Posted in Edublogs

Assessments

head-1345064_1920

EduBlogsClub Prompt #15:

Prompt: Write a post that discusses “assessments.”

It can be your feelings on the accountability climate, informal assessments, assessing student projects, or anything else related to testing, feedback, and measuring learning.

Or maybe a good old-fashioned rant 🙂

I wonder how most teachers feel when they hear “assessment.” My first reaction was to think of the standardized state tests we all need to oversee our students taking as a way to be held accountable to state standards. I personally have mixed feelings on assessments. I do not believe one big standardized state test should be the end all be all snapshot of student achievement, and I feel like I am beginning to see a shift in that thinking, at least in California.

As I have previously mentioned, I am a part of the Career Technical Education (CTE) department of my school district. As many educators are aware, CTE is a big deal right now. It is getting a lot of attention as the focus nation wide is on college and career readiness. I forget where I first heard the following comment, but I agree with it completely: “college and career readiness” should really be “post secondary readiness” as the current naming still makes it sound like college for all. I understand the intent is that we are no longer tracking students into vocational programs or college prep programs, but we are working to prepare them for life after high school. That life after high school can go a number of ways, but it should be grounded in a student’s interests and passions coupled with economic realities.

Prior to being a teacher on assignment in the CTE Department, I was an elementary educator. It might seem strange to some to have an elementary educator in the CTE Department as CTE work tends to be associated with secondary students & secondary teachers, but the idea is that career readiness starts in the elementary grades with career awareness. While many elementary teachers wouldn’t call the career-related things they do CTE, they are.

WBL Continuum

(For a more detailed continuum click here: work_based_learning_continuum )

CTE has often been left out of the assessment equation, because as I said earlier, the success or failure of a school or a student was strictly tied only to the results of that one big state test at the end of the year. While I know that big state test is important, I never accepted it as the end all be all of my students’ success. You cannot accurately gauge a person on one big test. That is not a true snapshot of how that student is doing. Considering MANY factors is a much better way to assess student achievement.

The California Department of Eduction (CDE) has recently introduced a new way to assess students’ readiness for college and/or career:

College/Career Indicator Performance Levels

There are three levels that measure postsecondary preparedness in the College/Career Indicator (CCI):

  • Prepared
  • Approaching Prepared
  • Not Prepared

Prepared Level – Does the graduate meet at least 1 measure below?

High School Diploma and any one of the following:

  • Career Technical Education (CTE) Pathway Completion plus one of the following criteria:
    • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments: At least a Level 3 “Standard Met” on ELA or Mathematics and at least a Level 2 “Standard Nearly Met” in the other subject area
    • One semester/two quarters of Dual Enrollment with passing grade (Academic/CTE subjects)
  • At least a Level 3 “Standard Met” on both ELA and Mathematics on Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
  • Completion of two semesters/three quarters of Dual Enrollment with a passing grade (Academic and/or CTE subjects)
  • Passing Score on two Advanced Placement (AP) Exams or two International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams
  • Completion of courses that meet the University of California (UC) a-g criteria plus one of the following criteria:
    • CTE Pathway completion
    • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments: At least a Level 3 “Standard Met” on ELA or Mathematics and at least a Level 2 “Standard Nearly Met” in the other subject area
    • One semester/two quarters of Dual Enrollment with passing grade (Academic/CTE subjects)
    • Passing score on one AP Exam OR on one IB Exam

Approaching Prepared Level – Does the graduate meet at least 1 measure below?

High School Diploma and any one of the following:

  • CTE Pathway completion
  • Scored at least Level 2 “Standard Nearly Met” on both ELA and Mathematics Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments
  • Completion of one semester/two quarters of Dual Enrollment with passing grade (Academic/CTE subjects)
  • Completion of courses that meet the UC a-g criteria

Not Prepared Level

Student did not meet any measure above or did not graduate, so considered NOT PREPARED

I am glad to see my state moving in a direction that considers multiple “indicators” related to student achievement. I recognize the value of assessment. It is necessary to making sure our instruction is meeting the needs of our students. What I object to is using one assessment as the final ruling on the level of success of my students.

What are your feelings on how we assess student achievement? How does your state assess student achievement? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below! 🙂

blog-signature

Author:

Wife, mother, K-8 National Board Certified Teacher, doctoral student and dog lover. Passionate about educational technology, academic innovation, and redesigning the American educational system.

One thought on “Assessments

  1. Hi Melanie,

    It’s really interesting to hear how things work for you. I am a primary teacher in Victoria, Australia so only hear snippets of what happens overseas.

    I enjoyed looking at your work based learning continuum. I had never thought of career readiness beginning in the early years but you’re right!

    About 10 years ago, Australia switched from state based standardized testing to national. Each year, students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are assessed in maths, writing, reading and language conventions. It’s controversial. But that’s a blog post in itself!

    As I’m currently on family leave from the classroom I applied to be an assessor of the writing test component this year. It was a really interesting experience and I got a lot out of doing the training and marking work. Maybe that’s something for all teachers to consider if they get the chance? It’s rich professional development to take a look at the other side of assessment.

    Great to hear from you again,
    Kathleen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s