As Term 3 starts, you are probably getting ready to start gathering student achievement data. Not only will you want to use this data to measure the impact of the changes to teaching and learning you’ve made this year, but you may also want it to become the basis for your next focused inquiry.
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When I was a principal I confess we only ever assessed using the recommended test for each year group and we measured progress by the stanine. We had no idea the tests were designed to give teachers rich, descriptive information about the level of the curriculum each student is working in, and, what their next steps should be.
I was working with a school recently and left them feeling good about using STAR because they had found out about a whole lot of new ways to use the data. As one teacher said, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’. They suggested I get this information out there, so here goes.
Question #1: Did you know you can choose any test for any child?
The PAT scale score is very useful when describing achievement and progress.
You’ve tested with the PATs. You have the results. Exactly how much progress have your students made over the year and is this average, below average or accelerated for their year group?
Some questions for you:
- how well have they done since the last assessment?
- is their progress average, below average, or accelerated?
Teachers making decisions about their students’ achievements based on a range of sources of evidence is the cornerstone of an effective cycle of inquiry in any school. The evidence-based cycle of inquiry is the engine that drives improvement to teaching and learning in classrooms and in school-wide initiatives (Timperley et al, 2010). Research says this is how you make a difference.
On TKI Assessment Online, under ‘New Zealand's Approach to National Standards’, one of the reasons outlined for the introduction of the National Standards is to "affirm your ( the teacher) role as the professional who knows the most about your students’ achievement rather than relying on national tests."
Schools often ask when they should use standardised testing. Twice a year? Once a year ? There is no definitive answer, just a few questions, which, when answered by the school, will make choosing the time of year to assess more logical.
"The approaches we take to assessing learning, the kinds of tasks we assign and the way we report success or failure at school send powerful messages to students not only about their own learning but also about the nature of learning itself." This occasional paper by Australian Council for Educational
Let’s start off with the million dollar question: Why is it important to assess punctuation and grammar in the classroom?
The teaching and assessing of literacy and numeracy skills has become an important focal points in learning but does that mean it is worth spending much time assessing the more finely-tuned details of semicolons, conjunctions and clauses?