It is hard to speak to parents and teachers about the education system today without talking about assessment and accountability. Education and assessment have been inextricably linked with one another since the release of the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2001. Despite how many feel about the increased testing measures our students go through, assessment in and of itself is not the enemy. When done well and done frequently, assessment drives instruction and helps teachers put the student and their learning needs front and center. This week was spent analyzing and reflecting with colleagues on a recent summative assessment that was administered to students. Through collaborative efforts, my Gifted Lead and I were able to critique the assessments currently being used for algebraic thinking and discern if they are working for the benefit of our students and ourselves.
The gifted math curriculum in my district uses the Hands-On Equation program, written by Dr. Borenson, to teach algebra to students in the second through fifth grades. Our district has provided us with common assessments to use as students move through the twenty-six levels of the program. The curriculum is not lock-step and children progress at their own pace. My colleague and I use diagnostic and formative assessments to help us create our compacting groups. Compacting helps individualize instruction for our students. We recently administered a posttest based on their last successful level. We used data from their classwork to determine these levels. I currently teach all students on level one (beginners) through level ten. For this reflection, I am using the results of my highest group, level ten, in order to determine what s...
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...ed to be dreaded and feared terms in the field of education. Since “testing will always be a part of the assessment and evaluation of students” (Van de Walle et al., 2013, p. 87), teachers can leverage the power of these two words to their advantage and begin to look for ways to “make student learning visible and thereby help students grow” (Van de Walle et al., 2013; Hattie, 2009, p. 173). Highly effective teachers should know where there students are in their learning and where they need to go next to continue progressing forward. The best way to do this is through consistent use of assessments in the classroom and reflective analysis with colleagues. These practices allow effective teachers to “monitor student progress, make instructional decisions, evaluate student achievement, and the effectiveness of the programs we use” (Van de Walle et al., 2013, p. 79-80).
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