Finding the Balance

Learning and Assessing in KCS

Winter 2014

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Assessing Student Mastery through Cumulative Benchmark Assessments

Some have expressed concern that the district-wide benchmarks are assessing standards that have yet to be addressed in the classroom. Prior to adopting Discovery Education Assessments KCS designed our benchmarks to assess the standards that had been addressed during each quarter using SchoolNet, ClassScape and other locally developed assessments. This allowed us to examine the standards that had been addressed during the quarter and student mastery of the content taught. However, as principals throughout the district have observed high quality, ongoing assessment occurring in classrooms for formative and grading purposes the leadership felt that these standards-based benchmark assessments were providing redundant data.

The purpose of the DE benchmarks is to give us data about student mastery of the curriculum as a whole. These cumulative benchmarks allow us to gain insight about content that students may already grasp despite not having received instruction for that standard. This allows us to efficiently and proactively customize instruction. They give us an indicator of student growth which allows us to make data-driven decisions to target students or subgroups and allocate our resources appropriately. Standards based benchmark assessments, nor standards based formative assessments can provide this type of data.

As a result, we analyze cumulative benchmark assessments differently than we would analyze standards based benchmark assessments. We do not look at student "proficiency". Rather, we compare results from one benchmark to the next. We examine the results determine the effectiveness of various programs and strategies throughout the district. Lastly, when we have multiple years of DE assessments we will compare how our students perform from one year to the next.

Below are various analysis protocol documents that are used at the district, school and classroom level to analyze the Discovery Education Assessments.

Data Guru Meetings

Instructional coaches, administrators and teacher leaders within your building attended Data Guru meeting last month. At this meeting we examined EOG Goal Summaries, data from the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), identified "sister schools" with comparable student populations for comparison purposes, and explored Discovery Education tools.

At our upcoming meeting on November 20th the Data Gurus will focus on Discovery Ed growth reports and Progress Zone. Participants will drill down through a variety of assessment reports to identify positive trends and areas of potential growth. An introduction to Progress Zone will give participants the power to create formative assessments to check for students' understanding across subject areas. An example of media-rich instructional strategy will be shared to increase engagement and rigor. Time will be allotted for action planning and next steps. Gurus will then expected to share the information with teachers and leaders in their school.

If you would like to learn more about the resources that are shared at Data Guru meetings please speak with the instructional coach(es) at your school or contact the Accountability Office.

Increasing Instructional and Assessment Rigor in KCS

As we prepare our students to be college and career ready we must be sure to have high levels of rigor in each classroom. The careers that our students are going to pursue will require strong thinking and problem solving skills so we must challenge our students to think creatively and constructively. Mrs. Deanna D'Addezio, Mrs. Susan Drye and Mr. Kevin Taylor, teachers and assistant principal at A.L. Brown, conducted professional development during planning periods to give teachers ways to increase rigor in their questioning and assignments without increasing the quantity of work for students or teachers.

Please click on this link for the presentation. The presentation also contains helpful information for parents and teachers regarding the ACT assessment.