Monday, October 19, 2009

Rick Wormeli: Formative Assessment and Feedback Part 2

In the second half of Wormeli's talk, we began looking at a definition of mastery. He argued that mastery requires nuance, and that their are multiple levels (Introductory and Sophisticated)
"Anyone can repeat information, it's the masterful student who can
break content into it's component pieces, explain it, and alternative
perspectives regarding it cogently to others, and use it purposefully in new situations."

He suggests that defining mastery would be a very productive team/department meeting. You must be able to define these before developing assessments.
Wormeli, who works with college professors on assessment, used examples from "Teaching the Large College Class", by Heppner to demonstrate "What we are really trying to assess?" At the post secondary level, assessments are being created and graded not by the professors, but of others, to filter out subjectivity. This will be moving to K-12.
We then moved into discussion of Differentiated Lesson Planning with steps to take:

Prior to designing the learning experience:
  1. Identify essential learnings (This may take weeks.)
  2. Identify your students with unique needs
  3. Design formative and summative assessments
  4. Design and deliver your pre-assessments based on summative assessments and objectives
  5. Adjust assessments and objectives based on further thinking.

While designing learning experiences:

  1. Design the learning experiences with all of your expertise as an educator brought to bear.
  2. Mentally run through the lesson sequence with the diverse students in your class in mind.
  3. Review your plans with a colleague.
  4. Obtain the materials needed for the lesson.
  5. Conduct the lesson.
  6. Adjust formative and summative assessments based on your experience teaching the lesson.

Steps to take after providing the learning experiences:

  1. Evaluate the lesson's success with students.
  2. Record advice on lesson changes for use in future years.

Colleges are screaming at K-12 because over a third of kids are retaking classes over due to lack of understanding.

Many of his ideas align very will with Understanding by Design.

Final Thoughts:

  • Don't take time to assess unless you will take action on what you discover.
  • Is homework formative or summative in nature? Wormeli thinks it should be worth 0.
  • If a student does no homework, but aces every summative assessment, should they get an A?
  • If a student does all the homework, but doesn't do well on all summative assessment, isn't that a red flag as well?
  • Grades should be against standards not the route students or teachers take to get there.
  • Assessment OF Learning-Not a lot of feedback
  • Assessment AS/FOR Learning (Manitoba is using this.) Tons of feedback, lots of opportunities for student reflection.
  • Manitoba's Communicating Student Learning-Includes bennefits of student self-assessment.
  • Look for gradebooks that graphically represent student learning
  • Stop editing student work, put a code that represents it needs attention.
  • Write your objectives at the top of assessments with the assessment of each of those objectives.
  • He then shared several methods of formative assessment. This site has many he mentioned.
  • Great differentiated instruction is NEVER kept in the dark.
  • Successful assessment is authentic in 2 ways: Authentic to the real-world and Authentic to how the students are Learning (This is Mandatory).
  • Giving students the test ahead of time (At the beginning)
  • Portfolios with reflection are the most accurate pieces of assessment in the world.
  • There is no such thing as a perfect rubric.
  • Only give the fully written description for the standard of excellence (5.0).
  • 4.0 rubrics carry too much emotional baggage to be worth using.
  • Students will rally around the excellence.
  • Designing test questions: long on left, short on right.

Wormeli closed with a "Steve Martin" type explanation of video from "The Sound of Music" to demonstrate the goal, pre-assessment, ownership, "say-do", big picture, connected to personal lives, visual imagery, modalities and formative assessment, kinesthetics, natural learning environment, passion, contextural, complexity, tiering, meaning, engagement, and interdisciplinary teaching.

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