Category Archives: best practice

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part 4 – “The 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.

(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”

Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part One

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.


I just left a meeting where one of the frustrated participants complained that the state Kansas-Can-blue_white-gold-starassessments “exist in a box.”  She meant that the assessment isn’t really like anything else that a good teacher does in their classroom.  I think most educators would agree. It is more often true that teaching and learning stop as we prepare for the assessment and that neither teaching nor learning is affected in a positive way by the state assessment.

What if that was different?  Continue reading Getting The State Assessment Out Of The Box: Part One

Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started

I’ve got a problem for you to solve. So go find your thinking cap.

Ready?

Here’s the problem. In 60 seconds, list all the ways that reading fiction is good for you.

And . . . go. (Feel free to Google it. I’m okay with that.)

Ready to compare lists?

Reading:

Fiction can expand our view of both ourselves and others:

The humanities interrogate us. They challenge our sense of who we are, even of who our brothers and sisters might be.

“It could have been me” is the threshold for the vistas that literature and art make available to us . . . education is not about memorizing poems or knowing when X wrote Y, and what Z had to say about it. It is, instead, about the human record that is available to us in libraries and museums and theaters and online. But that record lives and breathes; it is not calculable or teachable via numbers or bullet points. Instead, it requires something that we never fail to do before buying clothes: Trying the garment on.

Art and literature are tried on. Reading a book, seeing a painting or a play or a film: Such encounters are fueled by affect as well as intelligence. Much “fleshing out” happens here: We invest the art with our own feelings, but the art comes to live inside us, adding to our own repertoire. Art obliges us to “first-personalize” the world. Our commerce with art makes us fellow travelers: to other cultures, other values, other selves.

So what’s our conclusion? Continue reading Reading fiction is good for your students. Shocker. 21 lists to get you started