Day 18 – “It’s Not Fair”

Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Thursday (10/20):

-Remember those assessment readings some of us did early? Those were back! They included NCTE Beliefs on Assessment, selections from Bridging English about assessment on Blackboard, and formative assessment examples (also on Blackboard).

-Because it had been awhile since some of us had read these documents, we spent ten minutes reviewing them on our own, especially the NCTE reading.

-We then divided into groups – Benji/Emily/Cassie, Brittany/Alyssa/Beth, and Liv/Kayla/Rachel (me!). Each group took a set of standards to discuss, and then came back as a large group to share how we’d interpreted them. Benko explained then that she sees the NCTE reading as pillars, as justifications for best practices in assessment.

-STANDARD 1: not rewarding or punishing system, everyone trying to improve somehow; assessment should not harm a student, getting meaningful information that will actually help students (don’t NOT give students a reason for assessment, also make sure to give people feedback — what does a B mean otherwise?, meaningful information to go with grade)

-STANDARD 2: teacher’s the most important agent —> agent implies action and engagement, collecting data in order to change teaching, notion of putting own spin on midterm is this standard —> teacher knows their students best and knows what will push them/etc., don’t just take data from standardized tests

-STANDARD 3: formative (even summative needs to be formative) —> assessment is not to prove teaching and learning have happened, but to improve both teaching and learning

-STANDARD 4: doing things with the information you get, letting the assessment change your teaching, curriculum — don’t boil down one subject to something too small, complexity of literacy, assess what’s hard to assess not just what’s easy to assess (quality of writing, e.g., realistic dialogue, vs. black-and-white grammar — this is not always black and white). A key quote from this standard was the following: “Furthermore, even when the standards come closer to representing these features of complex
literacy, high-stakes assessments rarely address the difficult-to-measure standards, opting
instead to focus on content that is easier and more expedient to assess using inexpensive test

-STANDARD 5: recognize lives of students, what’s important to them — think about culture; related a lot to standard 6; must recognize what students KNOW (issue with nationalized, norm assessments — what if they don’t know the thing? e.g., Benko’s barter system example); one-shot assessments are not representative of real, physical kids; test is only representative of that one day

-STANDARD 6: test biases —> must be multicultural (cultural background, languages, but also SES, etc.), fair AND equitable (Emily’s example — fair by teacher standard, but others didn’t perceive it was fair; Brittany’s daughter held at equal standard even though she’s made tons of growth)

-With Standard 6, Emily gave an example about her sister, how parents told her mom that “It [wasn’t] fair” that she got shorter books for book talks.

-Standard 7 was one we should come back to at a later date!

-STANDARD 8: if you vary your assessment and assess often, you’ll get a better picture of the student

-When Benko said she felt separate from us because she was plugged in, when we started with Standard 8, Benji said that’s what technology does.

-We also talked a lot about AR (don’t get Benko started on it) and how that fits in with assessment.

-We then shifted gears to talk about the formative assessment documents and the Bridging English piece, and that the one of the differences between the final and midterm is including formative assessment. Here‘s an additional page about other examples of formative assessment that you might include in your final! Remember that when we use formative assessment, it’s not just collecting information from students, it’s using that information to make a choice about your teaching (e.g., Benko having us hold up fingers at the beginning of class so she can see how to change her instruction).

-What Benko thinks is most interesting in Bridging English starts on pg. 421 — poles of grading.

-What is also helpful for us is pg. 423 — the difference between formative and summative — not only for final, but for final reflection (this BE piece might be useful for justification).

-Benko also talked about Catherine for awhile and it was SO CUTE.

Thinking ahead:

-Julie is coming on Tuesday, so start thinking about your Northside work!

-Midterms are due then, too!







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