Formative assessment: Bridging the gap between high stakes testing and classroom learning Megan Montee



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Formative assessment: Bridging the gap between high stakes testing and classroom learning

  • Megan Montee
  • Title III Directors Meeting
  • May 5, 2009

This presentation will discuss how formative assessment can inform high stakes testing and classroom academic language development.

  • This presentation will discuss how formative assessment can inform high stakes testing and classroom academic language development.
  • Purpose

By the end of this presentation, you will be able to:

  • By the end of this presentation, you will be able to:
  • Identify purposes and uses for formative assessment;
  • Understand how formative and summative assessment can work together;
  • Consider ways to make formative assessment systematic and integrated with instruction.
  • Purpose

What I’ve learned about your roles:

  • What I’ve learned about your roles:
    • Title III Directors
      • Other roles you may hold: Federal program director, Special Education coordinator, testing coordinator
    • ESL Teachers
      • Types of classes you teach: pull-out, content-based, sheltered approach
      • Many of you work in multiple schools
  • What I’ve learned about the challenges you face:
    • For teaching ESL
    • For assessing students
  • Context

Introduction and Overview

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Formative and summative assessment
  • Academic language development
  • Example: ELDA Standards
  • Classroom applications
  • Discussion
  • Overview

Assessment as a part of a learning process (Shepard, 2000)

  • Assessment as a part of a learning process (Shepard, 2000)
    • Learning culture
    • Training
    • Classroom impact
  • Assessment and learning culture

Instructors must understand language assessment in order to participate in the language learning culture (Shepard, 2000).

  • Instructors must understand language assessment in order to participate in the language learning culture (Shepard, 2000).
  • Assessment and learning culture
  • Definition of assessment (1/2)
  • Assessment = process of planning, collecting, analyzing and reporting information about student learning
  • Adapted from Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (1997). Managing the assessment process: A framework for measuring student attainment of the ESL standards. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
  • Definition of assessment (2/2)

Assessment literacy = what instructors need to know about assessment (Stoynoff and Chapelle, 2005; Boyles, 2005; Stiggins, 1997).

  • Assessment literacy = what instructors need to know about assessment (Stoynoff and Chapelle, 2005; Boyles, 2005; Stiggins, 1997).
  • Language assessment literacy = what stakeholders need to know about language and assessment in order to conduct reliable, valid and fair assessments of all students
  • Stakeholders = ALL participants including test developers AND instructors
  • Background: assessment literacy

Effective Practices Acquired Through a Team Approach, West Virginia Department of Education

  • Effective Practices Acquired Through a Team Approach, West Virginia Department of Education
  • Classroom assessment for learning
  • When is it conducted?
  • What information does it provide?
  • How can the results be used?
  • Formative
    • During a course of instruction
    • Results often used for planning instruction
  • Summative
    • Provides information on outcomes
    • Results often used for assigning grades, program evaluation, or tracking
  • Formative and summative

Building academic language proficiency

  • Formative and summative
  • Summative
  • Assessment
  • Building academic language proficiency

BICS / CALP

  • BICS / CALP
  • WESTELL Standards
    • English Language Arts
    • Math, Science and Technology
    • Social Studies
  • “(1)Language used to convey curriculum based academic content and (2) the language of the social environment of a school.”
  • Academic language
  • Challenges

Planning

  • Planning
  • Collecting
  • Analyzing
  • Reporting
  • Formative assessment

Begin with the end in mind

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Don’t wait until the end to assess
  • Integrate assessment and instruction
  • Planning for formative assessment

Re-read your goals

  • Re-read your goals
    • What did you promise?
    • Can you do it?
  • Examine your curriculum
    • What are the big ideas to assess?
    • What can help with daily, weekly and future planning?
  • Match assessment to classroom
    • Domain
    • Theme
  • Planning for formative assessment

Assess what’s in the curriculum (academic language)

  • Assess what’s in the curriculum (academic language)
  • Communicate what will be assessed
  • Assess
    • Short, daily
    • Longer, weekly
    • Longest, end of sequence
    • If there’s no time to assess it, there’s no time to teach it.
  • Classroom assessment tasks

Planning instruction

  • Planning instruction
    • Short-term
    • Long-term
  • Organizing/grouping students
  • Supporting learning
  • Diagnosing student needs
  • Motivating students
  • Providing feedback
    • To students
    • To parents
    • To school/district
  • Assigning grades
  • Planning: formative purposes

Validity and classroom assessment

  • Planning: determining Your purposes
  • What do you want to know?
  • How will you use this information?
  • Validity and classroom assessment

High and low stakes assessment

  • A few examples
  • What do you want to know?
  • How will you use this information?
  • Can my students use the vocabulary words we studied last week?
  • Short-term instructional planning
  • How well can my students write a research paper about a topic they select?
  • Long-term instructional planning; assigning grades; diagnosing student needs; providing feedback to students
  • How well do my students speak English at the beginning of a course?
  • Long-term instructional planning; grouping students; providing feedback; motivating students
  • High and low stakes assessment

Washback (Hughes 2003)

  • Washback (Hughes 2003)
    • Positive
    • Negative

How can we plan for systematic formative assessment?

  • How can we plan for systematic formative assessment?
    • Data collection
    • Analysis
    • Reporting
  • Systematic assessment

Purpose: What is the best way to find out what I need to know?

  • Purpose: What is the best way to find out what I need to know?
  • Use: What is the most appropriate and effective way to collect this information?
  • Collecting data

Formative assessment is defined by use, not the assessment method

  • Methods for collecting data (1/2)
  • Formative assessment is defined by use, not the assessment method
  • Some assessment methods are well-suited to formative assessment

Observations

  • Observations
  • Checklists
  • Oral presentations
  • Essays / written compositions
  • Traditional tests
  • Portfolios / work samples
  • Student self-assessments
  • Classroom tasks (individual, pairs, group)
  • Methods for collecting data (2/2)

Which mode(s) are you testing?

  • Which mode(s) are you testing?
  • What format is appropriate?
  • Developing assessment tasks

Characteristics of good classroom assessment tasks:

  • Characteristics of good classroom assessment tasks:
    • Standards-based
    • Proficiency level appropriate
    • Age/grade-level appropriate
    • Tied to instructional goals
    • Purposeful
    • Clear directions
  • Classroom assessment tasks

Prioritization and Sequencing

  • Prioritization and Sequencing
  • Prioritization = how to decide which parts to assess
  • Sequence = the order in which you assess
  • How do we do this?
  • When to assess

Questions to ask

  • Questions to ask
    • What did I promise?
    • What goes together?
      • Themes
      • Domains
    • How much is too much?
      • 15 minutes or fewer rule; AND
      • Not too choppy rule
  • Setting sequences

Thinking beyond grades

  • Thinking beyond grades
    • Quantitative information
      • Assessment level
      • Item/task level
    • Qualitative information
  • Looking at assessment data in content
  • Using data to improve assessment and instruction
  • Analyzing formative assessment data

Who needs to know the results of your assessments?

  • Reporting formative assessment data
  • Who needs to know the results of your assessments?
  • Which reporting format is best for a group of stakeholders?
  • Reporting formative assessment data

How can assessment results be reported to students?

  • Communicating results with students
  • How can assessment results be reported to students?
    • Make sure students know the purpose of the assessment before it’s administered
    • Provide meaningful feedback to students
    • When appropriate, review the assessment with students
    • Ask for student input
  • The test is appropriate for my student population.
  • The test’s intended purpose matches my purpose for
    • testing.
  • The test’s input is appropriate for the skills I am
    • assessing.
  • I have the necessary resources to administer the
    • test.
  • I have the necessary resources to score the test and
    • analyze the results.
  • I understand how to share the results with stakeholders.
  • Testing checklist

Some questions I encounter:

  • Applications
  • Some questions I encounter:
  • How can formative assessment help me prepare my students for a standardized test?
  • Is it wrong to teach to the test?
  • Should formative assessments be mini-versions of the summative assessment?

Assessing Speaking

  • Assessing Speaking
    • Classroom-based
    • Academic language
  • Application: performance assessment
  • Standards for Speaking:
  • Application: WESTELL standards
  • 1. Connect: Establish a verbal connection with an interlocutor in order to talk about something
  • 2. Tell: Provide basic information on a relevant topic in a conversation
  • 3. Explain: Provide detailed information on a relevant topic in a conversation
  • 4. Reason: Argue in favor of or against a particular relevant topic
  • Note: Benchmarks are “implied in the soft hierarchy of functions.”
  • (American Institutes for Research (2005))

Tell: Provide basic information on a

  • Tell: Provide basic information on a
  • relevant topic in a conversation
  • Application: speaking standards
  • Amount of language (words, sentences, extended discourse)
  • Complexity of language
  • Academic vocabulary
  • Fluency and comprehensibility

How could this standard be assessed in the classroom?

  • Next steps

A collection of brief, accessible CAL digests on assessment and other relevant topics

  • A collection of brief, accessible CAL digests on assessment and other relevant topics
  • http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/subject.html
  • Draft of the ILTA Code of Practice
  • http://www.iltaonline.com/code.htm
  •   Virtual Assessment Center, an introduction to language assessment from CARLA
  • http://www.carla.umn.edu/assessment/VAC/index.html
  •  National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA)
  • http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/
  • Learning Teams for Assessment Literacy by Richard J. Stiggins
  • http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/orbit/classroom_assess_sample.html
  • Do educators know how to make use of the new avalanche of standardized test data? by Rebecca Zwick
  • http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct0404/voices0404-zwick.shtml

Short, accessible book which introduces basic concepts of language testing and

  • Short, accessible book which introduces basic concepts of language testing and
  • reviews 20 English language tests
  • Stoynoff, S. & Chapelle, C. (2005). ESOL tests and testing. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
  • A practical guide to developing your own classroom assessments
  • Brown, H.D. (2003). Language assessment: principles and classroom practice. New York: Pearson ESL.
  • A book which provides a thorough but accessible overview of foundational concepts
  • in language testing
  • Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language teachers (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Handbook which explains the principles of backward design for classroom
  • assessment
  • McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Article on creating a culture of assessment
  • Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29.7, 4-17.
  • Assessment resources: print

Review current practices

  • Possible next steps
  • Review current practices
    • Survey
    • Meet with teachers
  • Conduct a needs assessment
    • What do teachers need to know about assessment?
    • How could formative assessment be improved?
    • How could analysis and reporting be improved?
    • What resources are available?
    • What resources are needed?
  • Schedule time and support for assessment planning
  • Review and discuss standardized test scores
    • How can these be used to inform classroom instruction and assessment
  • Provide training on formative assessment
    • Standards expert
    • Developing assessment tasks
  • Discussion and questions

American Institutes for Research. (2005). English language proficiency standards and test and item specifications. www.ccsso.org/projects/ELDA/research_studies

  • American Institutes for Research. (2005). English language proficiency standards and test and item specifications. www.ccsso.org/projects/ELDA/research_studies
  • Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for language teachers (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29.7, 4-17.
  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. (1997). Managing the assessment process: A framework for measuring student attainment of the ESL standards. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
  • West Virginia Department of Education. Classroom assessment for learning: a journey to assessment literacy.
  • References

Meg Montee

  • Meg Montee
  • mmontee@cal.org
  • Thank you


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