome for students is ““organization and consequences? communication”” and that the objective includes these sub-items: •• students recall. and should be collected from a range of assessments. we focus on the inferences that •• students communicate their knowledge and understanding of historical events are drawn from an assessment In teaching this complex constellation of concepts in a unit about events that led to World War and the consequences of these II. to establish a composite picture of student learning •• students accurately select and use chronological conventions Record-Keeping High-quality record-keeping is critical for ensuring quality in classroom assessment. because the material that appeared on the assessment was not new and the students had already practised creating graphic organizers with this material. When an assessment is misinterpreted or studied in class and use a graphic organizer to produce a detailed summary of the events used for purposes that were not leading to World War II. including content. the intended learning. thinking processes. skills. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 11 .. and the decisions that teachers and students make about the learning •• ensuring that the assessment adequately covers the targeted learning outcomes. using a range of assessment approaches) and with multiple measures. consequences. depends on not their ability to organize and communicate new material. elements •• having a good match among the assessment approaches.e. the teacher’’s inference is Validity of classroom assessment faulty. the teacher asks the students to review a selection of material that they had been assessed. rank. The teacher intends this assessment to infer whether the students had internalized the concepts intended.

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and whether students apply what they know. they make sense of information. when. 2. This is the regulatory process in metacognition. It requires careful design on the part of teachers so that they use the resulting information to determine not only what students know. The focus of this document is on three2 distinct but inter-related purposes for classroom assessment: assessment for learning. When students are active. adaptations. the term assessment for learning encapsulates the ideas described here in two categories——assessment for learning and assessment as learning. and use it for new learning. ____________________ 2. and to provide feedback to students to help them advance their learning. Assessment for learning is designed to give teachers information to modify and differentiate teaching and learning activities.Chapter 2 Purposes of Classroom Assessment Chapter 1 provided the context and arguments for the necessity of changing classroom assessment. and critical assessors. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 13 . and when it is carefully designed to fit that purpose. Teachers can also use this information to streamline and target instruction and resources. In this chapter. As such. It acknowledges that individual students learn in idiosyncratic ways. the emphasis is on the purposes of classroom assessment. engaged. but it also recognizes that there are predictable patterns and pathways that many students follow. It asserts that assessment works best when its purpose is clear. Assessment as learning is a process of developing and supporting metacognition for students. assessment as learning. Some authors identify only two categories: assessment of learning and assessment for learning. and assessment of learning. relate it to prior knowledge. and even major changes in what they understand. but also to gain insights into how. It occurs when students monitor their own learning and use the feedback from this monitoring to make adjustments. 1. Assessment as learning focusses on the role of the student as the critical connector between assessment and learning.

and use them all wisely. If the purpose is enhancing learning. formative assessment. Balance and Tensions in Assessment Purposes Assessment for learning. Traditionally. Teachers concentrate on ensuring that they have used assessment to provide accurate and sound statements of students’’ proficiency. teachers need to be especially concerned about the quality of the assessment. It is not always easy. getting the balance right. 2. Assessment of learning has an important role to play. but is used only when summative judgements are required. few have systematically or explicitly used assessment to develop students’’ capacity to evaluate and adapt their own learning. and assessment of learning all serve valuable. however. and reporting these judgements to others. and assessment for learning. and sometimes impossible. Systematic assessment as learning——where students become critical analysts of their own learning——was rare. Reflection: Where are you on an emerging-proficient continuum in your understanding of different classroom assessment purposes and how purpose influences the assessment process? It is purpose that dictates how assessment is constructed and used. and become comfortable with reflection.Chapter 2 Reflection: What is an example from your teaching practice of assessment for learning? assessment as learning? assessment of learning? It requires that teachers help students develop. Although some teachers have incorporated self-assessment into their programs. Assessment of learning is summative in nature and is used to confirm what students know and can do. and how it might be used by others. to show how they are placed in relation to others. though it was often informal and implicit. It is important for educators to understand the three assessment purposes. to demonstrate whether they have achieved the curriculum outcomes. practise. assessment as learning. assessment of learning being the predominant focus. to serve three different assessment purposes at the same time. The first pyramid illustrated in Fig. occasionally. Teachers traditionally have also been using assessment for learning when they built in diagnostic processes. the role of assessment for learning and assessment as learning takes on a much higher profile than assessment of learning.1 shows the traditional relationship of the three approaches to one another. and feedback at various stages in the teaching and learning process. using the information to make judgements about students’’ performances. recognize the need to balance among them. It is very difficult. If we want to enhance learning for all students. the focus of classroom assessment has been on assessment of learning——measuring learning after the fact. If the purpose is checking learning for reporting. The second pyramid suggests a reconfiguration of the balance among the three approaches. 3. and. so that the recipients of the information can use the information to make reasonable and defensible decisions. and with a critical analysis of their own learning. know which one they are using and why. purposes. 14 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and different. the assessment needs to give students an opportunity to make their learning apparent without anxiety or censure. one that emphasizes assessment as learning.

assessment as learning. Curriculum. and decide how we will assess whether students are progressing toward the goals. Once the Where do we need to end up? question is answered. on the other hand. methods. then the subsequent questions How can we best get there? and How will I know when we’’ve arrived? can be considered. and creates a coherent organizational structure. we assess what students have learned. Section II outlines a set of planning considerations for designing and using assessment for learning. Understanding by Design Backward Mapping: Planning with the End in Mind As teachers. It also requires us to consider the misconceptions and confusions we might encounter along the way. and learning are interconnected and interact in an iterative and sometimes (but not always) cyclical process. All four need to be aligned and coherent for the learning to be effective and meaningful. makes the connections explicit. It prompts us to start at ““the end”” with the goals and outcomes we hope to achieve. Only then should we begin considering which assessment and instructional strategies would work best to support students in working toward the desired outcomes.1 Balance Among Assessment Purposes Assessment Learning FOR OF Traditional Assessment Pyramid OF AS Assessment Learning FOR AS Reconfigured Assessment Pyramid Earl. Resource: Wiggins and McTighe. The process of planning is what provides a blueprint that centres on the purpose. then proceed with teaching the material. Backward mapping requires us not only to think about the curricular goals we want students to meet. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning Planning the Assessment Process Careful planning is required to ensure that there are logical connections among the purpose. but also to deconstruct the complex learning processes involved to identify the stages of learning. and teaching strategies by turning the planning process on its head. and use of the results. Against this blueprint teachers can constantly question their strategies: Are my strategies still appropriate and aligned? Do I need to make adjustments or perhaps even shift direction? Although teachers do not need to adhere strictly to their plans. Classroom assessment is planned in relation to purpose and in alignment with curriculum and instruction. creates the necessary alignment among desired outcomes. 2. 15 Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• . only to discover that the lessons or the assessment tools did not align well with curricular expectations. assessment. and assessment of learning.Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t Fig. instruction. Somewhere at the end of this process. assessment tools. we sometimes begin planning a unit or sequence of learning activities by identifying a topic and favoured lessons and activities that optimize the resources we already have on hand. without proper planning it is difficult to ensure balance and coherence. Backward mapping.

and stable meaning provides rich. This kind of reporting •• •• •• •• explicitly identifies the purpose of the assessment provides sufficient context and points of reference to make interpretation reasonable uses a variety of descriptors and symbols (e.. Wiggins (1998) suggests that reporting be Inform and Improve Student Performance) outcome-based.3 Although some methods have come to Which of the be associated with assessment during instruction and learning. Educative Assessment: Designing Assessment to these.2 do you use? For what that can be used for all three purposes: assessment for learning. More complex forms of classroom assessment require new ways of reporting. Although the methods have been organized by function——gathering information. Suggestions should be included about Revision of report cards is best not construed as a matter of teachers how the information could be used to help make coming up with new designs and grading systems based on their own reasoned judgements.2 is not exhaustive. honest yet fair. Better reports require that we ask a radical question: Who is state purpose and learning outcomes.g. and communicating——there are indeed interrelationships among them.Chapter 2 Reporting The fundamental purpose of reporting is to enable parents and students to understand the student’’s performance at a specific point in time. interpreting information. and others assessment methods with assessment at the end of a unit or term. and should the audience and what is the purpose of reporting? present an accurate profile of a student in relation to (Wiggins. The reports should clearly interests. interpreting. G. detailed information and evidence (not just a single grade) Assessment Tool Kit The variety of methods available for collecting. letter or percent grades) that have clear. as well as the resources noted in the margins throughout. See Resources for Further Reading at the end of this document for a partial list. rich in context. ____________________ 3. agreed-upon. The list in Fig. and assessment of learning. What is important is that teachers first clarify the purpose of assessment and then select the method that best serves the purpose in the particular context. 2. and there are Reflection: many excellent resources for teachers. 16 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . 2. and to decide what is required for future progress. so that an outsider can make sense of the information. keeping records. and user friendly. and it is important to note that some methods belong in multiple categories. These new ways need to include both a frame of reference and sufficient information. and reporting information about what students know and can do is endless. but gives examples of the kinds of methods that teachers can use for assessment purposes. there are a variety of methods in Fig. assessment purposes? as learning.

Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t Fig. presentations Parent-student-teacher conferences Records of achievement Report cards Learning and assessment newsletters Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 17 . highlighting curriculum outcomes. or others opportunities for teachers. docudramas Learning logs Projects and investigations Description Gathering Information asking focussed questions in class to elicit understanding systematic observations of students as they process ideas assignments to elicit understanding investigative discussions with students about their understanding and confusions opportunities for students to show their learning in oral and media performances. photographs Portfolios Demonstrations. parents. exhibitions opportunities for students to show their learning through written response complex tasks that encourage students to show connections that they are making among concepts they are learning systematic and adaptive software applications connected to curriculum outcomes simulated or role-playing tasks that encourage students to show connections that they are making among concepts they are learning descriptions students maintain of the process they go through in their learning opportunities for students to show connections in their learning through investigation and production of reports or artifacts Interpreting Information profiles describing student learning to determine extent of learning. examinations Rich assessment tasks Computer-based assessments Simulations. next steps. student activities. 2. and examples of their learning Developmental continua Checklists Rubrics Reflective journals Self-assessment Peer assessment Anecdotal records Student profiles Video or audio tapes. and to report progress and achievement descriptions of criteria to consider in understanding students’’ learning descriptions of criteria with gradations of performance described and defined reflections and conjecture students maintain about how their learning is going and what they need to do next process in which students reflect on their own performance and use defined criteria for determining the status of their learning process in which students reflect on the performance of their peers and use defined criteria for determining the status of their peers’’ learning Record-Keeping focussed. and students to examine and discuss the student’’s learning and plan next steps detailed records of students’’ accomplishment in relation to the curriculum outcomes periodic symbolic representations and brief summaries of student learning for parents routine summaries for parents.2 Assessment Tool Kit Method Questioning Observation Homework Learning conversations or interviews Demonstrations. judging panels. descriptive records of observations of student learning over time information about the quality of students’’ work in relation to curriculum outcomes or a student’’s individual learning plan visual or auditory images that provide artifacts of student learning systematic collection of their work that demonstrates accomplishments. growth. tests. presentations Quizzes. and reflection about their learning Communicating formal student presentations to show their learning to parents.

The following vignette shows two teachers’’ learning journey as they collaborate. Is something wrong?”” ““I’’m concerned about Sam. without disrupting the visual proportions. He just failed another test. ““You know. and reflected on what they were learning. I’’d like to do something to help me better understand Sam. their reflections. He had several suggestions about where to put the props to divide the stage into areas that are complex irregular shapes. planned instruction. but mostly he just looked down. It doesn’’t sound like the same Sam that I had just been thinking about. and reflect on their assessment and instruction practices. if you’’re interested? We could focus on differentiating instruction. Their explanation sets the stage for the approaches elaborated upon in subsequent chapters. but are all about equal size so that each area is just large enough for the characters and the action. ““It sounds like he’’s applying mathematical concepts. and questions for follow-up. debriefed how things worked.”” Christine looked surprised. and is always mediated by the particular needs of students. things like that. one boy. Sam was an enigma to her. came in. He’’s able to visualize the scene and the entire stage. plan. Christine needed to assess what each student already 18 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . Christine would work with Sam in the classroom. deciding where to place things on the stage. Sometimes he responded well to questions she asked him in class. They made a list of books and websites to investigate. Two of the students were following individual learning plans and several others were new learners of English. He’’d failed another math test. Christine was about to start a mathematics unit on operations with fractions. And he suggested a way to move just one wall to make a different configuration for another scene.”” Christine had been thinking about the diversity of the students in her class and the need for diversity in relation to their learning. Saad. But I have been very impressed with the creative ideas he has for blocking the set. I’’ve also been thinking about the professional growth plan that we’’re to do. Paul would also contribute and learn by being be a ““critical friend”” to Christine as they generated ideas. and agreed to meet once a week. and Paul would make focussed observations of Sam in drama class and one day a week in Christine’’s math class. Here was their chance to put their plan into action. rethink. Paul. Paul. Recently. Paul and Christine began drafting their joint professional growth plan. ““Hi Chris. Sam has a different way of seeing things that really helped the class plan the stage layout. Have you noticed anything unusual about his behaviour in drama class recently?”” ““No. who should enter from where. the results of their strategies. You look to be deep in thought.”” ““Blocking the set? What do you mean?”” ““It’’s part of staging a play. had just arrived from North Africa. not just for Sam.Chapter 2 A Vignette of Assessment in Action Assessment happens every day in classrooms. but for all of the kids. The focus would be mathematics. the drama teacher. he had begun disturbing others in class. They would each keep journals of their planning. Before moving into adding and subtracting fractions. The next day. Christine was in the staff room of her Middle Years school. In fact. marking math tests and thinking about what she could do to help Sam. what props we need.”” Christine began to think about how to tap into Sam’’s ability to visualize spatial relationships and use this to scaffold his math learning. try out. It is inextricably tied to instruction. Maybe we could work as a team. They agreed to take an action research approach to understanding Sam’’s and the others’’ learning needs.

6. 3. George has 7/12 of his left.Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t understood about fractions. and their thinking processes when working with fractions. you can work in your ““home groups. 1/6. represent one or more of the following fractions in as many ways as possible: 1/2. or both. Christine asked the students to look at the six sheets that they had been working on and make two piles. 5. (b) How much chocolate do Odette and George have in total? As they were approaching the end of the math class. (a) Odette and George each have the same kind of chocolate bar. One pile would contain the tasks they thought they understood how to do. The first task would be done in their ““home groups. By placing fraction tiles on the shape. or Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 19 . use of mathematical language is precise Each student was given grid paper. 5/6. 1/6. Christine and Paul developed a set of tasks designed to gather some initial understanding of students’’ prior knowledge in relation to the following outcomes from previous grades: •• •• •• •• basic concepts and representations of fractions: transfers easily among concrete. Which fraction is larger: 1/6 or 1/5? Show or explain your thinking. can find and state a whole series of equivalent fractions communicating mathematical thinking in fractions: work is shown and explanations are clear and fully developed. 4/3. but their explanations would be shared with their ““math buddy”” later. and symbolic representations ordering of fractions: independently orders a sequence of fractions involving any combination of conditions equivalent fractions: given a fraction. Replace the ““?”” with a number to complete the following equation: 18/24 = 6/? Put the following fractions in order from smallest to largest: 3/4. counters. 1/5. How many cookies will Suzanne and each of her friends get? Show how you know with a diagram. a good idea about what they needed to do next in order to fully understand fractions and the operations with fractions that they would soon be learning. 3/4. 2/3. Odette still has 3/4 of her chocolate bar left. Christine explained that their work on these tasks would give them. the gaps in understanding. as well as her. 2. They could demonstrate this thinking by drawing or writing. yellow red blue green Suppose the following shape is 1 whole. Following are the six orientation tasks that the students were given: 1. They were each given six sheets of paper. with one task on each sheet. 4. 7/6. The other pile would contain the tasks they felt they didn’’t fully understand. they marked all of the pages in this pile with a check mark ( ). and a set of fraction tiles to use in any way he or she wished. 7/12. On their task sheets they were to demonstrate their thinking as they came up with solutions. Draw and write the symbols for all the equivalent fractions that you make. and she wants to share them with her 3 friends.”” You’’ll need the following fraction tiles. verbal. Suzanne has 11 cookies.”” The remaining five tasks would be done individually. pictorial. For this task. Who has more chocolate left? Show how you know this with a diagram.

Christine circulated about the room. When you look at them. Christine: Clifford. it looks like the kids are all over the map in their understanding. Anthony is right. Christine reviewed the task sheets. After class. and misconceptions. A couple of them need even more than that. but I’’d only have 6 marbles. After Paul had reviewed her notes. It’’s as if he doesn’’t have the mathematical language to represent what he is thinking. I know because I drew two identical circles and cut one into 5 equal parts and the other into 6. which fraction is larger. the students were given their math task sheets and. 1/5 is bigger than 1/6. So. When there are fewer pieces. That way I get more. I tried to think about having 24 marbles and if I took 18 of them. which is larger than 7/6. Christine began planning her instruction and determining groups. he said. but I think he basically understands the concepts. What I find amazing is that there are many kids like Sam who get the concepts. Christine: Let’’s look at the fourth task. ““Well. 4/3 is the largest fraction. If it were a pizza. you can see it. Christine asked questions. the number on the bottom of the fraction is smaller. I think it would be out of 8. she explained how this process of collecting evidence of students’’ understanding had already shown her much. observing and making notes about their understandings. and the questioning in class. Christine: So. Therefore. The accompanying chart provides a sample of her records. His profile is not that different from some of the others. And. it kinda doesn’’t make sense but when you look at it in a picture. Sabrina. I’’d rather be sharing among 5 than 6. It might be 8. and why? Trevor: 4/3 and 7/6 are the largest because they’’re both larger than one. So. Many of the students already demonstrated a solid grasp of the concepts and were ready to move forward with some consolidation 20 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . that would be 18 of 24. 1/6 or 1/5? How do you know? Sabrina: 1/5 is larger. These pages were marked with a question mark (?). 4/3 is the same as 8/6.”” Based on what each student needed to learn next. there are some who really need to have more direct experience with the concepts related to ‘‘parts of a unit’’ before they go on to do operations with fractions. When Christine met with Paul next. The pictures he draws are accurate. And the pieces are bigger. If the whole thing is cut into 5 pieces. what do you think about the third task? What does the ““?”” stand for? Anthony: I’’m not sure. Even though 6 is bigger than 5.Chapter 2 ones where they were unsure about how to proceed. Christine: Let’’s start with the second task. Sam? Is that true? Sam: Yeah. Trevor. what did you think is the largest fraction. He actually seems to have a pretty good sense of the concepts. their explanations of their thinking to their math buddies. It’’s confusing. Christine: Any thoughts about this one. At the beginning of the next math class. then the pieces are bigger than if it is cut into 6 pieces. her review of their task sheets. Based on her observations of students working on the tasks (in groups and individually). the slice that represents 1/5th is bigger. but that doesn’’t translate into the abstract language of mathematics. shared their thinking and how they arrived at their solutions. Sam has trouble expressing what he knows and can do. Penny? Penny: Yeah. with their math buddies. During these exchanges. but don’’t know how to express what they know. if I had 6 marbles out of something and it was the same. 18/24 is 3/4 and 6/8 is also 3/4. gaps. The question mark stands for 8. I don’’t know. I need to find a way for them to catch up. The math buddies’’ task was to ask for more information or clarification about their buddies’’ thinking. In a class debriefing with the students about the tasks. And Sam doesn’’t stand out as a problem. Christine: Anthony. do you agree? Clifford: Yes I do. Christine completed an observation form that she and Paul had designed. Am I right?”” ““Yes.

symbolic representations and has a good sense of the congruence across different representations.”” Yet he could articulate his processes using pictorial references. including the basic addition of fractions task. Work individually with him to find out what is confusing him and then ensure he gets lots of opportunity to practise and consolidate his learning. Provide challenging opportunities to apply fractions and complex representations. When consulting with his math buddy.. Seems to have a good understanding of how fractions work but needs to learn mathematical language (e. Ready to work with addition and subtraction of fractions. Uses mathematical language. Explanations (verbal and written) are clear and precise. and follow-up Trevor Readily transfers among concrete. didn’’t use the language of fractions or of mathematics——simply said it ““just went like this”” and ““like this. Indicated uncertainty in the debriefing. Anthony Had assumed Anthony had a better understanding than he was able to demonstrate. Seems like there may be something troubling him in his life outside of school. Correctly ordered the entire series of equivalent fractions and was already talking about how they would be represented in decimals and percents. Completed the task with the pattern blocks very quickly and accurately and moved on to play with alternate configurations. Provided the correct answer for the equation 18/24=6/? but was very self-conscious when describing his reasoning to his math buddy. pictorial. Was able to work with the shapes with ease and found several equivalent fractions. ideas. Sam Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 21 . Some difficulty when concepts are applied to something other than area. but those he did complete were correct.”” and when asked how he knew it he said ““It’’s just obvious. ““numerator”” and ““denominator””) and move from concrete to abstract representation of mathematical concepts.g. Understood all questions.Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t Summary of Observations: Prior Knowledge of Fractions Student Understanding Feedback. perhaps because he can’’t visualize it. Didn’’t complete the ordering of fractions task during class because he had to first pictorially view what they looked like. Only partially completed the tasks and put ‘‘?’’s on all pages.

Will contact Saad’’s parents to bring them up to date. Needs to continue working with manipulatives to consolidate his understanding of equivalences and ordering of fractions. Lydia 22 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . The challenge will be convincing her that the use of manipulatives is acceptable when problem-solving. The first task was designed with Lydia in mind. she mentioned that 3/4 also equals 75%. Is ready for some more advanced work in fractions. he was able to tell his math buddy about fractions of a unit and equivalent fractions. Is doing very well with his individual learning plan. but in her view. ideas. Lydia manipulated the tiles. I couldn’’t accurately determine her depth of understanding. Had begun work on task sheets 3 to 6 on his worksheet. Not very familiar with mathematical language—— not surprising given his command of the English language is still very limited. fitting various configurations into the shape. with support. she may recognize that finding alternatives is an important strategy in problem-solving. they were ““wrong. Clifford Saad Provided well-developed solutions to all of the tasks using diagrams. Needs work on the language of mathematics and confidence in what he knows. With her individualized program. Was insistent that ½ was the only ““right”” way to represent half of the object..”” This limited her willingness to experiment with various configurations in task #1. and follow-up Penny Has a solid grasp of the notion of fractions. After her ““home group”” members showed her how to represent some simple fractions using the tiles and shapes (1/2 and 1/4). Has a good understanding and is ready to move on to more complex work. Although he didn’’t make any marks on task sheets # 1 and #2. Used pictures and gestures so effectively that his group members and his math buddy could understand and translate into mathematical language. Remained quiet throughout.Chapter 2 Student Understanding Feedback. I had hoped from the first task that I would learn more about what she understands. but no written explanations provided. Wanted to know the ““rules.”” With more experience with concrete representation and manipulatives. and that there are often other ““right”” ways. Should soon be ready to move on to adding and subtracting fractions.g.”” Saw the same pattern in her written work. e. but is stuck on ““rules. Because she did not articulate her thought processes while completing the task. Is already representing fractions as percentages. They have been concerned about his progress. Found the answers and represented them right away in numbers rather than pictures. but it didn’’t work. Realized that the other fractions were the same. Will try doing the tasks with her individually to get a sense of what to do next.

thinking independently 16. imagining and innovating. and find solutions. thinking flexibly. Christine intended to work very closely with this group to help them catch up to the other groups. Paul was particularly interested in helping students develop the ““habits of mind”” that are essential for learning new information and skills. and persisting.Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t and extension of their learning. Christine would continue to work with her individually. rather than forming groups within these two sets. students need to view and represent problems in various ways. Most of them were not yet confident about their knowledge because they were not able to communicate what they knew. applying past knowledge to new situations. 3. modelling. dependent on rules and unbending in her convictions. for example. and this would reinforce the idea that there are several ways to represent fractions. Penny was going to be a challenge. thinking and communicating with clarity and precision 10. This group included Clifford and Lydia. and Saad.”” Christine began the next day by introducing the Sixteen Habits of Mind. remaining open to continuous learning (Costa and Kallick. innovating 12. taking responsible risks 14. before she could determine which group would best fit his needs. Christine and Paul planned a series of challenges designed to provide practice and consolidation of their understandings and skills with adding and subtracting fractions. In planning their instructional strategies for the unit. imagining. they would feel frustrated. As Christine discovered. and would not be able to fully perform operations with fractions. form a hypothesis. 6. This requires. For these mixed groups. Habits of Mind) Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 23 . but needed to work on describing their work in mathematical language. She was so sure of herself. these habits of mind are essential in math. 4. questioning. even though Christine was comfortable with the way she was programming for her according to her individualized learning plan. With Saad’’s emerging English language skills. They needed some direct instruction so that they could express themselves mathematically and be better positioned to do operations. which they would use increasingly in their work throughout the rest of the year: 1. 2. 7. I was surprised by the number of students who placed question marks on their task sheets——even those who completed the tasks successfully. Christine and Paul opted to try small mixed groups made up from across these two larger sets. 5. Maybe working on habits of mind will help them reflect on their own work. Young people require explicit teaching. but he seemed ready for more challenging math tasks. Lydia was a concern. responding with wonderment and awe 13. Christine and Paul discussed some of the reading they had been doing. A second set of students seemed to understand the concepts. taking risks. 8. persisting managing impulsivity listening with understanding and empathy thinking flexibly thinking about thinking striving for accuracy questioning and posing questions applying past knowledge to new situations Habits of Mind 9. Those who were already adeptly using mathematical language may be able to model this language for the others in their groups. and practice in order to develop these habits. for example. They wanted me to tell them if they are right or not. To be successful in math. Christine decided to put her in the group with Sam because they would be working on developing language to describe equivalences. creating. finding humour 15. Without a solid grasp of these concepts. Christine and his group members needed to help him. and include her in as many class activities as possible. She needed to find out more about what was going on with Anthony. This included Trevor. Bill. Christine had some more assessment sleuthing to do with some of the other students. Another group would benefit by working intensively with manipulatives and having opportunities to practise and talk about relationships of parts of a unit. ““Many of the students are not very aware of their own thinking processes and they don’’t seem to have ways of knowing if they are on the right track or not. gathering data through all of the senses 11. and in knowing how to act on what they learn. From Christine’’s point of view. However. This included Sam.

with Paul’’s guidance in maintaining focus on the learning outcomes. They began discussing criteria that students could use when Paul asked. ““Why are we doing this for them if they’’re learning to be skilled at self-assessment? We can all develop criteria together. the students would be learning to think about their thinking. Christine asked students to write the idea or explanation that they thought was most sound in their notebooks. just like detectives. Sometimes their questions cause them to change their hypotheses or to think about the problem in completely different ways.”” The criteria that the class developed. She also indicated that they would write their habits-of-mind questions in their notebooks and on sticky notes that would later be assembled into concept maps. and all that the students had learned about their own learning. By reviewing worksheets. using only 24 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . she wrote her observations about each student on a clipboard. Christine could get a sense of what they were thinking. and the kinds of learning they would be doing. their groupings. they decided that the next habit of mind that they would introduce was ““gathering data through all senses. are as follows: Self-Assessment Criteria for Operations in Fractions Knowledge Do I understand operations with fractions. they answered the self-assessment questions and provided evidence for their answers. and in numbers and symbols? Have I used correct mathematical language? Insight Can I find alternative ways to solve the problem? Do I understand operations with fractions well enough to use them in new contexts? The students used the criteria to consider the work that they had done in the unit. Christine used examples from television. For the next few math sessions. What questions could you ask about the way you are thinking? What makes sense and what doesn’’t. project notes. descriptive feedback and more complex challenges that would enable them to apply new learning in a number of contexts. showing how detectives ask questions to find more evidence and come closer to understanding what might have happened.”” They also agreed that they needed some way for the students to monitor their own learning about fractions. he also observed and discussed with the students their questions and the concept maps they were developing. By reviewing these.Chapter 2 To start. and quiet places for individual work. and other materials in their math folders. subtract) and know when to use them? Am I sure that my work does not contain calculation errors? Communication Have I shown my work and explained my thinking clearly and accurately so that others can understand it? Can I show my understanding in pictures. When Christine and Paul met next. Paul and Christine struggled with how they would communicate all that they had learned about the students’’ accomplishments. Near the end of every math session. the students continued working in their groups on the assignments that Christine and Paul had developed. As they approached the end of the unit. the students shared with the class some of their questions. in speaking. Christine worked with each group and with individuals to give them focussed. During the one class per week in which Paul was able to be in the math class. Like detectives. and why? What makes you wonder about your ideas? Christine discussed with the class how they were going to approach this unit. in writing. As she worked with them. and many ideas and possible explanations emerged. they would focus on posing questions. and why they’’re important to learn? Do I ask thoughtful questions to help me better understand? Skills Can I do operations with fractions (add. The class discussed how questioning what you are thinking can lead to new ideas. Together they moved the furniture into a new configuration of activity stations for group work.

preparing a display and presentations. you can see advantages and disadvantages and make better choices.”” said Paul.”” Paul and Christine agreed. Invitation to Parents to Share in Our Math Learning We invite you to join us this Friday afternoon in a celebration of learning about fractions. And find a way to do this in all subject areas. On Friday the room was buzzing. and organizing a process for parents to participate in math.”” Reflection: What implications of the approaches in this vignette do you see for student learning in your classes? Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 25 . and share the detailed information at parent-teacher night. Saad and Sam both spoke about how they could use mathematical language to describe what they were doing. as well as the rules. Penny shared how important it was to consider a range of alternatives. The students have been preparing packages of their work and reflections to share with you. ““We have to credit Sam for steering us toward this learning journey. You have to use the ‘‘reasonableness test’’ to check your solutions. Clifford said. It’’s amazing how focussing on each student’’s learning can accomplish so much. Some students made presentations for groups of parents about aspects they found interesting in what they had learned about their learning. and during the next session they guided the class in drafting the invitation. ““There may be several ways to do something. Each student shared his or her package of material with his or her parents. ““Seeing the look on Saad’’s father’’s face was worth it all. They decided to use the anecdotal comment space to provide a concise summary of each student’’s current level of understanding. Paul and Christine met to review the activities of the past few weeks. with reflections by the student notes about growth made by the student and the teacher ideas for work at home While assembling the packages.”” ““And hearing Sam confidently using mathematical language to explain the way in which he sees relationships was also worth it. Just knowing the rules isn’’t enough. These presentations revealed how different the learning process was for different students. Saad worked with the numbers and Sam ““saw”” the relationships. some of us think that we should have a celebration of our work. ““Well. ““You know.Pu r p o s e s o f C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t letter grades and short comments on a report card. As she said. each student prepared a package that included •• •• •• •• •• the student’’s self-assessment based on the ““self-assessment criteria”” the teacher’’s assessment of the student’’s work linked to the outcomes-based criteria for operations with fractions examples of student work as evidence for the statements.”” replied Christine. Now we really have to keep going with this. There will also be demonstrations and presentations that we hope will provide you with deeper insight into what we have learned.”” In the following week. that was a successful start to our journey in differentiating learning. and about how they had very different ways of understanding their work with fractions. and when you think about all of them. With guidance.

26 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . what worked and what didn’’t. they shared their story. and present our research to the rest of the staff. ““Let’’s write a formal reflection on the whole process.Chapter 2 Reflection: As you read the rest of the document. think about how Christine and Paul are using assessment for various purposes.”” Paul added. ““And a way to share it with our colleagues.”” At the next staff meeting. And the process continued.

of) is intentional. assessment as learning. developing. and raises different quality issues. and using assessment methods that are ““fit for purpose. and assessment of learning. different planning. assessment as learning (Chapter 4). The chapters in this section describe in detail three different assessment purposes: assessment for learning (Chapter 3). Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• Section II 27 Thinking about assessment from the perspective of purpose rather than method puts the emphasis on the intended end result. Senior 2 Science: A Foundation for Implementation) These questions are used throughout Section II to show the key planning considerations in designing assessment. . The order (for. as. •• Each of these purposes requires a different role for teachers. Key Ideas in Section II •• Classroom assessment is used for various purposes: assessment for learning. •• The most important part of assessment is the interpretation and use of the information that is gleaned for its intended purpose.”” teachers think about curriculum and about their students as they ask themselves the following questions: How can I use the information from this assessment? How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? What assessment method should I use? What am I assessing? Why am I assessing? (Adapted from Manitoba Education and Youth.Three Purposes of Assessment In planning. and assessment of learning (Chapter 5). Assessment of learning should be reserved for circumstances when it is necessary to make summative decisions. indicating the importance of assessment for learning and assessment as learning in enhancing student learning.

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and resources. instructional strategies. Assessment for learning occurs throughout the learning process. Students learn in individual and idiosyncratic ways. In assessment for learning. at the same time. so that teachers can decide what they can do to help students progress. teachers use assessment as an investigative tool to find out as much as they can about what their students know and can do. It is interactive. or gaps they might have. yet.Chapter 3 Assessment for Learning What Is Assessment for Learning? Reflection: Think about an example of assessment for learning in your own teaching and try to develop it further as you read this chapter. and what confusions. Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment for Learning Assessment for learning occurs throughout the learning process. It is designed to make each student’’s understanding visible. there are predictable patterns of connections and preconceptions that some students may experience as they move along the continuum from emergent to proficient. It provides the basis for providing descriptive feedback for students and deciding on groupings. preconceptions. The wide variety of information that teachers collect about their students’’ learning processes provides the basis for determining what they need to do next to move student learning forward. with teachers •• •• •• •• •• aligning instruction with the targeted outcomes identifying particular learning needs of students or groups selecting and adapting materials and resources creating differentiated teaching strategies and learning opportunities for helping individual students move forward in their learning providing immediate feedback and direction to students Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 29 .

And they use this information to provide their students with descriptive feedback that will further their learning. do you think the biggest plants would grow in the desert? Why? •• Describe what you think is the temperature of the poem. and respectful ways. and more students were engaged. teachers use assessment for learning to uncover what students believe to be true and to learn more about the connections students are making. there was an increase in the sophistication of their contributions. Planning Assessment for Learning Why am I assessing? When the intent is to enhance student learning. preconceptions.Chapter 3 Resource: Assessment Reform Group. but also through the questions they formulate to advance their understanding. and use that information to help students move forward in manageable. and to challenge beliefs or ideas that are creating problems or inhibiting the next stage of learning. not merely to find the ““right”” answer. Black and Harrison (1991) worked with teachers to change their questioning in ways that could help students learn. By carefully framing questions to challenge students’’ thinking and to examine issues that are critical to the development of students’’ understanding of complex ideas. efficient. their prior knowledge. 30 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and learning styles. the teachers found that more students were involved in the discussion. Assessment for Learning Beyond the Black Box Teachers also use assessment for learning to enhance students’’ motivation and commitment to learning. Teachers use this information to structure and differentiate instruction and learning opportunities in order to reinforce and build on productive learning. they change the classroom culture to one of student success. and alternative perspectives. Using Questioning in Class to Expose Learning In a study done in England. By structuring the questioning to include a longer wait time and by expecting every student to be prepared to answer at any time (even if it was to say ““I don’’t know””). preconceptions. When teachers commit to learning as the focus of assessment. gaps. not just the eager responders. They found that questioning can be a powerful tool in assessment for learning. Some examples of ““questions worth asking”” are: •• What would a penny tell future generations about our civilization? •• Is gravity a fact or a theory? What evidence supports your answer? •• In what ways are the animals in the story like humans? In what ways are they not like humans? •• If plants need sunlight to make food. •• What do you suspect happened to the slain knight? Why? Students’’ understanding can be exposed not only through their responses to the teacher’’s questions. were working together to explore ideas and alternatives. They make visible what students believe to be true. and teachers were able to create a climate of inquiry in which all members of the group. teachers could gather detailed information about student beliefs.

or for those who are new English-language learners. Assessment Tool Kit. opportunities for students to complete tasks orally or through visual representation are important for those who are struggling with reading. Assessment for learning requires ongoing assessment of the curriculum outcomes that comprise the intended learning. conversations. What assessment method should I use? Teachers use focussed observations. page 17). quizzes. For example. and the common preconceptions. Teachers create assessments that will expose students’’ thinking and skills in relation to the intended learning. he or she needs to think about what information the assessment is designed to expose.Assessment for Learning What am I assessing? Teachers use the curriculum as the starting point in deciding what to assess. and must decide which assessment approaches are most likely to give detailed information about what each student is thinking and learning. and to design the next stage of learning. reliability depends on the accuracy and consistency of teachers’’ descriptions of the learning. The methods need to incorporate a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their learning.2. learning logs. and to focus on why and how students gain their understanding. 2. and is used to determine the next phase of teaching and learning. Teachers will want to be sure that they are Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 31 . How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? Assessment for learning is of high quality when a teacher can use it to make decisions about students’’ learning with enough specificity to be able to provide descriptive feedback. questioning. Reliability Because assessment for learning focusses on the nature of students’’ thinking and learning at any given point in time. or whatever other methods are likely to give them information that will be useful for their planning and their teaching (see Fig. computer-based assessments. Each time a teacher plans an assessment for learning.

Teachers can judge the validity of their assessment processes by monitoring how well their assessment shows the progress of students’’ learning along the continuum of the curriculum. and they can feel more confident about the final decisions and next steps in teaching. 32 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . Record-Keeping Record-keeping is an important part of ensuring quality in assessment for learning. for some students. Teachers’’ records need to be based on the curriculum learning outcomes. The focus is also on identifying groups of students with similar learning patterns so that instruction can be efficiently differentiated. Teachers are always looking for evidence and descriptions of each student’’s way of understanding the concepts. Reference Points Curriculum learning outcomes or.. not for making comparative judgements among the students. but to provide each student with individualized descriptive feedback that will help further that student’’s learning. Instead. active. Validity Validity in assessment for learning is all about how well assessment can shed light on students’’ understanding of the ideas that are contained in the learning outcomes and in the effectiveness of the choices and the guidance that the teacher provides for the next stage of learning. and need to give detailed accounts of student accomplishments in relation to these outcomes. oral. enable teachers to accurately consider each student’’s work in relation to these expectations.g. Learning expectations that are clear and detailed. and do them at different times to develop a rolling picture of the student’’s progress and development. they gain consistency and coherence in their descriptive accounts. teachers use a range of assessments in different modes (e. raise questions about the instruction and ways it could be adjusted. They serve as guides in providing feedback and in planning instruction. visual. learning outcomes of an individualized learning plan. Teachers keep detailed notes.Chapter 3 Resource: Gipps. with evidence to support these accounts. when it is not. written). One of the best ways for teachers to gain reliable insights into how students are thinking is to work with other teachers. are the reference points for assessment for learning. A single assessment is rarely sufficient to produce detailed insights into students’’ learning. with exemplars and criteria that differentiate the quality and the changes along the learning continuum. The focus of record-keeping in assessment for learning is on documenting individual student learning and annotating it in relation to the continuum of learning. When teachers share their views about students’’ work and the nature and quality of the learning in relation to curriculum outcomes. Beyond Testing: Toward a Theory of Educational Assessment actually getting a clear picture of how the students are thinking and what it is that they understand or find confusing. Good record-keeping will show whether the student work is on track and.

clarification of teachers’’ learning expectations. School staff are encouraged to use themselves and tells them how simple scaffolding to support and sustain changes in teaching habits. ““He is a good friend because he never says unkind things about me. What Makes a Good Primary School Teacher? Expert Classroom Strategies) Descriptive feedback is the key to successful assessment for learning. Students learn from assessment when the teacher provides specific. and but it offers very little direction culminates in students presenting their progress and achievement.g. ) •• A scaffolding prompt: E. Ten of Winnipeg’’s inner-city schools have adopted Feedback for Learning strategies with the goal of This latter kind of feedback improving achievement and meta-cognitive development.) •• An example prompt: E.Assessment for Learning How can I use the information from this assessment? Feedback to Students Evaluative and Descriptive Feedback Evaluative Feedback •• judgements of value or appropriateness of responses •• judgements of correctness or incorrectness Descriptive Feedback •• descriptions of why a response is appropriate •• descriptions of what students have achieved •• suggestions of a better way of doing something •• prompts to suggest ways students can improve (Adapted from Gipps et al. let’’s assume that a student has described someone he knows from a summer camp.”” (When a student is struggling or doesn’’t appear to understand the concept. To be successful. Scaffolding starts with the they stand in relation to others. Feedback for learning is part of the teaching process. ““Choose one of these statements to tell me more about your friend. It is the vital link between the teacher’’s assessment of a student’’s learning and the action following that assessment. ““My friend helps me do things. ““He showed me he was a good friend when……””.. example prompts can provide them with actual models of the learning intention. (Scaffolding prompts work well with students who need more structure or some direction but are likely to carry on from here. moves on to students’’ self.”” Or. when information is provided about the way that the student has processed and interpreted the original material. the part that comes after the initial instruction takes place.) (Adapted from Earl. The scaffolding is applicable in for moving forward. An Example of “Closing the Gap” Feedback Prompts In introducing a character for a story (written or oral). on the other hand.and peer critique. the teacher highlights the student’’s phrase ““This person is a good friend”” and considers a closing-the-gap prompt.”” (A reminder prompt is most suitable for a student who has good command of figurative language but has not used it here. non-specific Feedback for Learning comments of praise or censure. Feedback all content areas. ““Describe something that happened that showed you what a good friend this person is””.. for whatever reason. feedback needs to be immediate and identify the way forward. ““Say more about how you feel about this person. The strategies highlight the need to pay affects students’’ senses of attention to learning styles. ““Can you describe how this person is a good friend””?..g. detailed feedback and direction to each student to guide his or her learning. or simply provide evaluative feedback in the form of grades and short. It should not simply tell learners whether their answers are right or wrong. whatever the age of the learner. and is as relevant to adult learning and leadership as it is in the classroom. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximise Student Learning) Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 33 . The prompt could take any of the following forms: •• A reminder prompt: E.g. for learning. After highlighting several phrases that give information about this person.

and continues until it ends up in a pocket. timing. he made decisions about how to teach the next series of lessons and how to group the students for the various instructional elements to come. the teacher observed and made notes about the thinking of individual students. It encourages students to think about. the first and last hit being the starting and finishing pockets. they began to make predictions based on the patterns they observed. they are continually making comparisons between the curriculum expectations and the continuum of learning for individual students.”” Others continued to count to find the answers without seeing the relationships that existed. rebounds off a wall at an equal angle to that at which the wall was struck. For others. grouping practices. From the information gathered during this process. so that teachers can design the most appropriate next steps in instruction. One of these games used a modified pool table to help him ascertain the students’’ conceptions of algebraic relationships. resources.Chapter 3 is descriptive and specific. Students counted the number of squares the ball passed through as well as the number of hits the ball made. support. The pool table task gave him a window into the students’’ thinking and a starting point for planning instruction. It provides the student with manageable next steps and an example of what good work looks like. either formally or intuitively. Some made general statements like ““You can tell the number of hits by adding the width and the length together and dividing by their greatest common factor. Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning) 34 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . a Middle Years mathematics teacher used a series of games that he had devised to give him insights into his students’’ knowledge and depth of understanding. Resource: Tomlinson.”” Or ““The number of squares that the ball goes through is always the lowest common multiple of the width and the length. Reflection: How have you used assessment to determine the differences in your students’’ learning needs? How did this influence the instruction that followed? The Pool Table Task At the beginning of the school year. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners Feedback for learning provides evidence that confirms or challenges an idea that a student holds. He stopped and asked questions about the process that they were using. and resources. and guidance that he or she needs to progress. It addresses faulty interpretations and lack of understanding. During this task. and pacing. grouping. and adjusting their instruction. Differentiating Learning Assessment for learning provides information about what students already know and can do. It gives recognition for achievement and growth. By carefully planning and targeting what they do to help each student. It was essential that they be guided through the concrete experience before moving to the abstract representation. Some students were quickly able to understand an algebraic equation that symbolized the general patterns that they had identified. And it focusses on both quality and learning. and it includes clear directions for improvement. Descriptive feedback makes explicit connections between students’’ thinking and the learning that is expected. without experiencing unnecessary confusion and frustration. and streamline and speed up the learning process. He gave the students a graphic of a four-pocket pool table and told them that the ball always leaves pocket A at a 45º angle. When teachers are focussed on assessment for learning. They experimented with tables of various dimensions and recorded their observations on a chart formatted as follows: Length Width Number of Hits Number of Squares 6 4 5 12 3 5 8 15 5 4 As the students gathered data. the suggestions. teachers can reduce the misunderstandings and provide just-in-time support for the next stage of learning. and prompted them to think about patterns and to take a chance at making predictions based on the patterns they observed. (Adapted from Earl. he used a number of exercises that helped them identify the patterns and formulate them in concrete ways. Each student can then receive the material. and respond to.

Assessment for Learning

Reporting Reporting in assessment for learning is based on open, frequent, and ongoing communication with students and their parents about progress in learning, methods that the teacher is using to ensure ongoing progress, and ways that students, teachers, and parents might help move learning forward with minimal misunderstanding and confusion for the student. The reports might focus on a single outcome but more often on a series, or cluster, of outcomes. Reporting should take into account what learning is expected, provide good models of what students can achieve, and identify strategies for supporting students.

Reading and Writing in Geography: An Example of Keeping Parents Informed Dear parents: Because we believe that it is important for students to become good readers and writers, in geography class we are highlighting reading and writing. We are emphasizing finding information in diverse non-fiction materials related to the geography topics that we are studying. We’’re also focussing on organizing material and ideas and presenting this clearly for audiences who may not necessarily be familiar with the topic. During class, I read material to the students, they read material on their own, and they participate in discussions about the ideas. Students are expected to identify the main ideas, analyze the ideas from a range of perspectives, offer interpretations based on evidence from their reading, draw conclusions, and write a summary of their conclusions, with supporting evidence and arguments. During this process, they share their opinions, ask questions, add new information, create pictures in their mind based on their reading and the discussions, and make judgements about the ideas. You can help by reading non-fiction (magazines, newspapers, textbooks) with them at home and talking about key ideas, why the author might think the way he or she does, and what ideas might be missing. After each class, students will be bringing home reading material that they are working on at school. This is meant to show you how they are progressing on their reading in this course, as well as their learning about geography. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to contact me at any time.

An Example of Assessment for Learning
Karen, an experienced primary-grade teacher, reflected upon her students’’ growth in language arts over the term just completed. She had focussed her instruction on constructing meaning from texts, and her students were immersed in a wide variety of quality literature that was chosen to develop students’’ comprehension skills before, during, and after reading and listening. She observed that there was a wide distribution along the continuum of learning among the students in her classroom. For example, some students were noticing various authors’’ writing techniques, some were requiring much guidance in responding to texts, and some were showing interest in fairy tales. With this in mind, and to challenge the proficient writers and provide guided practice for those who were just emerging as writers, Karen decided to focus on the process of writing. She used differentiated instruction through assessment for learning to address the needs of all students in her classroom.

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Chapter 3

Why am I assessing?

I want to determine ways to differentiate instruction in order to help each student progress in his or her writing and make connections to his or her reading.

Karen was interested in how her students expressed their ideas in writing, and how they made connections between the strategies that established authors use and their own writing. By assessing their thinking and writing processes, she was able to determine what specific instructional strategies would best advance each student’’s learning.

What am I assessing?

I am assessing my students’ abilities to express their own ideas in writing and to appraise their own and other’s writing.

Karen targeted the following curriculum outcomes to focus her instruction and assessment for learning: •• •• •• Create Original Texts (to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms) Generate Ideas (focus a topic for oral, written, and visual texts using a variety of strategies) Appraise Own and Others’’ Work (share own stories and creations in various ways with peers; give support and offer feedback to peers using pre-established criteria when responding to own and others’’ creations) Appreciate Diversity (connect the insights of individuals in oral, print, and other media text to personal experiences)

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Assessment for Learning

What assessment method should I use?

I need an ongoing and focussed observation approach during regular classroom instruction and practice in which students share and reflect throughout the writing process, making their thinking and skills visible.
With the goal in mind of having her students make connections between reading and writing, Karen focussed on a genre study of fairy tales and the process of writing. She gathered information about her students’’ learning by observing them and having conversations with them. She used the curriculum learning outcomes as the focus for her observations and her record-keeping. Karen used a writers’’ workshop format so that she could balance whole-class instruction and work in flexible groupings. In the whole-class context, she used read-aloud and brainstorming methods to chart the strategies that established authors use to write fairy tales, modelled the writing process, and had students share their writing and self-assessments. During these whole-class strategies, Karen identified dynamic flexible groupings, which allowed students to progress in various rhythms and at various rates toward independence. She determined which students would need to be guided through interactive writing, which learning centres would be appropriate for which students, and which students would move quickly into independent writing and the Author’’s Chair. The centres included a drama centre, with puppets and props, and a visual arts centre. The centres provided a forum in which emergent writers could generate and focus their ideas, and the more proficient writers could hone their skills in using imagery, description, and dialogue.

How can I ensure quality in this assessment for learning process?

I can focus my observations on the targeted outcomes and criteria. I can observe my students in a variety of contexts and tasks over time, and guide their portfolio choices . I can keep accurate, effective, and manageable records that show each student’s learning path.

Karen knew that in order to guide her students toward the desired outcomes, she needed to provide clear criteria for highquality work. Therefore, at the close of each workshop, she worked with the whole class to generate, revise, and refine a set of criteria. As her students gained more experience with the writing process and fairy tales, their reflections about and revisions of the criteria became more focussed. Based on the question, What does a quality fairy tale look and sound like?, the students decided that there are three elements in a good fairy tale: (1) it has an idea about wishes, magic objects, or trickery; (2) it has a problem to be solved; (3) it makes a connection to our community. In order to manage her anecdotal records in an efficient and focussed way, Karen used a clipboard and notepaper formatted as follows.

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props). they were now ready to set new and more challenging learning goals. Product Interactive Writing Centres: visual art. Karen and her students used the assessment information that she had gathered to share with parents. magic objects. At the end of the unit. 38 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . Another group of students began using descriptive language to add interest to their fairy tales. Karen highlighted these students’’ strengths in art and drama to help build their confidence. drama (puppets. to ensure that all students were experiencing success. trickery •• has a problem to be solved •• makes a connection to our community Read Aloud Assessment Context. and to flexible groups.Chapter 3 Targeted Outcomes •• Create Original Texts •• Generate Ideas •• Appraise Own and Others’’ Work •• Appreciate Diversity Criteria (student-generated) A quality fairy tale •• has an idea about wishes. which she then addressed through strategic instruction to the whole class. I can guide students in setting new and increasingly challenging goals. Karen and her students reflected upon their criteria for high-quality work and assessed the students’’ portfolios. so she gave a mini-lesson on the use of quotation marks. They noticed that. pairs. The process of sharing and reflection on the part of the students provided Karen with the opportunity to identify specific areas of need. and to plan the next instruction to once again meet the various needs of her students along the continuum of learning. writing Portfolio Reflections and Conversations Student Names Date How can I use the information from this assessment? I can provide descriptive feedback to students and parents about students’ development as writers. and she used the opportunity to teach a mini-lesson on using words to make ““language pictures. Task. and to scaffold their writing skills while she modelled and guided them to write a group fairy tale. with their successes. and individuals.”” Yet another group was experimenting with the use of dialogue in their first drafts. She saw that the emergent writers experienced success as they developed their fairy tales through visual representations and drama performances.

detailed learning expectations •• accurate.Assessment for Learning Summary of Planning Assessment for Learning Why Assess? Assess What? What Methods? Ensuring Quality to enable teachers to determine next steps in advancing student learning each student’’s progress and learning needs in relation to the curricular outcomes a range of methods in different modes that make students’’ skills and understanding visible •• accuracy and consistency of observations and interpretations of student learning •• clear. detailed notes for descriptive feedback to each student •• provide each student with accurate descriptive feedback to further his or her learning •• differentiate instruction by continually checking where each student is in relation to the curricular outcomes •• provide parents or guardians with descriptive feedback about student learning and ideas for support Using the Information Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 39 .

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For students to be actively engaged in creating their own understanding. Dimensions of Metacognition Knowledge of Cognition •• knowledge about ourselves as learners and what influences our performance •• knowledge about learning strategies •• knowledge about when and why to use a strategy Regulation of Cognition •• planning: setting goals and activating relevant background knowledge •• regulation: monitoring and self-testing •• evaluation: appraising the products and regulatory processes of learning (Adapted from Brown. that is. P. This is the regulatory process in metacognition. and use it for new learning. Executive Control. Afflerbach (2002) notes (in the context of reading assessment): Reflection: Think about an example of assessment as learning in your own teaching and try to develop it further as you read this chapter. they must learn to be critical assessors who make sense of information. Assessment as learning emerges from the idea that learning is not just a matter of transferring ideas from someone who is knowledgeable to someone who is not.Chapter 4 Assessment as Learning We must constantly remind ourselves that the ultimate purpose of evaluation is to enable students to evaluate themselves. adaptations. ““Reassessing Assessment””) What Is Assessment as Learning? Assessment as learning focusses on students and emphasizes assessment as a process of metacognition (knowledge of one’’s own thought processes) for students. and Other More Mysterious Mechanisms””) Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 41 . Assessment as learning is based in research about how learning happens. and use what they discover from the monitoring to make adjustments. Self-Regulation. ““Metacognition. students are the critical connectors between assessment and learning. (Costa. students become adept at personally monitoring what they are learning. and even major changes in their thinking. and is characterized by students reflecting on their own learning and making adjustments so that they achieve deeper understanding. relate it to prior knowledge. but is an active process of cognitive restructuring that occurs when individuals interact with new ideas. Within this view of learning.

and that they develop a store of tactics or moves which can be drawn upon to modify their own work. attitudes. •• What do I know about this topic? The ultimate goal in assessment as learning is for students •• What strategies do I know that will help me learn this? to acquire the skills and the habits of mind to be •• Am I understanding these concepts? metacognitively aware with increasing independence. it is applicable to many other areas of learning as well. Although Afflerbach’’s comment is specifically about reading. Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment as Learning A high level of student participation in the assessment process does not diminish teachers’’ responsibilities. To become independent learners. they must develop the capacity to monitor the quality of their own work during actual production. emphasis added). they need to internalize the needing-to•• What is the purpose of learning these concepts and skills? know and challenging-of-assumptions as habits of mind. and independent in their learning and decision-making. •• What are the criteria for improving my work? Assessment as learning focusses on the explicit fostering •• Have I accomplished the goals I set for myself? of students’’ capacity over time to be their own best (Adapted from Schraw. their own learning. The ability to self-assess is multifaceted. Students become productive learners when they see that the results of their work are part of critical and constructive decision-making. ““Formative Assessment and the Design of Instructional Systems””) Assessment as learning is based on the conviction that students are capable of becoming adaptable. For students to be able to improve. and monitor. Accomplished readers are flexible in their routines of metacognition and comprehension monitoring. and good readers apply their self-assessment strategies on demand (p. structured opportunities for students to assess themselves. flexible. and dispositions. This in turn requires that students possess an appreciation of what high-quality work is. Only reading assessment that is done with students and eventually by students can foster true independence and success in reading. 99. or for them. as demanded by the particular act of reading. Self-monitoring and 42 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . students must develop sophisticated combinations of skills. assessment as learning extends the role of teachers to include designing instruction and assessment that allows all students to think about. that they have the evaluative skills necessary for them to compare with some objectivity the quality of what they are producing in relation to the higher standard. they are giving them the tools to undertake their own learning wisely and well. but teachers need to start by presenting and Awareness””) modelling external. Rather.Chapter 4 Too many students have reading assessment done to them. If young people are to engage in continuous learning in environments where knowledge is Monitoring Metacognition always changing. When teachers involve students and promote their independence. (Sadler. ““Promoting General Metacognitive assessors.

and practice on the part of the student. To teach these lessons. becoming metacognitively aware requires modelling and teaching on the part of the teacher. The trick is to help students understand that failure holds the seeds of later success. that they need to become comfortable with identifying different perspectives and challenge these perspectives. when we try to grow. and communication process. we can coherent understanding. and monitoring their progress toward them provide exemplars and models of good practice and quality work that reflect curriculum outcomes work with students to develop clear criteria of good practice guide students in developing internal feedback or self-monitoring mechanisms to validate and question their own thinking. and School Success””) a system that rewards safe answers——and those who are accustomed to failure) are often unwilling to confront challenges and take the risks associated with making their thinking visible. The teacher’’s role in promoting the development of independent learners through assessment as learning is to •• •• •• •• •• model and teach the skills of self-assessment guide students in setting goals. ““Assessment. Improvement must follow. This does not mean that students should not experience failure but. rather. competent self-assessors by providing emotional security and genuine opportunities for involvement. record-keeping. Success work with them toward a more complete and is defined as continual improvement. and responsibility. Teachers have the responsibility of creating environments in which students can become confident. and to become comfortable with the ambiguity and uncertainty that is inevitable in learning anything new provide regular and challenging opportunities to practise. Student Confidence. and School Success””) Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 43 . ““Assessment. and that failure is all right. Like any other complex set of skills. so that students can become confident. and provide descriptive feedback create an environment where it is safe for students to take chances and where support is readily available •• •• •• Students need to experience continuous and genuine success. we sometimes fail at first. independence.Assessment as Learning evaluation are complex and difficult skills that do not develop quickly or spontaneously. Our students must understand that. Student Confidence. (Stiggins. competent self-assessors monitor students’’ metacognitive processes as well as their learning. Students (both those who have been successful——in (Stiggins. use student involvement in the assessment. they need to learn Wise teachers use the classroom assessment process as an instructional intervention to teach the lesson that failure is acceptable to look for misconceptions and inaccuracies and at first but that it cannot continue.

Chapter 4 A Nunavut Example of Reflection and Decision-Making In Nunavut. For their part. check for consistency between different pieces of information. In selecting the class project. What am I assessing? In assessment as learning. The class project requires that students collaborate to select an activity that demonstrates an understanding of Avatimik Kamattiarniq and take a step toward it. Planning Assessment as Learning Why am I assessing? In order to know what steps to take to support students’’ independence in learning. requiring participants to pay close attention to the ideas shared and to show an understanding of who and what can influence decisions. and the personal aspect prompts each student to assess his or her own learning and role in the process. predict the outcomes of their current level of understanding. and conserving energy were essential attitudes and survival skills of Inuit culture. cultural sensitivity is required on the part of teachers in almost every aspect of program planning. and elaborated upon throughout their lives. decide what else they need to know. students learn to monitor and challenge their own understanding. Teachers monitor students’’ goal-setting process and their 44 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . Keeping the environment clean. They discuss their options so that everyone understands what is involved in making a decision together. draw analogies that help them advance their understanding. The conceptual aspect is based on the principle of environmental stewardship. teachers use assessment as learning to obtain rich and detailed information about how students are progressing in developing the habits of mind and skills to monitor. and personal aspects of what they are learning. Students are encouraged to think about their individual understanding of the process of collaboration and decision-making by consensus and how these principles relate to Avatimik Kamattiarniq. challenge. teachers are interested in how students understand concepts. students explore what their community does in relation to this principle and what ideas they might have to improve the quality of life and their stewardship of the environment. the social aspect includes an analysis of the group’’s ability to use collaboration and consensus decision-making to accomplish the task. and in how they use metacognitive analysis to make adjustments to their understanding. and adjust their own learning. The students are instructed to reflect individually on the conceptual. refined. taught by Elders to young children and maintained. organize and reorganize ideas. After completing a community mapping activity that focusses on this principle. social. and set personal goals. using every part of what was killed. Decision-making by consensus is a difficult undertaking. students work together on a class project related to the traditional Inuit principle of Avatimik Kamattiarniq (environmental stewardship). As part of a secondary wellness module. make reasoned decisions about their progress and difficulties. the students may bring in Elders to provide ideas.

First they are asked to discuss their previous mathematics experiences. their engagement with learning. the students in a Senior Years mathematics class write a letter to the teacher about their past experiences with mathematics. frameworks. as long as the methods are constructed to elicit detailed information both about students’’ learning and about their metacognitive processes.Assessment as Learning thinking about their learning. exemplars. and in making judgements about their views and understanding. 2. how best they learn in mathematics. Although many assessment methods have the potential to encourage reflection and review. their expectations. and advance their learning. and their ability to analyze their own learning. Periodically during the course. with attention to •• how they learn mathematics best (working alone. what matters in assessment as learning is that the methods allow students to consider their own learning in relation to models. reading about the solutions) •• what they like and don’’t like about mathematics Then they are asked to describe their expectations for learning in this class by identifying •• what they want to learn •• what they need from the teacher as support to help them learn This initial self-reflection provides the teacher with insight into students’’ learning styles. Teachers teach students how to use the methods so that they can monitor their own learning. working with others. Teachers establish high quality by ensuring Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 45 . and the strategies students use to support or challenge. and decide about a learning plan. criteria. adjust. rubrics.2. Assessment Tool Kit. and how best the teacher can help them. How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? Quality in assessment as learning depends on how well the assessment engages students in considering and challenging their thinking. page 17). students review their initial letters and write follow-up letters to the teacher that include •• a description of the extent to which their expectations for this class have so far been met •• feedback on the kinds of teaching and resources that helped them learn mathematics •• a description of what they have learned about themselves as learners What assessment method should I use? Teachers can use a range of methods in assessment as learning (see Fig. think about where they feel secure in their learning and where they feel confused or uncertain. Mathematics Portfolio Letter At the beginning of the term. and checklists that provide images of successful learning. using concrete materials.

In the short term. as they are in all the other components of assessment as learning. Students need clear criteria and many varied examples of what good work looks like. Reference Points The reference points in assessment as learning are a blend of curricular expectations and the individual student’’s understanding at an earlier point in time. Their individual records become the evidence of their progress in learning and in becoming independent learners. Reliability Reliability in assessment as learning is related to consistency and confidence in students’’ self-reflection. Cameron. teachers have the responsibility of engaging students in the metacognitive processes. and Davies. exemplars. Validity Students are able to assess themselves only when they have a clear picture of proficient learning and the various steps that need to be taken to attain the desired expertise. They do this by scaffolding students’’ understanding. They need to develop skills and attitudes that allow them to keep systematic records of their learning. Setting and Using Criteria: For Use in Middle and Secondary School Classrooms 46 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d .Chapter 4 that students have the right tools and are accumulating the evidence needed to make reasonable decisions about what it is that they understand or find confusing. and resources to help them analyze their own work. self-monitoring. they eventually develop the skills to make consistent and reliable interpretations of their learning. teaching them the necessary skills to think about their own learning in relation to their prior understanding and the curricular learning outcomes. As students practise monitoring their own learning and analyzing it in relation to what is expected. Record-Keeping Students are the key players in record-keeping. reflect on their own and others’’ work in the context of (Elbow. They need to has learned——even if he knows less about what was taught. and gathering evidence about how well they are learning. as well as opportunities to compare The student knows more than the teacher about what and how he their work to examples of good work. providing criteria. and what else they need to do to deepen their understanding. Writing without Teachers) teacher feedback and advice about what to do next. and these records need to include reflections and insights as they occur. and self-adjustment. Students compare their own learning over time with descriptions and examples of expected learning. Resource: Gregory. however.

video clip. adjust their goals. conclusions. and add new ideas. During a class discussion about nutrition. show milestones of success that are worthy of celebration. they review their charts and decide what else they need to know about the ways diet affects their health. The teacher adds comments to reinforce and extend the student’’s views. The assessment as learning. Feedback to Students At the end of the unit. Students need feedback to help them develop autonomy and competence. and advocate for themselves.Assessment as Learning Nutrition Notes: An Example of Students as Record Keepers A unit on healthy living is integrated into Grade 9 health classes throughout the year. Near the end of the term. and (Adapted from Sutton. and how they could come to the conclusions on their own. Complex skills. and new questions to the discussion. hypotheses. offers alternative interpretations. They decide to also keep a record of their patterns of exercise then estimate the kilojoules of energy expended in their weekly exercise. effects of what they have tried. students cannot accomplish it without the guidance and direction that comes from detailed and relevant feedback. They also create a chart of their personal health goals. become routine only when there is constant feedback and practice using the skills. Assessment for Learning) can envision alternative strategies to understand the material. and their insights on what they learned about themselves. questions for further inquiry. the students each review their journals and design a poster. the students decide that they will each keep a record chart of everything that they eat each day for a week and use tables from a nutrition magazine to determine their weekly intake of calories. carbohydrates. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 47 . Effective feedback challenges ideas. such as monitoring and self-regulation. each student completes an assessment record that lists the criteria. introduces additional information. or short presentation to show the key dimensions of healthy living and the relationships among them. challenge hypotheses. goals for improvement. students tend to be diligent and more engaged. Although assessment as learning is designed to develop independent learning. and creates conditions for self-reflection and review of ideas. When feedback enhances understanding and provides models for independent learning. During discussions throughout the term. Each student keeps a journal of data. and interesting ideas that arise from class discussions about healthy living. their greatest challenges in progressing toward their goals. They agree that exercise is an important factor that has bearing on the amount and kinds of food a person requires. fats. new data. specifically. make choices about what they need to do next to move their learning Metacognition in Action A technology teacher starts each new piece of work by explaining how it connects with forward. The records are kept in enhanced when students see the the students’’ folders so that they are accessible to the teacher and to the students. At the next class discussion. and so on. Learning is teacher and the student together suggest a specific next step. what students have done before. and what. trying to be specific about what they have learned and with what they have had Feedback is particularly important in trouble. they use the information they have gathered to make predictions. she wants the students to be able to do when they’’ve finished the unit. How can I use the information from this assessment? Students use assessment as learning to gain knowledge about their progress. their milestones. It provides students with information about their performance on a task.

in this painting? Where is the colour value most intense? How does the technique influence the mood? Although teachers are the main •• Unity. Joanne. The process of feedback and reflection continues the next day. and approval. Jean tells the students that they are all part of an investigation of a mystery: The Mystery of the English Language. If all feedback does is provide direction for what students need to do——that is. self-analysis.Chapter 4 Looking for Language Clues Jean. which will lead to completed in the class and has drafted the following reflection questions: another round of feedback and •• Colour and technique: Are the colours I’’ve used consistent with the mood I want to create? another extension of learning. refinement. Jean’’s class plays a game called Looking for Language Clues. family. This discussion leads to assignments for the day. rather than on getting Thinking about Composition the answer right. students are practising their own metacognitive skills of self-reflection. and their communities. a Grade 2 teacher. along with a set of clues that they can use to analyze their work and develop a plan for the current day’’s language investigation.”” Before the school day begins. Students learn As Joanne reviews her portfolio. coloured plastic ““language box. they are Where is the tension? What creates the tension? Should there be a resolution? not the only ones. The box contains material that they produced during the previous day. Every morning. When students encounter new information. based on the previous day’’s work. she not only answers the questions that she has posed. guidelines for thinking about what works and what doesn’’t. Peers. There are predictable clues and there are ““doozies”” (places where the rules don’’t work). They will have 48 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . One of the main themes of the unit is that these principles are not rules but. The students can work on their own or they can call on their ““investigation team”” to help them. teaches a balanced literacy program based on a concept of learning to read that includes attention to word. balance. Throughout the day. Jean provides the students with ““clues”” (checklists and rubrics) that he (as the ““lead investigator””) uses in order to learn more about how the English language works. and harmony: Does this painting need symmetry or asymmetry? How and community members also are does the eye move? Is there a sense of completion? important players. they filter it through their existing beliefs and ideas and those of their community and culture. using various painting techniques. interpretation. if the feedback doesn’’t refer to students’’ own roles in moving forward to the next stage of learning——they will be perpetually asking questions like Is this right? Is this what you want? Rather. feedback in assessment as learning encourages students to focus their attention on the task. •• Repetition. Jean puts an assignment in each box. each student takes his or her plan to the lead investigator for discussion. and text features. dominance. They compare the new information to the beliefs and ideas held by the people around them. rethinking. It provides them The students in a Senior Years art class have been learning about principles of composition with ideas for adjusting. and reorganization of knowledge. and hides the boxes in various places around the room. and conflict: What mood do I want to project? What is the focal point? providers of feedback. sentence. they search for their boxes and use the evidence and the clues to rethink their work from the day before. but also a great deal within their families adds new questions. and articulating their One of the students. Each student has a small. This strategy allows Jean to prepare specific assessment tasks for each student (although a number of students may get the same clues) and use the clues to provide feedback and scaffold ideas for the student. Differentiating Learning When assessment lies in the hands of students as well as teachers. When the students arrive. students will be able to direct their own learning. rather. Before embarking on an action plan. When these skills become welldeveloped. He integrates these various dimensions of reading into the work that his students do during the entire day. or focus. is reflecting on the various watercolour paintings that she understanding. Where is the colour climax.

who must learn to articulate and defend the nature and quality of their learning. George was able to take the time to meet with each parent and his or her child because he had already seen all of the presentations. and the areas in which they need to develop further. so George began preparing a short weekly Internet newsletter that gave parents information about what was expected and included various examples of what good work looks like. •• George asked that each student conduct an in-class ““dress rehearsal”” in the final weeks before the conference as an opportunity for the students to explain what they were trying to communicate. they are intensifying their understanding about a topic. Evaluation. the students in George’’s Grade 6 class have used student-led conferences to communicate with parents. and. and attached evidence that supported their statements. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 49 . Conferences for Learning For several years. and Reporting Reporting in assessment as learning is the responsibility of students. and reinforce or challenge their decisions by reviewing and discussing them with others. and the discussions led to some significant changes: •• They shifted the focus from a student’’s accomplishment at one point in time to a combination of accomplishments and progress. and to ask questions designed to refine their presentations. The students kept detailed records of their progress in relation to key outcomes.Assessment as Learning learned to ask for support. what it means to do it well. Together Is Better: Collaborative Assessment. Student-led parent-teacher conferences have become a popular reporting forum that fits with assessment as learning. Assessment as learning provides the conditions under which students and teachers can discuss what the students are learning. He decided to meet with groups of students and parents about improving the conferences. even though the parents seemed to like them. George was not completely happy with the conferences. Part of the conference was dedicated to a review of the evidence and the student’’s decision-making process about what to do next. However. and be able to provide their parents with evidence of their learning. and Gregory. The evidence needs to include an analysis of their learning progress and what they need to do to move it forward. their own learning strengths. what personal goals have been reached. Politano. what the alternatives might be for each student to advance his or her learning. When students reflect on their own learning and must communicate it to others. •• On conference night. and what more challenging goals can be set. Reporting Resource: Davies. to get feedback from peers and from George. •• The parents asked for more information about what the students were doing in class throughout the term and about the criteria that they and the teachers were using to evaluate their work. The students led the discussions. completed the term report card with an attachment that contained more detailed notes about what had emerged from the conference. search out new information. talked about what would come next at school and at home. The students need to have been deeply involved in assessment as learning throughout the instructional process. Cameron. together with the teacher and parent. the success of these conferences depends on how well they are structured and how well the students prepare.

if the students increased their self-awareness. Sheila wanted to help her students understand how to approach a problem. She knew that. they would be able to draw on more strategies for enhancing their learning and independence in problem-solving. when faced with new situations. Solving complex problems requires students to take risks in their thinking. 50 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and to explore different options. and become comfortable with trying a range of possibilities. and to recognize the kinds of thinking they need to do before finding a solution (or giving up). Ultimately. She knew that one of the key factors for success in solving problems independently is persistence. they need to be able to develop solutions on their own. She also knew that students must learn to think explicitly about their own approaches to problems. What am I assessing? I am assessing my students’ abilities to monitor their own thinking processes and their strategies for persisting when solving complex problems. Why am I assessing? I want to help my students develop increased awareness of their approaches to problem-solving and their level of persistence so that they can advance their learning in a variety of contexts.Chapter 4 An Example of Assessment as Learning Sheila recently began working with her students on solving complex problems in various subject areas.

o I k n o w t h a t I a m p e rsistin g w h e n I d e t hin g s: th es 1. 4. and needed to be developed over the course of the school year. I f I d o n’t k n o w h o w t o st a rt. I c h e c k m y n o t e s f o r o t h e r p r o b l e m s t h a t a r e simil a r. 2. e 6. In order to make her observations and conversations manageable. and converse with them about their learning. 8. she focussed on three students at a time. I tr y t o fin d p a rts o f t h e p r o b l e m t h a t I t hin k I c a n d o . o 7. she had each keep an ongoing record in a learning log of his/her reflections. and she kept her own record of conversations and focussed observations as the students worked in small groups and whole-class settings. I t hin k a b o ut h o w m a n y tim e s a n d dif f e r e n t t hin g s I tri e d w h e n s o lvin g o t h e r p r o b l e m s. She knew that developing metacognition and persistence in problem-solving strategies is complex. I r e r e a d t h e q u e sti o n a n d l o o k f o r t hin g s t h a t I k n o w . Here is a sample from one student’’s log. To initiate the exploration of persistence in problem-solving. She had students list in their learning logs how they recognized when they were persisting and when they were not. e 5. I will need to observe the students working and sharing their reflections. They also need the tools to articulate their efforts. I a sk t h e t e a c h e r t o h e lp m e fig ur o ut h o w t o fin d t h e t hin g s t h a t I k n o w a b o ut t h e p r o b l e m. The method will need to elicit evidence of their learning and metacognitive processes. Sheila realized that she needed to create a safe and supportive environment for open dialogue and self-assessment. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 51 . I f I still d o n’t f e e l I c a n p e rsist. I a sk t h e t e a c h e r t o h e lp m e fig ur ut w h e r e I c a n l o o k n e x t. To help students monitor their progress.Assessment as Learning What assessment method should I use? Students need frequent opportunities to think about and monitor their level of persistence when faced with difficult problems. I t hin k a b o ut w h y. She provided some examples of what persistence looks like and how students would know when they had given up too soon on a problem. Sheila discussed with the students her expectations and the value of persistence in problem-solving. 3. I r e a d t h e t e x t b o o k s e c ti o n t h a t e x pl a ins h o w t o s o lv e t h e s a m e kin d s o f p r o b l e m s.

Sheila engaged the students in a discussion about the characteristics of persistence that they had listed in their logs. and other resources to find ideas that might be useful in solving the problem. Together. and how the student saw his or her level of persistence in comparison to her observations. Sheila thought about how to ensure the validity of her interpretations of her students’’ persistence. she noted. Our Criteria for Persistence in Problem-Solving I reread the problem carefully and several times in order to fully understand it. if they asked for help.Chapter 4 I need to be sure that the students recognize what persistence looks like when solving a complex problem. whether they reread the problem carefully. they refined the list by sorting and grouping. and what information I need to find. Here are the criteria they developed together. She focussed on the student’’s own determination of which strategies increased his or her level of persistence and generated successful problem-solving. As time went on. During the discussions. in school and outside school. I draw diagrams or use objects as models to think about the problem in many ways. for example. To follow up on her observations of each student. I need to ensure that my students keep a relevant record of the self-assessment of their persistence when solving complex problems. she recorded these characteristics in a long list. I break the problem into parts to find out what I know. although her students had changed their level of persistence in approaching a complex problem. This record needs to be kept over time to show change. I ask other people focussed questions to try to find helpful ideas (but I do not ask for the solution). Sheila used the criteria to guide her observations of the students as they worked at solving complex problems and shared their reflections. books. She also needed to understand the validity of their interpretations. and that they are making reasonable and consistent judgements about their own persistence. there remained a group of students who didn’’t seem to have a 52 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . They ended up with a few succinct criteria that they all agreed described what persistence looks like in any problem-solving situation. When observing the students. what information sources they referred to and. I check notes. Sheila recognized that. Sheila had a brief conversation based on the following questions: •• •• •• •• •• How did you know you were persisting? What was your thinking as you worked through the problem? What decisions did you make along the way? Can you tell me more about the decisions? How does your thinking and decision-making fit with your goal for persistence? Sheila related each student’’s self-assessment to her observation notes and the student-developed criteria. How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? •• •• •• •• •• The students used these criteria as a guide when problem-solving and reflecting on the problem-solving processes. and how these play out in a range of problem-solving situations. if their request for help was an attempt to be given the solution or to get hints about how to generate their own solution.

Together they revised and refined their criteria. The majority of her students. Over the course of the year.Assessment as Learning good sense of their own persistence. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 53 . adjust. they were simply skipping difficult questions or seeking help from peers without attempting to solve the problems on their own. learning with increasing independence to monitor. the students became their own best assessors. and take charge of their own learning. Over the next several weeks.) Based on what they learned from their self-assessments and Sheila’’s observations. Sheila arranged the students in pairs: one who was proficient at monitoring his or her own persistence. were accurate in their estimation of their own persistence. Others thought they were not persisting enough. the students reviewed what persistence in solving problems looks like. A few of them thought they were persisting when. actually. however. I can scaffold their growth and provide direction for further developing the habits of mind that will promote persistence in any learning situation. the pairs were called upon periodically to use their criteria to review their persistence in whatever activity they were engaged in. and the other who was still moving toward this awareness. How can I (and the students) use the information from this assessment? By understanding and valuing the students’ thinking. (Students will be able to use their increased awareness of their own persistence and skills to enhance their learning in various contexts. yet Sheila’’s notes showed that they were requesting hints only after they expended great effort and time.

detailed notes for descriptive feedback to each student •• provide each student with accurate descriptive feedback to further his or her learning •• differentiate instruction by continually checking where each student is in relation to the curricular outcomes •• provide parents or guardians with descriptive feedback about student learning and ideas for support Using the Information 54 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . descriptive feedback that will help him or her develop independent learning habits • have each student focus on the task and his or her learning (not on getting the right answer) • provide each student with ideas for adjusting. detailed learning expectations •• accurate. and articulating his or her learning • provide the conditions for the teacher and student to discuss alternatives • students report about their learning Assess What? What Methods? a range of methods in different modes that make students’’ skills and understanding visible Ensuring Quality •• accuracy and consistency of observations and interpretations of student learning •• clear.Chapter 4 Summary of Planning Assessment as Learning Assessment for Learning Why Assess? to enable teachers to determine next steps in advancing student learning each student’’s progress and learning needs in relation to the curricular outcomes Assessment as Learning to guide and provide opportunities for each student to monitor and critically reflect on his or her learning and identify next steps each student’s thinking about his or her learning. what strategies he or she uses to support or challenge that learning. rethinking. self-monitoring. and self-adjustment • engagement of the student in considering and challenging his or her thinking • students record their own learning • provide each student with accurate. and the mechanisms he or she uses to adjust and advance his or her learning a range of methods in different modes that elicit students’ learning and metacognitive processes • accuracy and consistency of student’s self-reflection.

the students themselves. based on evidence obtained from a variety of contexts and applications. Effective assessment of learning requires that teachers provide •• •• •• •• •• a rationale for undertaking a particular assessment of learning at a particular point in time clear descriptions of the intended learning processes that make it possible for students to demonstrate their competence and skill a range of alternative mechanisms for assessing the same outcomes public and defensible reference points for making judgements Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 55 . then. that the underlying logic and measurement of assessment of learning be credible and defensible. Assessment of learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements or symbols about how well students are learning. other educators. or to certify proficiency and make decisions about students’’ future programs or placements.g. teachers have the responsibility of reporting student learning accurately and fairly. (Linn and Gronlund. employers.Chapter 5 Assessment of Learning Reflection: Think about an example of assessment of learning in your own teaching and try to develop it further as you read this chapter. It often contributes to pivotal decisions that will affect students’’ futures. demonstrate whether or not they have met curriculum outcomes or the goals of their individualized programs. It is important. other educational institutions).. It is designed to provide evidence of achievement to parents. What Is Assessment of Learning? Assessment of learning refers to strategies designed to confirm what students know. and sometimes to outside groups (e. Measurement and Assessment in Teaching) Teachers’’ Roles in Assessment of Learning Because the consequences of assessment of learning are often far-reaching and affect students seriously. The purpose of assessment that typically comes at the end of a course or unit of instruction is to determine the extent to which the instructional goals have been achieved and for grading or certification of student achievement.

Students need to be able to apply key concepts. as well as the depth and breadth of their learning. and report the level of students’’ learning. in ways that represent the nature and complexity of the intended learning. skills. There are many potential users of the information: •• •• •• •• teachers (who can use the information to communicate with parents about their children’’s proficiency and progress) parents and students (who can use the results for making educational and vocational decisions) potential employers and post-secondary institutions (who can use the information to make decisions about hiring or acceptance) principals. students can look forward to assessment of learning tasks as occasions to show their competence. so that reasonable decisions can be made about students. Planning Assessment of Learning Why am I assessing? The purpose of assessment of learning is to measure. certify. assessment of learning tasks need to enable students to show the complexity of their understanding. and attitudes in ways that are authentic and consistent with current thinking in the knowledge domain. 56 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . knowledge. district or divisional administrators. and teachers (who can use the information to review and revise programming) What am I assessing? Assessment of learning requires the collection and interpretation of information about students’’ accomplishments in important curricular areas. Because genuine learning for understanding is much more than just recognition or recall of facts or algorithms.Chapter 5 •• •• •• transparent approaches to interpretation descriptions of the assessment process strategies for recourse in the event of disagreement about the decisions With the help of their teachers.

the portfolios begin in Grade 10 and are completed by the end of Grade 12. •• Students will demonstrate learning that complements intellectual development and course-based learning. or design work). presentations. information technology (use information technology skills). performance.2. personal health (complete 80 hours of moderate to intense physical activity). the methods chosen need to address the intended curriculum outcomes and the continuum of learning that is required to reach the outcomes. education and career planning (complete a graduation transition plan). (Portfolio Assessment and Focus Areas: A Program Guide) Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 57 . and in the community. managing. Graduation Portfolios Graduation portfolios are a requirement for graduation from British Columbia and Yukon Senior Years schools. Students use the criteria and standards as guides for planning. There are three major components of a graduation portfolio: 1. choosing additional evidence of their achievements. employability skills (complete 30 hours of work or volunteer experience). The following are some goals of graduation portfolios: •• Students will adopt an active and reflective role in planning. These portfolios comprise collections (electronic or printed) of evidence of students’’ accomplishments at school. Worth four credits toward graduation. The methods must allow all students to show their understanding and produce sufficient information to support credible and defensible statements about the nature and quality of their learning. Assessment of learning methods include not only tests and examinations. exhibitions. including demonstrations of their competence in skills that are not measured in examinations. and presenting their evidence. Students expand on the above areas. and visual methods (see Fig. home. simulations.Assessment of Learning What assessment method should I use? In assessment of learning. 2. oral. community involvement and responsibility (participate co-operatively and respectfully in a service activity). Portfolio Choice (50 percent of the mark). 2. and assessing their learning. so that others can use the results in appropriate ways. multimedia projects. page 17). and a variety of other written. •• Students will plan for successful transitions beyond Grade 12. performances. collecting. Portfolio Core (30 percent of the mark). 3. Teachers use the criteria and standards to assess student evidence and assign marks. and for self-assessing. Students must complete requirements in the following six portfolio organizers: arts and design (respond to an art. Graduation portfolios are prepared at the school level and are based on specific Ministry criteria and standards. Portfolio Presentation (20 percent of the mark). Assessment Tool Kit. but also a rich variety of products and demonstrations of learning——portfolios. Students celebrate their learning and reflect at the end of the portfolio process.

reliable. 58 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . In such norm-referenced situations. consistent. Validity Because assessment of learning results in statements about students’’ proficiency in wide areas of study. and equitable process of assessment and evaluation. and dispositions set out in the curriculum. employment opportunities). and free from bias and distortion the assessment is. in relation to other students’’ assessment results. scholarships. In some situations where selection decisions need to be made for limited positions (e. skills. and to produce defensible and accurate descriptions of student competence in relation to defined outcomes and. and the statements and inferences that emerge must be upheld by the evidence collected. and the way it is being measured needs to be transparent to anyone who might use the assessment results. what is being measured needs to be clear. valid..g. the reference points for assessment of learning are the learning outcomes as identified in the curriculum that make up the course of study. assessment of learning tasks must reflect the key knowledge. assessment of learning results are used to rank students.Chapter 5 How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? Assessment of learning needs to be very carefully constructed so that the information upon which decisions are made is of the highest quality. university entrance. occasionally. fair. Teachers might ask themselves: •• •• •• •• Do I have enough information about the learning of this particular student to make a definitive statement? Was the information collected in a way that gives all students an equal chance to show their learning? Would another teacher arrive at the same conclusion? Would I make the same decision if I considered this information at another time or in another way? Reference Points Typically. Assessment of learning is designed to be summative. Reliability Reliability in assessment of learning depends on how accurate. concepts. Assessment tasks include measures of these learning outcomes. Certification of students’’ proficiency should be based on a rigorous. and a student’’s performance is interpreted and reported in relation to these learning outcomes.

and should include supporting evidence related to the outcomes as justification. not grades. 4.. the assessment methods used to gather the supporting information. feedback to students has a less obvious effect on student learning than assessment for learning and assessment as learning.. 7. Crunch numbers carefully. 6. unless they are a stated curriculum outcome.. (Adapted from O’’Connor.g.g. separately. there should be clear targets. they get the grade.. a letter grade or percentage) is inadequate. should not distort achievement or motivation. Resource: Marzano. 5. Keep records in pencil so they can be updated easily to take into consideration more recent achievement. they are in an excellent position to provide meaningful reports to parents and others. appropriate sampling. mode. participation. or statistical measures other than the mean.g. Merely a symbolic representation of a student’’s accomplishments (e. absences). if used. strands) as the basis for grading. at conferences. If students achieve the outcome. How to Grade for Learning) How can I use the information from this assessment? Feedback to Students Because assessment of learning comes most often at the end of a unit or learning cycle.g. appropriate target-method match. Transforming Classroom Grading Guidelines for Grading 1. 8. Discuss and involve students in grading at the beginning and throughout the teaching and learning process. and the criteria used to make the judgement. Do not include all assessments in grades.. Provide second-chance assessment opportunities (or more). with what accuracy and against what criteria and reference points. Make sure that the meaning of grades comes from clear descriptions of curriculum outcomes and standards. Sample student performance using a variety of methods.g. and attitude. When teachers keep records that are detailed and descriptive. Consider using the median. students do Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 59 . (NO bell curves!) 3. Report effort. Detailed records of the various components of the assessment of learning are essential. it is their records that provide details about the quality of the measurement. Reports to parents and others should identify the intended learning that the report covers. Provide ongoing feedback on formative performance using words.Assessment of Learning Record-Keeping Whichever approaches teachers choose for assessment of learning. clear purpose. 2. most consistent mark. on tracking sheets). Nevertheless. Make sure that each assessment meets quality standards (e. Base grades only on individual achievement of the targeted learning outcomes. and absence of bias and distortion) and is properly recorded and maintained (e. Use curriculum learning outcomes or some clustering of these (e. Weight components within the final grade to ensure that the intended importance is given to each learning outcome. Students should receive the highest. with a description of what each component measures. not an average mark for multiple opportunities. rubrics. for example. or checklists. in portfolios. Any penalties (e. if at all. for late work.

Traditional reporting. would then have the same opportunity to demonstrate their learning as other students. differentiation in assessment of learning requires that the necessary accommodations be in place that allow students to make the particular learning visible. it has a profound effect on the placement and promotion of students and. it should be honest. assessment results need to be accurate and detailed enough to allow for wise recommendations. oral. One alternate mechanism. which relies only on a student’’s average score. It would make little sense to ask a near-sighted person to demonstrate driving proficiency without glasses. In much the same way. differentiation occurs in the assessment itself. A particular curriculum outcome requirement.Chapter 5 rely on their marks and on teachers’’ comments as indicators of their level of success. fair. As long as writing were not an explicit component of the outcome. however. Reflection: What forms do your reports of student proficiency take? How do these differ according to audience? The Communication System Continuum: From Symbols to Conversations Grades Report cards Infrequent Parent-teacher Report cards (grades and informal interviews with expanded brief comments) communications comments (O’’Connor. it is possible for the examiner to get an accurate picture of the driver’’s ability. and to certify him or her as proficient. such as an understanding of the social studies notion of conflict. Multiple forms of assessment offer multiple pathways for making student learning transparent to the teacher. provides little information about that student’’s skill development or knowledge. is the parentstudent-teacher conference. Therefore. and to make decisions about their future learning endeavours. How to Grade for Learning) 60 Frequent Student-involved Student-led informal conferencing conferencing communication •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and should provide all of the information necessary for them to make reasoned decisions. and provide sufficient detail and contextual information so that it can be clearly understood. for example. or written representations. and reinforces students’’ responsibility for their learning. Regardless of the form of the reporting. might be demonstrated through visual. on the nature and differentiation of the future instruction and programming that students receive. for example. Reporting assessment of learning needs to be appropriate for the audiences for whom it is intended. Reporting There are many possible approaches to reporting student proficiency. Although assessment of learning does not always lead teachers to differentiate instruction or resources. Differentiating Learning In assessment of learning. which recognizes many forms of success and provides a profile of a student’’s level of performance on an emergent-proficient continuum. consequently. This forum provides parents with a great deal of information. When the driver uses glasses. dramatic. students who have difficulties with written language.

. but also a concept the Inuit people call qumiutit. He always took with him a knowledgeable Elder who could give the students the information they needed to store away in case of emergency. and how to adapt what they know to the situation at hand. Students learn how to take care of themselves and others. Throughout the term. Elijah assessed each student on each survival skill (e.g. tying the knots required for the qamutik cross-pieces on a sled). and taught and reinforced in daily living. Why am I assessing? I want to know which survival skills each student has mastered and their readiness to survive in the natural environment. Elijah knew that students need to have a high level of expertise in the survival skills appropriate for the northern natural environment.Assessment of Learning An Example of Assessment of Learning Elijah was interested in assessing student mastery of both the modern and the traditional skills required for survival in the Nunavut environment where he teaches. making fire the traditional way. Traditionally. this was learned in a holistic manner. Each student then practised on his or her own. grounded in Inuit traditional guiding principles that were nurtured and developed from birth. using both traditional and modern methods. Elijah took his students to an outdoor area to practise on-the-land survival activities. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 61 . Survival requires not only skills and knowledge. as Elijah and the Elder observed and assisted. What am I assessing? I am assessing each student’s performance of traditional and modern survival skills. The students watched demonstrations of a skill a number of times. not panic. or the ability in an emergency situation to pull out of stored memory information that will enable a person to cope. The overarching theme of survival is taught in the early grades and culminates at the senior level in a course delivered in Inuktitut.

who then (individually. Elijah knew that the best way to determine if students have mastered the skills is to have them perform them. 62 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . as shown here. A student’’s competence in a survival skill is often demonstrated by an end product. competence in knot tying is demonstrated by a knot that serves its purpose. I can report this information to the students and their parents. How can I use the information from this assessment? Now that I know which skills each of the students has mastered. When students believed they were ready. He shared the information with each student and his or her parents in a final report. The method I choose should also allow me to identify which skills they did not master. I need to provide adequate opportunities for the student to demonstrate the skills under various conditions and at various times. For example. Elijah created an opportunity for them to demonstrate the mastered skill to a group of Elders. then in consensus) determined if the performance was satisfactory. and competence in fire building is demonstrated by a fire that is robust. As the Elders judged each student’’s performance of the skills. I can use this information to identify a learning path for each student.Chapter 5 What assessment method should I use? I need an approach in which students can demonstrate the traditional survival skills that they learned. Elijah recorded the results. How can I ensure quality in this assessment process? Ensuring quality with this approach involves clear criteria: either the student performs the skill successfully or does not.

water. 2) Relationship to the Seasons Assessing conditions / recognizing Climatic changes: danger signs: •• weather changes and how this •• seasonal changes affects the land and water •• land changes •• knowledge of animals and their •• water changes characteristics and behaviours •• wind changes •• weather changes •• •• •• •• 3) Attitudinal Influences (Having the right attitude to learn) •• respect for the environment (cleaning up a campsite upon leaving. and covered with skins. and the use of a snowknife. or canvas. fuel •• using communication devices Food sources: •• plants and their nutritional properties •• kinds of food to take on the land. stoves •• clothing Shelters: •• tents Modern Survival Skills Adaptability Attitude to the Seasons Success Next Steps •• emergency shelters •• igloo building4 •• qamaq5 Transportation needs: •• making the knots required for the •• fixing a snowmobile (spark plugs. cardboard. not over-hunting/fishing) •• respect for Elders and their knowledge •• ability to learn from Elders ____________________ 4. dealing with the remains of an animal. built of scrap wood or bones. •• hunting. balance going •• necessities: snow knife. skinning. •• necessary tools. drive belt) •• building a kayak/umiak •• keeping a boat seaworthy Navigational issues: reading the land •• using GPS reading the sky •• map reading understanding seasonal variations reading inuksuit Preparation for land travel: •• packing a qamutiq (sled) •• letting others know where you are •• load. Expertise in igloo building includes understanding of types of snow. the shape and fit of blocks. and cutting up and their nutritional properties seal. supplies. qamutik cross pieces on a sled repairing track. A qamaq is a rounded house.Assessment of Learning Report on Survival Skills Student: _______________________________________________ Date: _______________________ Traditional Survival Skills 1) Skills •• fuel sources •• getting a spark Building a fire / means of keeping warm: •• propane heaters. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 63 . 5. food. heat source snowmobile parts. etc. rope. caribou.

In this way. The assessment also identified those students not yet ready to survive in the natural environment. and attitudes are acquired along the way. It outlined other areas (such as adaptability to the seasons and attitudinal influences) about which peers.Chapter 5 Elijah’’s report identified which of the students had mastered the specified skills required to survive in the Nunavut environment. 64 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and was accepted for the gifts he or she brought to the group. If a particular skill was beyond the capability of a student. Elders see learning as an individual path in which skills. But the Elders did not stop working with the students who did not reach mastery. knowledge. parents. the Elders helped Elijah differentiate the learning path for each of his students. and family members would need to provide input before a comprehensive assessment could be made. the Elders identified other areas where that person could contribute to the common good of the community.

Assessment of Learning Summary of Planning Assessment of Learning Assessment for Learning Why Assess? to enable teachers to determine next steps in advancing student learning each student’’s progress and learning needs in relation to the curricular outcomes Assessment as Learning to guide and provide opportunities for each student to monitor and critically reflect on his or her learning. and learning and ideas for support articulating his or her learning •• provide the conditions for the teacher and student to discuss alternatives •• students report about their learning • indicate each student’s level of learning • provide the foundation for discussions on placement or promotion • report fair. and on high-quality information student learning self-adjustment • clear. and detailed information that can be used to decide the next steps in a student’s learning Using the Information Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 65 . detailed learning expectations •• engagement of the student in expectations considering and challenging his or •• accurate. self-monitoring. and identify next steps Assessment of Learning Assess What? to certify or inform parents or others of student’s proficiency in relation to curriculum learning outcomes each student’’s thinking about his or her the extent to which students can learning. consistency. skills. related to the curricular and the mechanisms he or she uses to adjust and advance his or her learning outcomes a range of methods in different modes that elicit students’’ learning and metacognitive processes a range of methods in different modes that assess both product and process What Methods? a range of methods in different modes that make students’’ skills and understanding visible Ensuring Quality •• accuracy and consistency of •• accuracy and consistency of student’’s • accuracy. what strategies he or she uses apply the key concepts. rethinking. detailed learning •• clear. detailed notes for her thinking • fair and accurate summative descriptive feedback to each student reporting •• students record their own learning •• provide each student with accurate •• provide each student with accurate descriptive feedback to further his or descriptive feedback that will help her learning him or her develop independent learning habits •• differentiate instruction by continually checking where each •• have each student focus on the task student is in relation to the and his or her learning (not on curricular outcomes getting the right answer) •• provide parents or guardians with •• provide each student with ideas for descriptive feedback about student adjusting. accurate. and attitudes to support or challenge that learning. knowledge. and fairness of judgements based observations and interpretations of self-reflection.

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is one of the most significant changes to occur in education. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• Section III 67 The focus on the purposes of assessment. and assessment of learning distinct and identifiable parts of the teaching and learning process. assessment as learning. It requires changes in the mindsets of educators. •• WNCP jurisdictions have many structures and resources already in place that can be mobilized for changing assessment practices. •• Embedding and sustaining habits of mind requires professional learning. parents.Next Steps Key Ideas in Section III •• Shifting and balancing assessment purposes requires changes in habits of mind. . and the process of making assessment for learning. and society. students. It represents a major shift in thinking toward assessment as a key contributor to enhancing learning for all students. •• Building the capacity for rethinking and changing assessment requires systematic planning and implementation.

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Thinking about assessment as a major facilitator of learning is likely to be one of the most significant changes in classroom practice. Because assessment is intertwined with other dimensions of schooling. It’s about Learning [and It’s about Time]: What’s in it for Schools?) Although many innovations have been introduced to educational systems.Chapter 6 Embedding and Sustaining Purposeful Classroom Assessment Learning is the imperative to equip future generations to respond and to survive in a frenetically and unpredictably changing world. It does not offer ““quick fixes. access to professional development to build the necessary capacity. few have had a fundamental effect on what happens in classrooms. administrators. and it will require of them new knowledge and skills. Significant changes in assessment will involve not only educators. Nothing can really change in schools unless teachers and administrators have learned new knowledge and skills. (Stoll. work environments that have capacity for continuous change and adjustment. The challenge for educators is to engage in new learning themselves in order to help students deal with the opportunities and stresses of shifting and unpredictable social forces on their lives. This change will challenge many educators’’ fundamental beliefs about their work and about education. it is not possible to change one without changing the others. This document provides a framework and direction for teachers. and Earl. and the support of the wider community. and are able to transfer that learning to the classroom. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 69 .”” This chapter offers ideas about what is needed to change and sustain assessment practices that differentiate learning for all students. and district or division leaders. The success of embedding and sustaining any serious alteration to classroom practice depends on changes in the hearts and minds of individual teachers. but also parents and members of the wider community. and professional developers as they work together to make fundamental changes in classroom assessment practices. administrators. Critical elements in the process are understanding and motivation to engage in the change. Fink. Change requires learning. support from local leadership.

A journey worth taking. and patience is a virtue. not revolutionary. rather than create new structures to fit the new information. For most people. The shift from doing to thinking about assessment can be difficult. But we may not have fully understood the innovation. teachers require time to actively think about existing practices. But just going through the motions is not enough. fundamentally. and into the reasons for the change and the subtle differences between the old and the new is essential. There is no ““there”” in the educational change process. Doing suggests that there is progress and that the change will soon be established. Doing feels productive. the Change is evolutionary. In addition to having access to a collection of assessment tools. ones. •• 70 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . ““managing”” classrooms. and that teachers have the requisite content knowledge and the pedagogical skills to find ways to facilitate students’’ learning. in fact. and maintaining control. We tend to assimilate new information (Earl. The Paradox of Hope: Educating Young Adolescents) into our current knowledge structures. It may. significant changes in classroom assessment purposes have not been evident. the accumulation of small ongoing improvements inclined to preserve existing beliefs and habits that are rooted in deep understanding on the part of teachers and motivated rather than transform them or construct new by deep understanding on the part of students. and so have not made the intended changes. and. Looking beyond immediate action.”” in fact to lots of ““theres. and feel we are practising the innovation.”” Educational conservative. indeed. persistence is essential. Assessment as learning requires reconceptualizing not just assessment. but teaching and learning as well. Alternative assessment techniques have been part of the educational landscape for several decades. and instead redistributing responsibilities in classrooms. We may integrate information into our comfort zones. decide what is different. Changing assessment practices is not just intellectual work. he or she may feel conflicted and may focus negatively on why it can’’t work. although many of them seem to have been adopted. assessment has an inherent emotional component that impacts on motivation. approach to processing new information is What matters is ““getting there. This major shift in approach (and consequently in the student-teacher power arrangements) can produce a sense of disequilibrium and dissonance. If a teacher does not hold this view. be counterproductive. in that human beings are change is.Chapter 6 Understanding and Motivation Changing practices requires deep understanding on the part of educators. Assessment as learning means giving up the more traditional constructs of transmitting knowledge. Consider. for example: •• Assessment for learning is premised on a belief that all students are capable of learning the intended curriculum. and make conscious adaptations and innovations.

ensuring quality.. Learning Theory Research in the past few decades has fundamentally transformed what is known about how people learn. The framework for planning assessment that was used throughout the three chapters in Section II provides teachers with a template for this process (see Appendix 1 for a blank template). If their initial understanding is not engaged. and may indicate the need for new ways of doing things. These need to be drawn out. choosing methods. Indeed. it gives individuals. adapt. 2) To develop competence in an area of inquiry. Put together. whole school communities the power to get involved in and sustain learning. and using the assessment for the intended purpose. It is important to understand that dissonance is a necessary part of change. skill. groups and. ultimately. are at the same time revisiting their views about how children learn and what role teachers play in supporting learning for every student. Capacity: Knowledge and Skills Capacity is a complex blend of motivation. and pedagogical knowledge. and investigated as part of any new learning. (National Research Council. monitor. content knowledge. In order for teachers to use assessment to enhance Powerful Insights about How People Learn 1) People come to learning with preconceptions about how the world works. clarified. and are following their own learning path. and infrastructure of support. organizational conditions and culture. they may need to revisit and enhance their knowledge and skills in identifying purpose. Preparing for Change) Although many teachers have very large repertoires of assessment methods. and reflect on their own effectiveness in the classroom. background. Teachers who are making changes in their understanding of assessment. (Stoll et al. positive learning. people must •• have a deep foundation of factual knowledge •• understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework •• organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application 3) A ““metacognitive”” approach to instruction can help people learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their own progress in achieving them. Each teacher will receive and respond to changes in classroom assessment practices from his or her own history. How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice) 71 Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• . they may fail to grasp the new concepts and information that are taught or may learn them superficially and revert to their preconceptions in real situations. deciding what to assess. and experiences.E m b e d d i n g a n d S u s t a i n i n g Pu r p o s e f u l C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t •• Thinking about the quality concerns in assessment of learning brings past practices into question. these teachers are using the same processes as their students to become their own best assessors. and learning new ways of assessing. They are choosing to review. interpreting evidence. Changing classroom assessment depends on teachers building repertoires of knowledge of learning theories.

monitor changing practices. allocate funding. they need an understanding of how people learn. so that they can effectively examine and modify school policies. Pedagogy and Differentiating Learning Attending to the purposes of assessment. scaffold their learning along the way. They require a thorough understanding of the theories and the practices of classroom assessment. Assessment is then the key to making on-the-spot modifications. reinforce the relationships. proceeding in another direction. When teachers have considerable expertise in tailoring pedagogical practice. Data-Driven Differentiation in the Standards-Based Classroom Even when high-quality professional development and communities of practice are in place. With this knowledge. and putting the emphasis on assessment for learning and assessment as learning. Leadership Resource: Gregory and Kuzmich. They can draw on a wide range of resources.Chapter 6 learning. directs differentiating instruction for all students. It is also important to be aware of the various misconceptions that students can bring to a subject. and identify the misconceptions that can get in the way. activities. They can plan some learning contexts that are the same for all students. and strategies to engage students in their own learning. Curriculum and Subject Content An important aspect of changing assessment to focus on learning is teachers being knowledgeable about the curriculum specific to the subject areas that they teach and the ways that people learn and master specific material. and some for individuals. and provide experiences that give students lots of practice and support. as well as a focus on effective tools of assessment and teaching. or. changes will not occur unless there is also strong instructional leadership and creative management on the part of school administrators. some for groups of students. but also offer new ones that will advance their learning. if need be. they are in a good position to address the needs of groups and individuals. and create a culture within the school that allows teachers to feel safe as they challenge their own beliefs. teachers can provide useful descriptive feedback and create tasks that not only challenge students’’ existing beliefs. and the views that led them to their misconceptions. Administrators have the responsibility for creating the conditions necessary for growth in teachers’’ professional knowledge. and change their practices. Their plans will provide the blueprint that they and their students can use to constantly identify the intentions. help prioritize teachers’’ time. 72 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . make the connections explicit.

You can see where your hot spots are. Nurturing Inquiry Habits of Mind If teachers are to support students’’ efforts at becoming lifelong learners who are capable of meeting the challenges of a complex and constantly changing society. had higher-achieving students. will take a together to examine the implications of evidence of student achievement for their teaching concerted effort. and the consequences of the changes. When students come to understand that the primary goal in the assessment process is learning (through assessment for learning and assessment as learning) and that the teacher is there to help them. students are likely to be competent and confident. as well as their students. Parents comprise another group that needs to understand the changes that are being made.E m b e d d i n g a n d S u s t a i n i n g Pu r p o s e f u l C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t School and Community Support for Change Because schooling is a strong and important pillar of each community. whenever any practices or policies in schools change it is important that the public understand the reasons for the changes. The Sustainability of Professional Development in contribute to better decisions for all Literacy) students and for society as a whole. but rather the pursuit of a series of challenges that result in a sense of worthwhile achievement. and see how clarifying differently. you can identify where you are with your children. These teachers were involved in ““learning conversations”” based on a consideration of students’’ work to help them reflect on how they might teach A third group that needs to more effectively. and you know these little bits help you. We all look forward now to actually sharing our results so we can figure out how to get it right for those children.”” and separating the purposes can (Timperley and Wiseman. One teacher described the process like this:””When you look at the understand the changes is the general assessments. Students comprise the first and most important group that needs to understand the changes being made. what the changes look like in practice. mysterious activities. •• •• •• •• think and work with a mindset of being in charge of their own destinies. It is important that they come to understand the purposes of it on the table and we all try to figure out what to do. often accompanied by a sense of foreboding. Maybe others are teaching it assessment. Assessment is the ““public face”” of education. When they eventually face assessment of learning conditions. and New Zealand research shows that teachers and their curriculum leaders who work winning their support. it is important that they. Shifting parents’’ perceptions. they begin to trust that learning is not a competition. Assessment and evaluation have traditionally been viewed as private. When you have a problem you just put public. and changes need to be shared with all who are affected. It’’s the sharing amongst the teachers. always hungry to know more value deep understanding reserve judgement and maintain a tolerance for ambiguity think about a range of perspectives while systematically posing increasingly focussed questions Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 73 .

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Professional Learning Deep learning and its application in practice requires more than just attending workshops and courses. Effective professional development is not simply a uniform delivery of information to teachers. and territories can use for building the necessary capacity to embed and Capacity-building is creating and maintaining the necessary conditions.Chapter 7 Building Capacity for Enhancing Classroom Assessment This chapter provides examples of strategies. Professional learning can be formal (as in in-service and professional communities of continuous inquiry and improvement. Each jurisdiction will ensuring interrelationships and synergy between all the component parts. Professional Learning Communities: Communities of Continuous Inquiry and Improvement) growth planning). and processes that individuals and groups in schools. assessment. districts. It can occur in initial Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 75 . structures. educational associations. and sustain changes to classroom structures that facilitate learning and skill-oriented experiences and opportunities. and it can be informal (as in close daily attention to classroom assessment practices). culture. provinces. As educators rethink their classroom assessment. have to decide how to integrate (Stoll and Bolam. development sessions and professional (Hord. this arrangement may also be termed through networking. they will develop many more examples. but takes into account teachers’’ diverse backgrounds and the diverse contexts in which they work. Leadership in Communities) rethinking classroom assessment into its other capacity-building endeavours. The examples provided here are just a beginning. The goal of their actions is to enhance their effectiveness as professionals for the students’’ benefit. Teachers themselves A professional community of learners is one in which the teachers in a school have a responsibility of acquiring pedagogical and its administrators continuously seek and share learning and act on their knowledge and disseminating it to others learning.

For some educators. observe. post examples. and School Reform”” 76 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . and share ideas.Chapter 7 teacher training or throughout teachers’’ careers. they bring to this exercise the collective wisdom of all of the people in the group. Teachers can use this process to plan assessment in conjunction with their planning for instruction. their experiences and to visit each others’’ classrooms. such as the one the Yukon found in Appendix 1. Teachers can work together to develop a range of strategies for helping each student move forward. When teachers work together to consider the work that students have produced or to listen to students’’ presentations. They use what they learn to adjust their practices. participate in discussions. and whose task it is to share learn. More minds result in more reliable determinations of what students understand. Their goals are to •• provide collegial support to fellow teachers and exchange educational knowledge and ideas. It can happen individually or collectively. •• help teachers institute changes in their teaching styles and apply new learning from books or in-services Assessment Plans. During learning walks. Teacher Community. When educators engage in action research they try out some new approaches to assessment. and they share what they have learned with others. teachers read about. ““Looking at Student Work for Teacher Learning. An electronic bulletin board or conference related to assessment allows them to ask one another questions. They work together to extend Yukon Teacher Collaboration Teams what they do. and implement changes to assessment practices. Assessment Collaborations. Resource: Little et al. study. discuss •• help prevent teacher burnout and its effects on students assessment approaches. Assessment Study Groups. to systematically monitor The Yukon has instituted a number of collaboration teams that are made up of and make changes based on what they teachers with various levels of teaching experience. A template for •• provide teachers with the opportunity to visit other classrooms and schools in planning assessment. share resources. Electronic Assessment Conference or Bulletin Board. teachers visit one •• provide support to teachers new to the Yukon and to the teaching profession anothers’’ classrooms and schools to •• facilitate connections teachers make with other teachers in similar teaching environments observe assessment in action. is a valuable tool for shaping thinking about assessment practices and formulating new ones. •• reduce the frequency of transfer of teachers among schools and out of the consider student work. Assessment Action Research. and they develop a process for recording their success or obstacles to success. it is not easy to have direct personal contact with colleagues. especially for those who are in difficult teaching situations Assessment Learning Walks. debate. In a study group that is focussed on changing classroom assessment. and plan changes teaching profession to their assessment practices.. talk about. Some examples of strategies for building capacity through professional learning follow.

the Assessment for Learning initiative has brought on rethinking classroom together administrators and teachers into school leadership teams. A recent study of the initiative. this might mean that every meeting agenda include an example of good practice.Building Capacity for Enhancing Classroom Assessment Professional Reading and Writing about Assessment. reflect on their students’’ assessment experiences. developing critical friendships. demonstrated that colleagues working assessment with purpose in together (in multi-faceted approaches such as study groups. ““There’’s some accountability that’’s created because we are helping each other and looking out for each others’’ provides leadership and direction through various project learning. As one teacher explained. The WNCP itself is an build collaborative school cultures and that collaboration is a powerful catalyst in making a excellent example of a positive difference for students. Reading these resources and keeping professional journals creates an opportunity for educators to review their own assessment experiences. Effective leadership in schools. Assessment Audits. and territories will ensure that the necessary policies are in place to Building a Culture of Collaboration encourage and endorse a focus In the Edmonton Catholic Schools District. In the short term. School and district leaders can do much to support teachers’’ continued development of their classroom assessment practices. school staffs could develop school improvement Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 77 . and they can determine changes that would improve the balance.”” initiatives. Over the course of a term. There are many excellent books and articles about classroom assessment. including boundary-spanning activities. Leadership and Support The kinds of strategies for professional learning described above require leadership and support. there are a number of other possible strategies. Leaders can play a pivotal role in giving classroom assessment a high profile by ensuring that boundaries between individual classrooms and whole schools are permeable. A condition for the success of these teams is high expectations policy-support system that and a sense of responsibility for colleagues’’ learning. team planning) mind. provinces. and how they have used the assessment information. In the long term. Using Boundary-Spanning Activities. teachers can review their logs and note what proportion of their assessment falls into each purpose. modelling. and apply what they have learned. teachers can keep detailed logs of their day-to-day assessment practices. and making time. At the end of a term. districts. chart their own learning about assessment. such as the one that (Patterson and Rolheiser. It’’s kind of the expectation that you’’re going to come along as well. how they have addressed issues of quality. including a description of the assessment and its purposes. stimulate new ideas. In addition to providing access to the kinds of professional development strategies outlined above. which could be as simple as requesting staff to bring along a piece of student work to share. examine their assessment beliefs and practices. intervisitations. which included interviews with 60 participants. some of which are noted in the margins and included in the resource list at the end of this document. ““Creating a Culture of Change””) gave rise to this document.

the teach. time to converse. and offers critique of a person’’s work. Developing Critical Friendships. message stands not only in terms of the process of continuous learning about (Bryk et al. decisions that they are required to make. or in the informal. Leaders can model the behaviours. Rethinking classroom assessment is not about Leadership Imperatives for Educational Reform) doing more but about doing differently. time to plan. and commitments that they ask others to demonstrate. A critical friend is a trusted person who asks provocative They can observe what may not be apparent to insiders. Leaders who make their own professional learning about classroom assessment apparent can underscore the ““do In more than 12 years of working with urban elementary schools on developing as I do. Frustration about time is often The one commodity that teachers and administrators say they do expressed in relation to the feeling that one has to not have enough of. the University of Chicago’’s Center for School Improvement has found that little changes unless the principal is fully on board. facilitate reflection on classroom assessment practices. Assessment in the Learning ask questions. open critiques. critical friends can be an invaluable asset. Making Time. leaders draw on evidence to inform what happens next. Leaders can support teachers by endorsing and encouraging opportunities for assessments for and as learning as a basis for 78 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . These plans would include indicators that show evidence of change. The challenge. Schools for the Twenty-First Century: time. problem is not so much about lack of time but use of (Schlechty.. (Costa and Kallick. provides data to be examined through another lens. and the decisions that follow. Whether it is in the context of formal activities. 2. When they have expertise in classroom assessment as well as sensitivity and the ability to listen and respond thoughtfully. Modelling. but they do it in a nonjudgemental and helpful way.Chapter 7 plans that include the school-wide goal of enhancing classroom assessment. Leaders can help teachers make the thinking time they need by supporting opportunity cost analyses (the idea that everything that gets done has a cost in terms of what doesn’’t get done). attitudes. is to bring balance to classroom assessment practices. This whole-school classroom practice. and probe for justifications. as well as do as I say”” message. Leaders are well-placed to broker critical friendship interactions in their districts and beyond. questions. as noted on the assessment pyramids shown in Fig. as friend. is time: time to accomplish more than there is time for. day-to-day. However. even more so than money. They are not Organization) afraid to challenge assumptions. time to think. ““Urban School Development: Literacy as a Lever for Change””) classroom assessment. or to determine proficiency. The one commodity that they say they do not have enough of is time. to figure out how to best help others to help themselves.1. They also provide reminders of accomplishments. like school improvement planning and working with professional growth plans. but also in terms of the content. One of the most powerful ways that leaders can support the new learning of others is by modelling. Critical friends offer support and honest. Educators often feel that they have little control over the way that time is allocated in school.

offer support. (Lafleur. school improvement will flounder. Develop procedures that enable parents to monitor (and help students to monitor) homework. students. and by students. 2002): Workshopping with Parents. Survey parents and community members about their interests. For example. and give feedback to teachers. with a space for student reflections and parent comments. Making the Difference: Successful with a classroom assessment focus Leadership in Challenging Circumstances) include (adapted from Epstein.Building Capacity for Enhancing Classroom Assessment We must make choices and become increasingly ingenuous. ““The Time of Our Lives: Learning from the Time Experiences of Teachers and Administrators during a Period of Educational Reform””) having students more involved in their learning and reporting about their learning. Provide workshops for parents to explain current classroom assessment practices. Encourage and facilitate active involvement by both parents and students in assessment-informed decisions that affect the student. use a folder to send student work home each week. and bring specific skills and strengths to the table. provide different perspectives on issues. Learning at Home. (The ““letter home”” example on page 35 and the example of student-led conferencing on page 49 show how partnerships can develop when assessment is not something that is done to students but rather something that is done with students.) Some school’’s values. and the community in the work of the school. Members of a partnership contribute mutually to reach goals. in how we allocate scarce time. Making Decisions. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 79 . Volunteering. strengths. Use assessment as learning opportunities to encourage students to talk explicitly about their own learning. Communicating. and to demonstrate how instruction is targeted and learning is supported. and develop a program for using the volunteers to support the differentiated learning needs of students as directed by classroom assessment practices. lend support. Engaging Parents and Community Intentionally creating a partnership is a useful way of engaging parents. and encourage others to do the same. two-way communication between home and school that celebrates student success and identifies areas of concern. and availability. and ingenious. for Unless children ‘‘take the values home’’ and the community understands and shares the students. according to a set of outcomes-based criteria that teachers provide. Establish mechanisms for timely. Strategic work with the wider strategies for developing successful community is vitally important. school-family-community partnerships (English National College for School Leadership. such as charting next steps.

it’’s the only thing that ever has. focussed attention on assessment purposes and on the students in the class provide the starting point. However. It could include footage of the process that you are engaged in and of teachers. and parents in discussion about assessment for learning. Rethinking classroom assessment may appear to be a daunting task. committed citizens can change the world: indeed. and assessment of learning. assessment as learning.Chapter 7 Celebrating with the Community. we need to remember that teachers are not alone in making assessment a critical part of learning. Reflection: What are some next steps that you or your learning team might explore in order to make a difference in student learning? 80 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d . As Margaret Mead once said. As teachers Christine and Paul discovered (see A Vignette of Assessment in Action. Consider producing a video series for local cable networks that highlights the assessment work that is being done in your schools. students. pages 18 to 26). ““Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful.”” Nor should we underestimate the power of classroom assessment.

Appendices Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 81 .

Appendix 1 A Template for Planning Assessment Why am I assessing? _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ What am I assessing? _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ .

What assessment method should I use? _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________ How can I ensure quality in this assessment? ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ How can I use the information from this assessment? ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________ .

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knowledge. detailed notes for descriptive feedback to each student •• accuracy and consistency of student's •• accuracy. consistency.Appendix 2 Overview of Planning Assessment This appendix provides a summary of the tables in Chapters 3. •• indicate each student's level of descriptive feedback to further his or descriptive feedback that will help learning her learning him or her develop independent •• provide the foundation for discussions learning habits •• differentiate instruction by on placement or promotion continually checking where each •• have each student focus on the task •• report fair. and attitudes related to the curriculum outcomes a range of methods in different modes that assess both product and process Assess What? each student's progress and learning needs in relation to the curricular outcomes What Methods? Ensuring Quality a range of methods in different modes that make students’’ skills and understanding visible •• accuracy and consistency of observations and interpretations of student learning •• clear. and articulating learning and ideas for support his or her learning •• provide the conditions for the teacher and student to discuss alternatives •• students report about their learning Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 85 . detailed learning expectations considering and challenging his or •• fair and accurate summative reporting her thinking •• students record their own learning Using the Information •• provide each student with accurate •• provide each student with accurate. skills. what strategies he or she uses to support or challenge that learning. rethinking. and detailed student is in relation to the curricular and his or her learning (not on information that can be used to outcomes getting the right answer) decide the next steps in a student's •• provide parents or guardians with •• provide each student with ideas for learning descriptive feedback about student adjusting. Assessment for Learning Why Assess? to enable teachers to determine next steps in advancing student learning Assessment as Learning to guide and provide opportunities for each student to monitor and critically reflect on his or her learning and identify next steps each student's thinking about his or her learning. self-monitoring. and 5 (Section II) of this document. 4. and fairness of self-reflection. and the mechanisms he or she uses to adjust and advance his or her learning a range of methods in different modes that elicit students’’ learning and metacognitive processes Assessment of Learning to certify or inform parents or others of student’’s proficiency in relation to curriculum learning outcomes the extent to which students can apply the key concepts. detailed learning expectations •• accurate. and judgements based on high-quality self-adjustment information •• engagement of the student in •• clear. accurate.

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Homepage. William.rmplc. Practice with Student-Involved Classroom Assessment. P. P. P. and K. Looking Together at Student Work: A Companion Guide to Assessing Student Learning. Black. <www. Instead. Thousand Oaks. and D. D. 2003.”” Phi Delta Kappan 80.. Black. Assessment for Learning: Putting It into Practice.B. 2nd ed. 2001. Wiliam. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 87 . <http://learnweb. <http://www. and J. Portland. Arter.gov. Harrison. Berkshire. and C. <http://www. ““Feedback in Questioning and Marking: The Science Teacher’’s Role in Formative Assessment. Schieffelin.. Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom. 2001. P.co.ab. and P. and web links that can be the starting point for individuals and groups to build their own personalized assessment resource compendia.ca/> Alberta. and D. New York. Busick.. Assessment Training Institute. NY: Teachers’’ College Press. <http://www. it includes examples of books. C. J..learning. Active Learning Practice for Schools: Teaching for Understanding..aac.pdf> Arter. Lee.cfm> Airasian. Black.com> Association of Assessment Inspectors and Advisors.ab. Allen. CA: Corwin.harvard.assessmentinst. Alberta Assessment Consortium: Everyday Assessment Tools. Blythe. 2003. McTighe.Resources for Further Reading The following resources may be useful for teachers and administrators in their study and implementation of classroom assessment with purpose in mind. materials. Classroom Assessment Toolkit: 1-6. P. Testing: Friend or Foe? Falmer Press: London.edu/alps/tfu/index. UK: Open University Press. Harrison. NY: McGraw-Hill.301 (2001): 55-61. Assessment in the Classroom: A Concise Approach. ““Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment.”” School Science Review 82. C.. T. OR: Assessment Training Institute. J.W.2 (1998): 139-148. 1999. 1999. Marshall. This list is not exhaustive. articles. B. 1998.uk/orgs/aaia> Black. Homepage.ca/k_12/curriculum/bySubject/ict/div1to4. 2000. New York.

Vallerand. Making Classroom Assessment Work. 2004. F. 1995. NJ: Erlbaum. 27 January 1999. Brown. 1995. Evaluation and Reporting. and B. 1995.htm> Brophy. Gipps. eds. A. Glaser. E.Re s o u r c e s British Columbia Ministry of Education.”” Evaluation Research in Education 14.”” Educational Leadership 20. L. Davies. 1992.”” Metacognition.. J. S. ““Appendix D: Evaluation Example.gov. Farr. ““Metacognition. <http://educ. The Nature of Expertise. and C. BC: Connections Publishing. WI: Wisconsin State Reading Association. Chi. S.”” <http://www. Columbia University.. Clarke. ““Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective. Cecil. 1975. Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning. Homepage. and R. R. A. Darling-Hammond. M. MB: Peguis Publishers.gov. Executive Control. Intrinsic Motivation. ““Performance-Based Assessment and Educational Equity. 1996. E. Classroom Assessment and Evaluation. ““Reassessing Assessment. <http://www. and Understanding. ““The Role of Teachers in Teacher Assessment in England. Clarke. 88 •• Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d .. Courtenay. Buehl. Ancess. 1987.. Deci... Hillsdale. Pelletier. Authentic Assessment in Action. Falk. Weinert and R.”” Harvard Educational Review 64.ca/~capnat> Costa. Deci. Motivation. et al.ca/classroom_assessment/class_assess. Davies.1 (1994): 5-30. New York. Ryan. NJ: Erlbaum.ca/irp/physics/apdg12.queensu.”” Educational Psychologist 26 (1991): 325-346. Kluwe. Winnipeg.bced. L. 2001. NY: Plenum. Standards Department. ““Synthesis of Research on Strategies for Motivating Students to Learn. and Other More Mysterious Mechanisms. London: Hodder and Stoughton. L. Self-Regulation. Unlocking Formative Assessment.”” Educational Leadership (1987). Schofield. NY: Teachers College Press. New York. Mahwah. The Art of Inquiry: Questioning Strategies for K-6 Classrooms.htm> ---. 1988.bc. Darling-Hammond. D. N. A. Together Is Better: Collaborative Assessment.bc.1 (1989). MB: Peguis Publishers. Classroom Assessment Practices-National (CAPNAT). R. G. eds. A. and M. 2000.1 (2000): 38-52.bced. Winnipeg.

Fountas. IL: SkyLight Training and Publishing. ““Assessment and Accountability in Education in Ontario. BC: Connections Publishing.V. A Teacher’’s Guide to Performance-Based Learning and Assessment. A.eric. Courtenay. Farr. eds. Gipps. CA: Corwin. 1996.”” In G. London: Falmer Press. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.1 (1995): 45-55.. and G. 2001.B. Earl. Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6. Davies. Legget. Fogarty. ““Facing the Change: Aligning Assessment with Curriculum. ON: Ontario Public School Teachers’’ Federation. ---.. Pinnell.”” Orbit 26. Fountas. Trumbell. and A. 1995.1 (1995): 38-43. Assessment Alternatives for Diverse Classrooms.S. Mississauga. Cameron. Thousand Oaks. ““Sociocultural Perspectives on Assessment. ---. L. B.Re s o u r c e s Dweck.C. Arlington Heights. 1994. O’’Connor. VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 1997. and E. Assessment As Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximize Student Learning. 2003. 1999. Beyond Testing: Toward a Theory of Educational Assessment.. Self-Assessment and Goal-Setting: For Use in Middle and Secondary School Classrooms. How to Grade for Learning: The Mindful School. Wells and G.. I. Earl.gov/> Educators in Connecticut’’s Pomperaug Regional School District 15.ed. ““A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality. Conferencing and Reporting: For Use in Middle and Secondary School Classrooms. IL: SkyLight Training and Publishing.. Re t h i n k i n g C l a s s r o o m A s s e s s m e n t w i t h Pu r p o s e i n M i n d •• 89 .2 (1995): 61-63. Courtenay. 2000. Portsmouth. Alexandria. C. Balanced Assessment. Cousins. NH: Heinemann Publishing. Gregory.P. Gipps. K. L. R. and J. BC: Connections Publishing.. ““Moving from the Political to the Practical: A Hard Look at Assessment and Accountability.. <http://www. 2001. Learning for Life in the 21st Century. Educational Resources Information Center Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation (ERIC/AE). L. C. Earl. and K. MA: Christopher-Gordon. C. 2002.”” Psychological Review 95 (1988): 256-273. Claxton.M. Classroom Assessment: Changing the Face.”” Canadian Journal of Education 20.M. C. 1998. Arlington Heights. ---.”” Orbit 26. and E. Norwood. Facing the Change.

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