Instructional Assessment System

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Please create a 300–400 words response to this chapter. I do not expect summaries of the readings but instead reflection about .

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Chapter 6 Develop Assessment and Accountability Systems to Monitor Student Progress Rose M. Ylimaki Key Topics • • • • Accountability Levels and Issues A Comprehensive Assessment System Summative and Formative Assessments Assessment-Curriculum Connections According to the ISLLC Standard 2, effective instructional leaders develop assessment and accountability systems to monitor student progress. Today’s instructional leaders face accountability pressures at all levels. Principals/instructional leaders must be able to implement and monitor various summative and formative assessments, align assess ments with curriculum and instruction, and lead difficult conversations regarding achievement gaps. In other words, principals/instructional leaders must have the assessment literacy (knowledge and skills) to enhance learning opportunities and close achievement gaps. This chapter presents leadership for effective accountability and assessment systems (formative and summative) that improve teaching and learning for all students. Extended Reflection 6.1 Define accountability. Describe your current assessment system, including summative and formative assessments. Be prepared to share your thoughts with your colleagues. Refer to your answers as you read the chapter. Accountability Levels: Direct and Indirect Influences As a landmark of education reform in the United States, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 uses accountability to leverage policy implementation. Some studies have indicated direct positive effects of NCLB on leveraging much-needed improvements for students in persistently underperforming schools (e.g. Skrla et al., 2004). Findings from other studies disagree. For instance, analyses of state test score trends revealed the marginal effects of NCLB accountability policy on student achievement gaps and graduation-rates between racial and socioeconomic groups of students (Lee, 2006; Orfield, Losen, & Balfanz, 2006). Still other studies have raised concerns about the effects of NCLB policy on the narrowing of teaching practices, curriculum (e.g. Daly, 2009; Ylimaki, 2011), and on local leaders’ decision-making practices to a focus on standardized testing data (e.g. Duke et al., 2003; Luizzi, 2006). Thus, studies of NCLB accountability indicate direct influences on student achievement overall, marginal direct influences on closing racial/ethnic achievement gaps, and some unintended (indirect) influences on narrowing the curriculum and teacher decision-making strategies. Direct and indirect influences of accountability are further described in the next two sections. Direct Influences Federal and State The federal NCLB Act of 2001 and related state testing mandates use accountability as a direct lever of policy implementation. In particular, the No Child Left Behind Act articulates consequences for failure to make adequate yearly progress on state tests toward a goal of 100 percent proficiency by the year 2014. As this chapter is written, thirty-two states have filed for waivers regarding the 2014 goal. Regardless of the 100 percent waivers, if schools do not make adequate yearly progress on state-administered standardized tests over a series of years, their leaders and teachers face severe consequences, including conversion to charter school status, staff restructuring, and reconstitution. In a similar vein, Race to the Top rewards schools for attaining “labels” of high performance. School performance indicators may also impact principals in other ways, including particularly administrator and teacher evaluations. For instance, Arizona mandated that districts base 33–50 percent of principal evaluations on student academic growth or student outcomes on state tests (Arizona Revised Statutes § 15– 203(A) (38)). Common Core Curriculum also uses accountability as a lever for increased rigor and postsecondary preparation. As this chapter is written, forty-five states have adopted the Common Core Standards, and each state must develop an accountability system to ensure that each child has access to a “high quality education” and post-secondary options. According to the Common Core Standards initiative, schools must accomplish these goals by: (1) driving school and district performance towards college and career readiness; (2) distinguishing among students performances in order to provide supports and interventions to students most in need; and (3) providing timely and transparent data to promote action at all levels; and (4) fostering continuous improvement throughout the system. PARCC assessments will also directly influence district and school use of resources within each of these recommended processes. If PARCC assessments require students to be proficient in particular strategies and in using technology to demonstrate their proficiency, how are districts likely to respond? Districts are likely to expend resources on technology and professional development aimed at these tested strategies. Local District Closely related, instructional leaders are often directly influenced and held accountable for many local district accountability policies or implantation mandates. For example, many districts mandate the use of locally developed benchmark assessments or commercial tests, such as Galileo, that have predictive value for state test performance. That is, quarterly benchmarks are aligned with state test items, and student benchmark performance predicts how well students will perform on the yearly state assessments. The logic is as follows: if students struggle on particular benchmark items, they are likely to struggle on the state assessments. Benchmark assessment results, then, provide teachers with critical information to guide instruction for the remainder of the school year. Many districts hold principals and teachers accountable for benchmark assessment results, with rewards that include performance pay tied to teacher evaluation systems and even merit pay. As a result, some studies have noted a narrowing of curriculum and teacher decision-making focus to the benchmark and state assessment results (e.g. Johnson & Johnson, 2005; Ylimaki, 2011). Today’s instructional leaders must be careful to avoid narrowing the curriculum to standardized test items. Indirect Influences School and district leaders are also influenced and held accountable in indirect ways. For instance, local/regional newspapers and organizations often publish state assessment results that indirectly put leaders under tremendous pressure to improve performance. Such reports frequently rank districts and schools according to their performance on assessments with topperforming districts/schools at the top and low-performing ones at or near the bottom. When a district and/or school performs at or near the bottom of such a ranked list over a series of years, local school boards, parents, and other community members often see their local schools (and leaders) as deficient. As a result, instructional leaders may change their priorities to focus on tests. And while a focus on high test performance is not bad in and of itself, the related narrowing of curriculum and decisions is problematic for educating the whole child (e.g. Johnson & Johnson, 2005; Ylimaki, 2011). Consider the following questions: • How often have your professional learning communities (PLCs) focused on standardized test data analysis? • How much time do your PLCs spend on formative assessments aligned with standardized test improvement? Now think about these questions: • How often have your PLCs focused on community/civic engagement or service learning? • How often do you and your colleagues talk about students’ funds of knowledge and background information as assets for the curriculum? • How often do your PLCs talk about improving the arts and humanities? Answers to these questions point to the need for a comprehensive assessment system aligned to curriculum, instruction, and learning for the whole child. Fieldwork 6.1 Ask a Principal about Accountability Pressures Ask a principal about the different types of accountability he/she faces. Prompt him or her to talk about national accountability sources (NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core assessments), state accountability (testing mandates, principal/teacher evaluation systems), and local sources (newspaper rankings, community, school board, benchmark assessments). Then ask the principal how he/she manages these accountability pressures. Finally, ask him/her how the accountability pressures have reduced or even eliminated other goals (e.g. service learning, the arts). Be prepared to share your responses with the class. A Comprehensive Assessment System and its Components Effective instructional leaders use formative and summative assessment measures, as essential components of a comprehensive accountability system that connects assessments, instruction, and curriculum for the whole child within local communities and beyond. We can divide an assessment system into two broad categories of assessments: summative and formative. Essentially, summative assessments provide information about what students have learned at a particular point in time, and formative assessments provide feedback about what students are learning during an instructional time. Teachers use formative assessment feedback to modify their instruction in ways that help all children learn more during subsequent instruction. Summative Assessments Summative assessment (an assessment of learning) typically documents how much learning has occurred at a particular point in time. Overall, the purpose of summative assessment is to measure the level of student, school, or program success. Today’s instructional leaders must know how to analyze summative assessment data and use that data to analyze program effectiveness and develop plans for school or curriculum improvement (see Chapter 10 for suggestions). At the same time, leaders must recognize summative assessments as part of an overall comprehensive assessment system. Summative assessments are most often given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. Commonsensically, the term “summative assessment” is often associated with large-scale standardized tests, such as state assessments, but summative assessments are also used in district and classroom programs. In this sense, the key is to think of summative assessments as a way to measure student learning at a particular point in time. Summative assessments provide important information that can only help in evaluating specific points in the learning process. Because summative assessments of learning are spread out over time and occur after the instruction occurs (from a few weeks to a year), they are useful to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and access to a quality education. In the wake of NCLB and related accountability policies, instructional leaders must examine summative data for evidence of equitable opportunities for learning as well as academic achievement. Equity audits and assessment processes. Skrla et al. (2004) developed an equity audit process to help school leaders and other school members systematically examine summative data, looking for equity of learning opportunities in their schools. More specifically, Skrla et al. (2004) posited twelve indicators grouped into three categories for equity audits—namely, teacher quality equity, programmatic equity, and achievement equity. High quality teachers are key determinants of students’ opportunities to be academically successful (Skrla et al., 2004). Yet students of color and students form low income backgrounds often have non-certified teachers and or teachers with less experience and training. According to Skrla et al. (2004), if children of color and children living in poverty get lower quality teachers than their Anglo peers from middle and upper class neighborhoods, we cannot expect equitable achievement. Furthermore, if the inequity in teacher quality is distributed across a school or district, the result is likely to be a systemic inequity in achievement. Similar quality patterns can exist within schools. In your school, do the more experienced teachers teach advanced placement courses? Do least experienced teachers teach intervention classes? Equity in the quality of programs is just as important as teacher quality (Skrla et al., 2004). Skrla and colleagues recommend an audit of four key indicators of program quality: 1. 2. 3. 4. special education gifted and talented education bilingual education student discipline. Historically, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are over-represented in special education and under-represented in gifted/talented programs. In the equity audit, the indicator for quality in special education and gifted talented programs is whether all student groups are represented in reasonably proportionate percentages. With regards to bilingual education, the question is whether students are being well served and not simply segregated from the kind of quality instruction necessary to make academic progress. Students who are routinely and consistently removed from classes for discipline are also denied equal access to learning. In combination, teacher quality equity and programmatic equity contribute to achievement equity. Fieldwork 6.2 Work with your principal, PLC, and/or grade level team to conduct an equity audit, looking at data regarding teacher quality, programmatic quality, bilingual education, and discipline. Add the resulting data to your Data Wall. Interview your PLC members to gain an understanding of their perceptions about the resulting equity data. Work with your team to develop plans to attain more equitable academic achievement in your school. Equity audits require deep trust among staff members and instructional leaders who can facilitate difficult conversations with regards to race, whiteness, language, and poverty. Moreover, today’s instructional leaders must have strategies and analytical tools to help school members get beyond deficit views and blaming external factors for achievement gaps. See Chapter 2 for additional culturally responsive assessment strategies that help school members move beyond deficit views of traditionally marginalized students. Summative data provides instructional leaders with many understandings about what students have learned as well as their opportunities for learning (teacher quality and programmatic quality. Yet summative assessments happen too far away from instruction and other school practices to make instructional adjustments or interventions during the learning process. For that, we need formative assessments. Formative Assessments Formative assessments (assessments for learning) provide information or feedback to modify teaching and learning activities. According to Heritage, Kim, Vendlinski, and Herman (2009), formative assessment is “a systematic process to continuously gather evidence and provide feedback about learning while instruction is underway” (p. 24). Popham (2003) adds that formative assessment is a planned process; it does not happen accidentally. Teachers who regularly utilize formative assessments are better able to: (1) determine what curriculum content students already know and to what degree during the instructional process; (2) decide what minor modifications or major changes in instruction they need to make so that all students can succeed in upcoming instruction and on subsequent assessments; (3) create appropriate lessons and activities for groups of learners or individual students; and (4) inform students about their current progress in order to help them set goals for improvement. Common Formative Assessments Ainsworth and Viegut (2006) recommend common formative assessments designed by teams of teachers and then administered to students by each participating teacher periodically throughout the academic school year. In particular, common formative assessments assess student understanding of particular curriculum standards that the grade-level or department educators are currently focusing on in their individual classrooms. Teachers collaboratively score the assessments, analyze the results, and discuss ways to achieve improvements in student learning on the next common formative assessment they will administer. In this way, assessment informs decision-making during the instructional process. If the common formative assessments are aligned to the large-scale assessments in terms of what students will need to know and be able to do on those assessments, the formative assessment results will provide valuable information regarding what students already know and what they yet need to learn in order to do well on summative assessments. Using formative assessment results, educators can adjust instruction to better prepare students for success on the large-scale, summative assessments. Further, educators can use formative assessments to understand each child’s learning approach, background knowledge, and any misconceptions that may negatively affect their comprehension of material. Instructional leaders/principals play a vital role in implementing common formative assessment processes in their schools. They must look for creative ways to change daily teaching schedules to promote to promote collaborative curriculum development, instructional planning, and analysis of student progress. By freeing participating teachers to meet in appropriate teams, administrators/instructional leaders provide teachers with the support necessary to plan and align curriculum, instruction, and assessments. In sum, whether to regard an assessment as either formative or summative depends on the assessment’s purpose and how it is to be used. Summative and formative assessments are integral to a comprehensive assessment system. Further, instructional leaders/principals and teachers need to consider what they regularly assess, what they do not regularly assess, and for what purpose. With many schools under tremendous pressure to quickly raise standardized test scores, teachers and principals may prioritize tested standards in terms of instruction and formative assessments to the exclusion of promoting civic responsibility, inclusion, and social justice. The next several subsections describe a comprehensive assessment system (summative and formative) with components that inform a multi-dimensional curriculum (described in Chapter 3) and consider the issues identified in equity audits. When instructional leaders connect a comprehensive assessment to a multi-dimensional curriculum, they have the potential to avoid a narrow curriculum and limited decision-making identified in the research on NCLB (e.g. Johnson & Johnson, 2005; Ylimaki, 2011). Fieldwork 6.3 Formative or Summative? Decide if the following assessment examples are formative or summative: 1. The assessment is a final measure of how students performed on constructed response items on multiple measures taught during the quarter. 2. The teacher uses the results from a unit test to inform instruction for the same students during the next unit of study. 3. teacher provides students with the opportunity to revise and then improve their performance on a particular assessment during the evaluation process. 4. Students complete their revisions and the final evaluation is determined. Be prepared to share your responses. The entire process begins with the policy-related curriculum (now common core) as well as students’ funds of knowledge and then continues through each successive practice. Common formative (school-based) assessments should be intentionally aligned to all of these standards. Previously in many states, teachers needed to power or prioritize long lists of discrete state standards. The Common Core Standards are relative ...
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Instructional Assessment System
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INSTRUCTIONAL ASSESSMENT SYSTEM

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Instructional Assessment System
One of the most significant challenges I face as an instructional leader is about the
implementation and alignment of assessments with the curriculum and instruction. To be a great
instruction leader requires sufficient knowledge and skills to improve students’ learning
opportu...

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Tutor went the extra mile to help me with this essay. Citations were a bit shaky but I appreciated how well he handled APA styles and how ok he was to change them even though I didnt specify. Got a B+ which is believable and acceptable.

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