Monday, July 19, 2010

Session 4 - Question 2

Assessment is discussed throughout this book, including Chapter 9, “Taming the Assessment Beast”. What will you altered in your classroom or trainings based on your reading of best practices in differentiating for gifted students? Include page numbers within your blog.

32 comments:

  1. I am changing my use of rubrics and following the DAP format. It has really simplified my process and made my expectations more concise and congruent to the learning objectives. Previously I had too many elements of the product and process which ended up diluting the amount I weighed for the content. Now it is easier to create a more accurate objective assessment of student's learning, by assessing the product/process formatively and the overall content as one major summative assessment. In the end, the content is more important than the application learned to show the content.

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  2. On page 152 the authors ask and answer, so they think, the all powerful question of "How do I find time?" That's really the bottom line here. As educators, we all want continuous learning for kids. We want kids to be engaged and interested in what we have to teach and in what they are learning. We want to plan learning that meets every child where they are, but we have to consider assessment and the time it takes to organize it. I agree that simplifying the assessment process is good, but since this will be the first year I am going to attempt using DAP, it won't be quick or simple. It's going to take time to put together, time to analyze its effectiveness, and time to alter and adjust to fit my needs and the needs of my students. So, I am planning to use DAP, but it will be a slow process. I am hoping to plan with my team so that we can create these together and save them to use again and again. Once that is done, then I agree that assessment could be simpler, but let's face it, assessment is a time consuming process. It just is, and althought the DAP helps to focus it to student learning, it all just takes time.

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  3. Another difficult chapter for me since I don't have to give grades (one of the many, many things I LOVE about being a librarian!). I learned about rubrics some years ago and have experimented with them - I've always used the on line versions. Rubrics can get really elaborate - I like what the authors say on page 155 - a DAP tool needs 4 components - content, presentation, creativity & reflection. Student Product, Development & Evaluation, a book the authors cite (and I bought) has a product for every project to aid the teacher in grading.

    I found it interesting that the DAP examples (as on page 158) have 3 levels. This makes them useable for both Special Ed / Regular ed and G/T students.

    Page 165 wraps it up by stressing that assessment needs take place throughout the project, not just at the end and that it needs to be authentic and "real".

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  4. In response to of life, education, e-bay, etc on July 22nd @ 5:52pm, I have used the online rubric maker too. In fact, that's the only one I've ever used. I like the simplicity of the DAP, and it will be a great assessment tool once I get a few of them made. Right now it seems like a huge task.

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  5. I am looking forward to implementing the DAP rubric style (page 153). As April Talvison commented above, I too have incorporated too many elements in my rubrics. Not only do they dilute the weight of the content portion, they are a pain to create and utilize! I really like the common vocabulary in the DAP tool and the fact that minimal customization is needed to make it work for a variety of products.

    I appreciate the “professional level: level expected from a professional in the content area” range on the rubric (page 156). Not only does this remove the “learning ceiling,” it ties the product to real life. It also stimulates children to consider different professional options for the future.

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  6. As a music teacher who sees classes once or twice weekly, I would like to assess using rubrics on a more consistent basis. (pg.152) I find it rather frustrating when gifted and talented students miss my class because they are at Spiral when their class attends music. Unlike the regular classroom teacher, I have to introduce new material when the GT kids are not present. It truly is not fair to expect them to play catch-up the next time they are physically present. I welcome suggestions on how to handle this situation.

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  7. William Allen (Rob)July 25, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I will definitely assess more prior to and during the lessons. I think it is easy to assess once a lesson is complete but this does not give a full picture of students’ true progress. (pages 149-150)

    Having a website to create, maintain and learn from other teachers’ rubrics is a tremendous resource for me to have. Teachers can learn from modeling just the same as students. (page 152)

    I will definitely use DAP tools this school year. I agree with the authors that they need to be broad enough to be utilized in a variety of different ways and across the curriculum. Content requirements can be worded to fit all types of assessments. Presentation has to be more tailored to each individual project but the author(s) make a great point that presentation must be connected to content otherwise it’s all flash and no substance. Creativity can be addressed with generalized questions that cover any material. I like the way the author(s) summarizes reflection what did you learn about the content and what did you learn about yourself by creating the product. This is short, to the point and easy for students to understand. By using this consistent DAP tool, students will become better acquainted with the expectations you have and will improve their ability to demonstrate understanding of material. (pages 153-156)

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  8. William Allen (Rob)July 25, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    In response to Dani Pico, I agree what I like about the DAP tools are the simple language which makes them easy to use in a number of different instances. I also agree the professional standard is important for students to make a connection between what they learn in school and how it is applied in the real world, in real careers and that careers aren't all about taking tests.

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  9. In responst to "of life, education, e-bay, travel and amp, books:
    I too like the DAP tool's 4 components and am glad to know the book is a worthwhile purchase. Thank goodness we can use the same assessment tool for all of our kids!

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  10. I knew this before reading the chapter, but my rubrics can always be altered. I find that I try to incorporate too much into them and, as a language arts teacher, I drive myself crazy with the grading. This chapter made me think about how I need to look at the rubric as I do my daily lesson or unit--what do I really want to focus on, what skill do I want the students to master, where should they be/what should they learn with this assignment? Page 152 spelled it out for me when it asked the question, "How do I find time to grade the products?" Too often my rubrics focus on the aesthetics of a paper, when I'm really looking for content. I find myself becoming frustrated when students get a high score but don't say much in the paper, and this chapter made me realize that taking the time to work on my rubric will help to alleviate that irritation. This year, I will also alter my instruction based on pre-assessments, using online score reports from the AP exam. We've received the scores and the breakdown this summer, which gives me more time to look critically at what I did last year and where I need to move this year.

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  11. In response to LDavis' July 22nd posting, I agree that assessment will take loads of time as it always does. I am hoping that since we have each other as well as our LA SIS, we can help each other accomplish this. We can start off easy with one subject/unit at a time. As soon as we get used to the vocabulary and the technique, we should be a bit faster at it.

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  12. I am not one of the designated GT teachers this year, however, I plan to use the DAP Tool to better assess my students. Even though I won't have any identified GT students, I still see the relevance in using it. I realize that students (even the regular ed.) differ greatly within a given classroom (p.158). I might not use the tier 3 as much as the tiers 1 and 2, but that might change as time goes on or with different content (p. 157).
    I think this way of assessing will take longer, but it is something I am willing to try. I am lucky that the people I go to for loads of advice are also doing this book study and we can help each other.

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  13. As a SIS, I feel it's important to guide teachers in the right direction when it comes to assessing their kiddos and providing quality examples of assessments, etc for their use. I am a true believer of growing every learner where they are and that adding "academic+ worth" to each and every student is one of our main goals as educators, however, I do wonder frequently what constitutes a fair, quality assessment. I went into reading this chapter with an open mind...

    "Differentiation without documentation is whimsical (page 149)" is something that comes up often at many campuses I believe. We all want to differentiate and group our children the best way(s) possible to enhance their learning experiences, but do we typically og about it with proper reasoning and evidence to justify our decisions? The same rhymes true for assessment. I also believe formative and summative assessments are both appropriate and also feel that it is best to assess in differing formats so that students get a variety of ways to showcase their knowledge and become familiar with many different formats, too.

    I do like the DAP format for assessing learners, especially the four areas included: content, presentation, creativity, and reflection, but am still wondering if perhaps these categories should be "weighted" heavily in content or maybe content + reflection. Our current SBISD grading guidelines specifically have categories for "content" grades, etc. I do feel that all areas are important, create a more rounded opportunity, but most rubrics such as these DAP tools are still a tad bit subjective, even though they FAR outweigh most other assessment tools...

    Just like anything else, I support this methodology, but realize that there is no one-way to do everything and that it has a very valuable place within our classrooms along with traditional assessments, at times.

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  14. In response July 22, 2010 1:15 PM
    Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books, I also like the 3 levels of the DAP. It seems more streamlined and easier to use in a multilevel classroom.

    In response July 23, 2010 9:57 AM
    Dani Pico, I agree as well and appreciate no learning ceiling which is why I don't like rubrics sometimes although I understand the importance of them.

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  15. kHarrell - Assessment has always been the most difficult part of teaching for me...I am glad to see the DAP components on pag 153...it includes Content,Presentation, Creativity and Reflection - For the past 5 years I have served on a state committee judging student products, at first we had no guidelines to compare the work...we moved to rubrics and now have posted the rubrics for students to see before submitting their pieces - as a result - the entries have improved greatly and no longer does one stick out. When I went through the DAP I was glad to see that what we used for those rubrics was very similar to those...we looked at more than just information - but also creativity. My daughter is a graphic designer and she has really pushed me to look at how things are presented - making sure that the necessary information is there - but looking past just the information - this is making many of my students projects look and feel much better. I really like the reflection piece on page 155...that's when you really know what a student learned. Again in summer school, we had the students reflect on the experience - that piece was as important as their actual product. I really like the table on page 157! Another thing to think about...where should students be on the rubric - on page 157...students won't be at the professional level...students need to learn to always strive and reach for better and better. After reading this chapter - although I DREAD assesment, I think I have a better grasp of what needs to be done.

    In response to april tavilson - I too like the three levels of DAP - I like giving students a little more flexiblity in striving to do their best.

    In response to of life....I agree that assessment needs to be authentic and real. I need to remember that as I create rubrics and even before...when we make assignments - WHAT is the PURPOSE?

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  16. The DAP is very interesting. The three tiers do seem to be perfect for assessing students with differing capabilities. I do wonder about the level 6 professional; it seems to me that very few students SHOULD get this rating. If that is the case, will anyone ever score a 100, or would the level 6 be the equivalent of something greater than 100%...

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  17. “Assessment is the only real communication that lets children know if they are making progress - if they are learning or just marking time. Preassessment tells the teacher and the student what he/she knows before the unit has begun, formative assessment informs both teacher and student of progress toward the learning goals, and summative assessment provides information about performance at the end of the unit. Assessment documents why kids are doing different things at the same time. Assessment also provides the documentation that allows you to communicate with parents about the continuous progress their child is making.” (p.149) Obviously, assessment is ongoing and intentional planning will continue to be a driving force behind it. I loved the DAP Tool, and the simplicity of it. “Assessing the product without assessing the content is dangerous in that it encourages students to produce a flashy product with a weak content understanding.” (p.154) I wish that I could say that I have never been guilty of that one, but that is simply not true. The DAP Tool will ensure that it doesn’t happen again. J “This high-level thinking serves as impetus for future learning. Reflection should motivate and stretch thinking, and should encourage the student to make continuous progress - to learn new things on an ongoing basis. A reflection should be written and should accompany every product created.” (p.155) I love the reflection aspect, and I will learn so much more from my student about his learning on each individual product. This too will help with intentional planning and continuous progress for each child. With intentional planning and continuous progress, I will be fostering a love for learning and lifelong learners in my students.

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  18. In response to scrump on 7/27, I agree that a 6 would be very hard to reach. However, it should be. In Appendix A, they talk about "what a child doesn't learn if they earn good grades and high praise without having to make much effort, what are all the things he doesn't learn that most children learn by third grade?" Ouch! Yes, I will continue to think about that as I plan and assess this year.

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  19. I use rubrics for grading and am curious to see if the DAP Tool will work in my classroom. I really like one section of the DAP; the "Meaning of Performance Scale."(pg. 157)

    The professional level on the performance scale really does remove the learning ceiling by encouraging students to go above and beyond expectations.

    I like the consistent vocabulary and simplicity of the DAP Tool. I do think it will be difficult for me to change from creating rubrics with my students on their specific task, to using the generic DAP Tool.

    I like the three tiers. I think the second bullet under content on all 3 tiers needs to be modeled and explained to elementary students in order for them to successfully demonstrate the depth of their understanding.(pg. 158-160 figures 9.3;9.4;9.5.)

    In response to scrump, July 27, I was also wondering about numerical grading. Our grading expectations state that 95 to 100 is when "Students demonstrate consistent and independent comprehension and application of subject matter." Therefore I believe a student could possibly earn 100 while still not being considered a professional. I am not sure on this one. Being a professional encompasses so much more than just your knowledge base.

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  20. Biggest alteration for me? Pre-assessment. I need to analyze what that will look like in reading and writing. I am definitely planning on using the open-ended questions discussed in a previous chapter. I usually base these kinds of assessments on whole class discussion and my observation during reading and writing independent time, but my documentation of these observations is sketchy at best. I have used rubrics a lot in the grading of products and usually like to start with one created by someone else. It is easier to modify one than to start from scratch. I like the common vocabulary, reflection criteria (155) and the seven level performance scale(156) on the DAP tool and will definitely try using these.

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  21. melissa cernosekJuly 28, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    With regards to what I have learned about assessment throughout the book and what is implicitly stated on p.149, I plan to...

    1-preassess in order to know what my kids are coming with
    2-keep better notes/records to track progress throughout units
    3-provide a variety of ways for students to show what they know/can do

    I tend to use rubrics quite a bit to assess areas that I feel are not black and white (such as oral presentations) and I plan to use the rubrics provided in chapter 9 to improve the rubrics I use and to create new rubrics.

    I also really like the explanation of the performance scale (p.157) and the three tier rubrics as they are very clear about what is being assessed and what each score means.

    In response to Dani Pico, I also like the professional level on the performance scale as I have had students who do work beyond the advanced level and this assessment would show that they possess that ability.

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  22. I will make sure that I use a variety of pre-assessments to identify where my students are. I will utilize the DAP Tool as a rubric but must say that I am overwhelmed with the time that will be required to create them, because it is so new to me. I don’t think it will be as simple as it looks, however, I will be implementing it because I see its value. It is just going to take some time for me. I am the designated GT teacher and it will be my first GT class ever, so I am nervous! I really like the resources that are in this book. I can’t wait to look up the websites listed on page 152 because I will definitely use them to help me create rubrics. I think this will help with the time issue. I also like the fact that the DAP tool rubric can be used for all grades and for every subject area pg 153.

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  23. I have to say that I agree with S.Guillory 7/26 comment. I like the format and the 4 areas that are included but I believe it is subjective. I have had some of my parents complain about the problem solving rubric being subjective and I fear they may think the same of the DAP tool. I will incorporate it but will use other rubrics as well.

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  24. I have used rubrics in the past and will continue to do so, but I will also start using the DAP Tool this year. I think it is very straight forward and easy to understand. The components, content, presentation, creativity, and reflection (pg.155) are areas that cover whether or not material has been learned and if the student is making continuous progress. The authors reiterated that assessment needs to be authentic and linked to the real world (pg.165)...it made me wonder if real world meant TAKS. In math, most of my assessment came from questions that were stated in a TAKS-like fashion. The weekly checkpoints we give are in TAKS-like format...then again how many times in the real world are you asked to write a number in expanded form? I agree with the author's statement that instruction should be a response to assessment and assessment should be ongoing. I am really going to work on creating quick assessments that I can give to students throughout a unit or when covering a concept to ensure all students are "getting it" and making continuous progress. (pg.165) Sometimes we are making more work for ourselves by having to create quizzes or tests, when an assessment could be much more simplified.

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  25. I like the DAP tool that is discussed on pages 153 - 165. I especially like the way it is broken down into 3 tiers for each component and how it uses vocabulary that can be applied to a variety of products. I will definitely use this rubric to assess a products across subjects.

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  26. In response to ldavis, I agree that starting anything new takes more time. I too will be using the DAP Tool this year. I am hoping my team and I will be able to help each other so we are working smarter.I am going to take the examples from the book and create a few that I can use throughout the year with a few tweaks.

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  27. I look forward to using and adapting the DAP models in the book from pages 153-165. I hope my team and I can come up with ways to adapt together. I need to continue using the preassessment and documentations. Dani and Melissa Cernosek, let's try to work on ideas throughout the year to make the DAP tools work in both our grade levels.

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  28. I have created and used Rubrics on my own and I’ve used RubiStar. I have never used DAP Tool, but I know that I will be using it this year. Creating rubrics are very time consuming, but once you have one you can use that as a template to create other rubrics.
    We need to have students create show what they learned by using other assessments other than paper and pen tests. I like what it says, Real-world products encourage and require high-level thinking, including creative thinking about the content. We all know that Fortune 500 companies aren’t looking for dioramas in their board meetings any more than they’re looking for true/false and multiple-choice formatted presentations (pg .150).

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  29. I am struck by the clear and precise description of the cycle of instruction, “…you pre-assess to see who already knows what; the assess to throughout the unit as you determine who is learning what; at what pace, and on what level of sophistication; and you assess at the end to see what progress individual students are making--...” [p. 149]. This matches the cycle of instruction for reading and writing workshop—assessing, planning, and instructing. I completely know this but have not heard it put this way before. I will definitely use the idea of pre-assessing before teaching within workshops I teach. I don’t do it enough and I assume, sometimes, that all of the teachers sitting in my workshops all know, or don’t know, the same things. And, that’s just not true. I will continue to think about this and remember to incorporate it in the workshops I teach.
    I really like the idea of products being the best way to show continuous progress. Roberts and Inman say, “…products show you, the teacher, what your students have learned.” [p. 151]. Products are a synthesis of content that shows a teacher that students have internalized the content and can apply it to new situations.
    I have recently taught a workshop where I asked teachers to practice a literacy strategy with each other, effectively having them ‘create a product’. As I walked around, I could tell that the teachers understood the concepts by how well they created the product of practice. It worked great.
    I plan to try to incorporate a product production in other workshops that I teach.

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  30. In response to Mrs. Winegar’s post on July 25th at 9:35 pm, I so hear you about driving yourself nuts with the grading! Examining the rubric as you do your daily lesson or unit of study will always keep the end in mind, which is where we want to go. Try allowing students to tell you what should be in the rubric and how much it should be weighed. You’ll be surprised at what they’ll come up with—usually much tougher than you would ever create for them!

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  31. I would like to be able to use the different methods of assessing my students, such as the Venn diagrams and Think-Tac-Toe. In using those methods I am going to use the DAP rubrics. They are very clear cut and easy to use. They focus on the mastery of the standard not the product.

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  32. in response to l davis
    "How do I find time?" That's really the bottom line here. As educators, we all want continuous learning for kids.
    I agree that it will take a lot of time and work. Hopefully we all have a good team that will work together, but what if you don't? What if you have a member that doesn't want to go down the DAP path? As a pretty new teacher I am frequently unsure where to focus my time. I would love to only have to focus on my students but that is never the case. I really like the DAP tool and hope that it will be a more effective tool for assessing my students.

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