assessment

Seattle Test Boycott: Our Destination Is Not on the MAP

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Author: Jesse Hagopian

Summary: Jesse Hagopian—a high school history teacher in Seattle and founding member of Social Equality Educators—participated in the boycott against Seattle Public School’s mandated Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), along with numerous other teachers in the area. He shares how the boycott was organized and what lessons it holds for those who want to “liberate education from the standardized testing regime.”
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Resources to Help You Plan Civic Literacy Projects

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Author: Nicole Mirra

Summary: Nicole Mirra shares resources she has created while developing Common Core-aligned civic literacy units, combining civic inquiry and academic literacy instruction.
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Making Classroom Writing Assessment More Visible, Equitable, and Portable through Digital Badging

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Author: Stephanie West-Puckett

Summary: Educator Stephanie West-Puckett describes her experience using collaboratively designed digital badges as a networked, contextual, and participatory form of writing assessment in a college first-year writing course. She describes how this “community-based assessment” supported diverse conceptions of writing and prompted critical discussion about what constitutes successful writing, pushing back against narrow definitions of success and deficit approaches often imposed by rubric-based assessments.
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Minimal Marking

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Author: Richard H. Haswell

Summary: The author proposes a simple (and fast) system of marking editing errors on student work—checkmarks in the margin next to the line where an error has occurred. This system presupposes two important principles: 1) the teacher will spend time commenting on more important writing issues; and 2) the students will be given the opportunity to correct errors. The data in the article, although limited to the author’s own students, seems to demonstrate that students do successfully correct most errors and leads to mastery of “threshold errors,” or those for which the student is close to competence. For the teacher, this method allows relegating error marking to a minor role, while still providing effective teaching in editing. The article is useful in any context in which teaching of grammar and correctness is a block to moving onto other issues or in which fast, but effective, formative assessment is a need.
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What Student Writing Teaches Us

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Author: Mark Overmeyer

Summary: In this short video, Mark Overmeyer, co-director of the Denver Writing Project and author of the book What Student Writing Teaches Us poses the question, “If you read student writing closely enough, will the student’s writing teach you what the student needs to know?” A thoughtful overview of the value of watching and listening to young writers in the process of writing, this video could be useful in launching a conversation about the role of formative assessment in the development of student writing.
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Building LRNG Badges: Beyond Graphics

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Author: Paul Allison

Summary: This resource offers access to two in-depth discussions about LRNG playlists and corresponding online assignments/tasks leading to badges that youth receive for their career-based digital work. Teachers in the New York City Writing Project talk through the Badge Builder on LRNG in the first video. In the second, Paul Allison (NYCWP) and Chris Sloan (Wasatch Range WP) talk through the building of an entire set of guidelines and digital tasks based on two photography playlists. This rich task-oriented discussion considers students first and takes educators who want to build such a badging system through the process.
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Overview of the Common Core State Standards Initiatives for ELLs: A TESOL Issue Brief

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Summary: This issue brief, from the TESOL International Association, is an overview of the Common Core State Standards that also outlines some of the initiatives in place to address the needs of English learners (ELs) in relation to the Standards. Excerpts from this resource may be useful in study groups and professional development sessions focused on the needs of English learners, particularly within the contexts of assessment practices and content-area text complexity.
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Book Review: Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessment

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Author: Meg Petersen

Summary: This review describes the work of high school teacher and author Maja Wilson, whose book examines what assessment without rubrics looks like and where it may take us. The sample chapter, “My Troubles with Rubrics,” advises that instead of reviewing student papers based on prescribed categories, we should engage students as fellow thinkers in our respective fields and have them consider the different ways that others might respond to their work. For teachers who are rethinking rubric use or seeking differentiated or better practices for assessment, this would be a useful book for study.
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The Story of SCORE: The Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute Takes on a Statewide Reading Initiative

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Author: Lynette Herring-Harris and Cassandria Hansbrough

Summary: The SCORE monograph (Secondary Content Opening to Reading Excellence) from the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute offers an overview of programming for content area teachers as part of a statewide reading initiative. A useful resource for teacher leaders, the monograph includes a rich description of five days of workshops (p. 14-19) along with timelines (p. 24-25), and agendas (p.26-31) that structured and organized this work.
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Planning for Writing Instruction

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Author: Mark Overmeyer

Summary: In this brief tip from his book, When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working, Mark Overmeyer describes a process of collaborative backward planning that provides a scope and sequence for the year that meets district curriculum requirements, allows for the study of genres connected to various disciplines and units (e.g., research, narrative, memoir, and technical writing), and culminates in a student-generated magazine that draws from strategies learned throughout the year. This would be a useful resource for school-based planning teams as well as for professional development focused on writing workshop and cross-curricular planning and assessment.
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