This week we spent time focusing on appropriate assessment methods for each of the target types discussed in module 2 (Chappuis, 2012, p. 93-96). Such methods include selected response, written response, performance assessment, and personal communication. Chappuis (2012, p. 91-92) indicates that personal communication- such as questioning during instruction, observing student participation, or student conferencing – is a strong assessment method when measuring knowledge and reasoning targets. This information was of particular interest to me because as I analyze our district writing targets I see that they are primarily knowledge targets. Often times in kindergarten, it is only through conferencing that a teacher can truly assess where a student is in relation to writing targets. If a student is not writing sentences yet then progress towards a writing target such as “Connects story content to a prompt” can be difficult to determine. This module has made me aware that anecdotal note taking and journaling is a powerful formative assessment tool.
Chappius (2012, pp. 105-106) states that if assessment data is to be used formatively, then certain conditions must be present: 1.The assessment should be aligned with content standards. 2. Assessment tasks must match what has been or will be taught. 3. The assessment must bring forth specific misunderstandings or problems so that they can be addressed. 4. Results are available in a timely manner in order to act on them. 5. Actions are, indeed, taken.
I recently had an opportunity to participate in a collaborative team effort to improve our formative writing assessment practices in kindergarten. My reading and discussions pertaining to this module were fresh in my mind so I was able to apply this new information, particularly the formative assessment conditions mentioned in the previous paragraph, directly to this task. In our team meeting we were discussing student-teacher writing conferences and decided we needed a system by which we could track each student’s progress towards Winter and Spring writing targets. We reviewed a writing goal checklist that was in use by another teacher: Checklist #1 We discussed how this would be a simple and effective way to track our assessment observations but we wanted the writing goals to be more aligned with our district writing standards as well as better support our district writing summative assessment rubric(formative assessment condition #1 and #2) . We also wanted to track learning targets that reflect higher level goals that will be in place later in the year. We came up with a Writing Goals Checklist that fits our needs. This checklist will track which students are mastering the learning targets as well as specify which targets are giving students trouble (formative assessment condition #3). Our writing conferences occur on a daily basis so assessment results are available in a timely manner. This allows us to take action and offer support as the student needs it (formative assessment condition #4 and #5).
Chappuis, J., Stiggins, R., Chappuis, S., & Arter, J. (2012). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right, using it well. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.