Category Archives: assessment

Let’s talk rubrics

Jill Weber is a middle school teacher in Cheney, Kansas and former Gilder Lehrman Kansas History Teacher of the Year.

Today? She talks rubrics.

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One thing I love about the teaching profession is that we are always constantly learning, growing, trying new things . . . all in the process of becoming better. This is true whether it’s your first year and you’re improving from the first month of school to the second. And it’s true if you’re a veteran teacher who decides to try something different to “shake things up.” There is always an opportunity to learn and improve.

One thing I am learning more and more as I keep going is how important it is to have clear expectations. Now, it’s not that I didn’t know that I needed that when I started but I keep learning that what I think is “clear” doesn’t necessarily translate that way to my 7th and 8th grade students. I find that they ALWAYS do better when I am as simply specific as possible with my expectations.

Don’t let that fool you. I didn’t say I lower my expectations.

I simplify my explanation of the expectations so that it is as clear as possible.

I am constantly getting better at this.

And one of my favorite examples is with my rubrics.

I am a FIRM believer in having rubrics to score students on. Nothing is more frustrating for a student to receive a score on a project or assignment and not have a clear picture as to why they were given that score. So when I’m making and using rubrics in my classroom, I’m always keeping in mind this #1 major rule . . .

Continue reading Let’s talk rubrics

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 4 – “The Classroom Based State Assessment”

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Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.

(This is the final installment of a four part series. Get Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.)


Commissioner Randy Watson has approved a project to bring the History, Government, and Social Studies state assessment out of the box and to embed the state assessment into what good teachers are doing in their classrooms every day.  

This is an ambitious undertaking and a bit frightful but in the KSDE spirit of redesign and the moon shot goal of “leading the world in the success of each student,” we’re moving forward. We have already enlisted more than 30 educators to help us through this difficult work. (If you are interested in helping with this process, e-mail me.)  

We’ve been working on performance level descriptions (PLDs) which describe what a student should know and be able to do at the end of elementary, middle, and high school. We have just started to work on rigorous task rubrics for the assessment and will begin soon to write sample tasks. The goal will be to pilot the sample tasks this semester so that we will have examples, student work, and exemplars for scoring available for teachers.  

What will the assessment work?  Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 4 – “The Classroom Based State Assessment”

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 3 – “The Quality of Classroom Based State Assessment”

gifford

Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.


So in Part One, we recognized that the state HGSS assessment wasn’t aligned with good instruction and in Part Two, we identified that the feedback came too late to inform that instruction.

In Part One, we imagined an assessment that was aligned to the instructional strategies already being employed in good social studies classrooms.  What if we took what teachers were already doing and made those rigorous lessons work as the state HGSS assessment? In Part Two, we talked about how the state HGSS assessment could be used by teachers and students to actually inform teaching and learning. In Part Three, Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 3 – “The Quality of Classroom Based State Assessment”

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 2 – “The Use of Classroom Based State Assessment”

gifford

Today’s guest post is from Don Gifford. Don is the Education Program Consultant for History/Government, Social Studies, and Career Standards and Assessment Services for the Kansas State Department of Education.


So in Part One, we suggested that the current HGSS assessment is different than anything that good teachers do in the classroom.  We implied that in many cases learning stops for two days while we take the assessment, and that schools, teachers, or students gain little from the assessment or its results. Also we imagined a different kind of state assessment, one based in the classroom where teachers and student could collaborate on what the assessment looks like.

In Part Two, we will be talking about how a classroom based state assessment might be used. Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 2 – “The Use of Classroom Based State Assessment”