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The Kindergarten Missing Puppy Caper! November 6, 2012

Filed under: Standard 5. Assessment — lktaylor @ 7:21 am
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My artifact for this week relates to the development and delivery of a performance assessment that supports two of our kindergarten writing targets:

  • Demonstrates sound-letter correspondence
  • Writes for a specific purpose

I told students that a very special member of our classroom, our stuffed dog “Pip”, is missing and I asked them what we could do to get help in finding him.  The students were guided to come up with the idea of making posters to put around the school to see if anyone has seen him. We searched online for samples of other posters for missing items and determined that our posters needed a picture, words that described what our problem was, a description of what he looks like, and who is looking for him. Students were given the choice of several different paper choices, one that had space for words above and below the picture, one that had space for words above the picture only, and another that had space for words below the picture. They were then sent on their way to create their posters.

Chappuis, et al. (2012, pp. 211 – 218) describe three critical dimensions pertaining to a well-constructed performance assessment.  These dimensions are task content, task structure, and sampling. As I considered task content I defined the learning targets (listed above) that would be measured through this assessment. I also wanted to allow for authenticity. Students were motivated to write and create these posters in order to locate our beloved Pip. Their writing had a specific purpose. Additionally, I incorporated student choice as they decided which layout they wanted to use for their poster.

This performance assessment addressed task structure (Chappuis, et al., 2012, pp. 213-216) as well. Students were aware of what they needed to accomplish – that is to provide other members of the school enough information to enable them to help find Pip the Dog. The timeline for completion was reasonable and accounted for the wide range of abilities in the class. Students who finished early knew to go to a quiet reading activity. Additional time was given later in the day in order to accommodate students who needed more time.

This writing assessment was formative and is intended to give information that will guide further instruction. Adequate sampling (Chappuis, et al., 2012, pp. 216 – 218) is accounted for as it allows students to demonstrate evidence that covers the breadth of the two learning targets. This assessment lends itself well to display sound-letter correspondence as well as adherence to a specific purpose.

A Performance Assessment Rubric was developed to evaluate whether or not students met the learning targets. Both of the above listed targets will be scored individually according to the rubric descriptors. A score of 1 through 4 will be assigned with 4 indicating the highest level of mastery.

Below are samples of student work as well as the score assigned.

Student #1

  • Scored a 3 for Writes for a specific purpose  because she included 3 of the poster components: a picture, a statement of the problem (“Pip is lost”), and who is looking for him (Miss Gale’s class).
  • Scored a 4 for Demonstrates sound-letter correspondence – Beginning, ending and middle sounds are represented and it can be easily read by the teacher.

Student #2

  • Scored a 2 for Writes for a specific purpose  because two of the poster components are included: a picture and a statement of the problem (“Pip is lost”).
  • Scored a 2 for Demonstrates sound-letter correspondence because much support was needed to get “Pip is lost.” on his paper.  Also, he happily admitted that he copied the bottom (illegible) portion of the text and didn’t know what it said.

Student #3

  • Scored a 4 for Writes for a specific purpose  because he included all four poster components and added one of his own, the date the dog was missing.
  • Scored a 4 for Demonstrates sound-letter correspondence.

I was pleased with the information that this assessment offered as it allows me to plan instruction accordingly. To improve on this assessment for next time I will clearly tell the students the criteria, in student friendly language, which I will be using to assign a score to their writing. Ideally, I imagine that this could even be incorporated into a student self-assessment activity… Food for thought.

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.

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