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Challenges to the implementation of effective assessment for instruction in literacy

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Title: Challenges to the implementation of effective assessment for instruction in literacy


1
Challenges to the implementation of effective
assessment for instruction in literacy COI
Adolescent Literacy Institute, October, 2008
2
Purpose of this presentation
To discuss some of the major difficulties in the
implementation of a comprehensive assessment plan
to improve instruction in adolescent literacy
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices
Tensions between administrators and teachers in
the kind of assessments they find useful
Coming to consensus on instructional goals
3
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices
1) reorienting to the purposes of assessment and
methods of teaching
2) acquiring many new assessment and teaching
skills
3) identifying new instructional resources or
reallocating instructional resources
Reorientation of two types
Assessment as evaluation to assessment as device
for incremental improvement and learning
Instruction as roughly the same for all to
instruction as differentiated according to
student needswith goal of having all students
succeed at some basic level
4
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices
Classroom assessments and grades, frequently do
little more than show the pupils for whom the
initial instruction was and was not appropriate
(Gusky, 2007, p.65).
Changing schools from places that merely sort
pupils based on achievement into places that
assure that all pupils will meet standards brings
with it the challenge of rethinking the dynamics
of assessment (Stiggins, 2007, p. 11).
5
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices
New assessment and teaching skills
If assessments indicate the need for reteaching,
how will that be provided in the midst of
pressures to cover the curriculum?
If a student does not acquire the ability to make
reliable inferences from text as a result of
normal classroom assignments, how is that skill
taught more explicitly?
How do you design assessments that reliably
identify which part of the inference making
process a student is having trouble with?
6
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices
Identifying needed resources
Time for discussion and thinking about assessment
results
It may be of little use to know why some
students cannot comprehend grade-level material
if resources are not available for appropriately
focused and sufficiently intensive interventions
to accelerate their growth toward grade-level
standards (64). Torgesen, J. K., Miller, D.
H., 2008
7
Changing attitudes about assessment and improving
instructional practices -- some solutions
Long term professional development focus
Creation of assessment exemplars
Discussion questions linked to content area texts
that reflect grade level literacy standards
Examples of projects and writing assignments with
appropriate scoring rubrics
Experience with well supported benchmark
assessments
8
Tensions between the assessment needs of
administrators and teachers
Most effective uses of benchmark assessments
might be to
identify students in need of more intensive
instruction
stimulate discussions among teachers about
instructional strategies related to standards
monitor the impact of instructional innovations
track student progress toward meeting grade level
standards
9
Tensions between the assessment needs of
administrators and teachers
zone of wishful thinking surrounding benchmark
assessments.
Policymakers often hope that data will
automatically lead to improved practice. However,
experience shows that data must be accompanied by
the reporting systems, professional development,
support structures, and management practices that
will impact teacher and student beliefs and
behaviors (p. 21). Perie, Marion Gong, 2007
The most obvious solution involves training for
leaders on the purposes and value of different
types of assessments
10
Coming to consensus on instructional goals
One of the first requirements for an effective
comprehensive assessment plan is widespread
agreement on important student outcomes
Do teachers accept grade level literacy standards
as an appropriate target for instruction?
content area teachers?
Do teachers see improvement in students ability
to meet literacy standards as an important
outcome from their instruction? content area
teachers?
11
Coming to consensus on instructional goals
One of the first requirements for an effective
comprehensive assessment plan is widespread
agreement on important student outcomes
This may be particularly challenging in the area
of literacy, because it is critical that teachers
whose primary focus has been teaching specific
content in science, social studies, English, or
history also buy in to general literacy
standards related to their disciplines. Unless
science teachers accept the idea that part of
their responsibility is to help students make
inferences from texts, or combine information
across textual sources to form conclusions, they
will not engage in formative assessments to guide
their instruction on these skills (p. 69).
Torgesen, J. K., Miller, D. H., 2008
12
Coming to consensus on instructional goals
Teachers need opportunities to acquire deeper
understanding of state standards so that they can
see how they are linked to real, and important,
literacy competencies
Content area teachers, in particular, need to be
shown how improving literacy competencies, as
embodied in state literacy standards, with
content area texts will allow students to learn
more effectively
13
Other challenges to the implementation of
effective assessment for instruction?
Pressures to cover an extensive curriculum in
content areas
14
Questions/Discussion
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