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Teacher Performance Assessment

Assessment

What kind of student assessment should I choose for the Teaching Event?

You are expected to analyze your students’ thinking and learning in this task, not just whether they know a set of important facts or essential vocabulary terms.  In order to analyze thinking and learning, the assessment you choose should allow the students to demonstrate their thinking in some way.  You probably learn less about what your students are thinking and learning from multiple choice questions or single word response questions than from open-ended questions, writing samples, or other more complex assessments.  For the purposes of the assessment analysis in the Teaching Event, an assessment that allows students to demonstrate their thinking is a more appropriate choice.

The assessment you choose to analyze for the Teaching Event should be tightly linked to the central focus and big ideas, student content standards, and learning objectives for the Teaching Event and provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of those standards and objectives.  For example, if your learning objectives are linked to helping students develop multiple interpretations of a big idea, then avoid an assessment that only allows students to show basic comprehension or use mechanical, and procedural skills.  While choosing the assessment to analyze, ask yourself, does this student work help me understand how and what my students are learning with regard to the standards and objectives of the Learning Segment?  The assessment you choose may be formal or informal, but it needs to resolve and evidence of student learning for each student.

 What are “evaluative criteria”?

Evaluative criteria make clear to the teacher and ideally to the students what features or qualities of the work will be assessed, for example, the accuracy of students responses, quality of the communication, originality or creativity of the students ideas, where the students are in their conceptual development for a particular idea, or the mechanics of doing a task.  Evaluative criteria are often but are not required to be organized within a rubric that identifies the particular feature of the work that will be assessed and the various levels of performance that the teacher might expect from the students. 

For the Teaching Event, the evaluative criteria for the selected assessment should be made explicit to the assessor and ideally the criteria have been made explicit to the students whose work will be judged.  You are asked to analyze the student work samples and to discuss the students’ thinking and understanding with regard to your evaluative criteria.  In order to discuss the variety of student performances, your evaluative criteria cannot be too narrow in scope.  There are certainly times when assessment designs in which evaluating correct responses are necessary and useful to support student learning.  However, for this task, the analysis calls for a more fine-grained analysis and student thinking than can usually be determined by right or wrong responses alone.

How do I analyze the variety of student performances on the assessment?

Keeping your learning objectives and evaluative criteria in mind, describe how your students performed.  You can describe student performances by discussing each evaluative criteria in turn and summarizing the assessment results.  You can also consider particular subgroups of students such as “English learners”, students with special needs, students to think abstractly, students who struggle with writing assignments, or students who organize ideas well, and describe their performances on the Assessment portion.  When reviewing the whole class, you might look for common errors or patterns in the student responses.  Your analysis may reveal partial understandings that students have.  The focus on partial understandings requires seeing through the distraction of errors to allow you to identify what students did understand as well as what they still need to work on.

If I choose to use the summary of student learning chart provided for the Assessment Tasks, how should I use it?

You should decide in advance of giving the assessment what your standard of performance is for the task.  What do you want students to know and be able to do in this Assessment Task?  In other words, what would a solid performance on the assessment look like?  Define the evaluative criteria.  After assessing the class work, note the number of students who met your expected standard for each of the criteria, as well as those whose performance was below the standard and above the standard.  You may not have students in all categories of the chart.  Also, a student performance may vary across criteria, for example, meeting the standard of performance for one criteria and being below or above the standard on others.

Based on the results, you will be able to be specific about the students’ collective performance on the various evaluative criteria for the assessment.  The summary should also help you to be specific about the performance of particular students or groups of students with regard to the learning standards and objectives of the Learning Segment.  When discussing misunderstandings or confusions, you may want to focus in on the students who performed below the standards and identify what they partially understand and what they still need to work on with regard to the learning standards and objectives.

How should I cite evidence from the student work samples?

When discussing the performance of the students you have selected, it is important to make specific references to the work samples you are providing.  The work samples illustrate the evidence that inform your conclusions about what you think the student has understood, what the student needs to improve, and any explanations you my offer about the students’ performance.  You may choose to point the reader to a particular part of the work sample, quote written student work in your response, or identify a set of features that contribute to a holistic analysis of the work sample.  Remember to label the work samples as Student A, Student B, and Student C.

The following example shows how a teaching candidate summarized a student’s performance based on a pre-lab write up in a science class.  This is only an excerpt of the analysis of student performance and should not be considered as a complete analysis.

This sample exhibits Student A’s developing abilities to make predictions and justify them with his understanding of the circulatory system.  He indicates some understanding of the connection between oxygen need and heart rate, and he considers and activity’s effect on oxygen levels in the blood suggesting a logical connection to the heart’s changing pulse rate.  He is more clearly displaying his thinking through words and exhibiting an understanding of cause and effect relationships.  Student A’s writing is still rather minimalist though, and it is unclear why he believes that less oxygen to the heart results in a slower pulse rate.  Again, it is difficult to assess whether he has a logical reasoning for this believe based on a misconception about the circulatory system or whether he simply has a  “gut feeling” about it.

 What does “next steps” mean?

“Next steps” is about planning for the learning needs of this group of students based on the assessment information you have, not what you would do if you were to teach the Learning Segment again, which will be addressed in Reflection of the Teaching Event.  Now that you have analyzed the assessment, think about the information gained.  When asked to discuss the next steps you would take with the students, you should discuss what you would do with the class or, if different, the individual students based on your analysis of the class or individual student performances.  For example, if you discover that some students struggle with one of your big ideas or even with an important and specific question, rather than moving ahead with your initial plans, what kinds of instructional changes or modifications or adjustments should you make in order to better support student learning?  These next steps may include feedback to students, a specific instructional activity, or other forms of re-teaching to support or extend continued learning of objectives, standards and/or the central focus for the Learning Segment.

Assessment: How will my response be scored?

The scoring rubrics for Assessment include guiding questions.  For each question, the assessors will assign a score level. 

How does the candidate demonstrate an understanding of student performance with respect to standards and learning objectives?

The assessors will examine the evaluative criteria and rubric, sample student performances on your selected assessment and your commentary analysis.  Assessors will consider how you analyze student performance in relationship to the learning objectives and evaluative criteria that you provide.  The assessors will also examine how well you analyzed the variety of student performances, with attention to the varying degree of understanding including partial understandings and attention to the patterns in student performance across the whole class and within subgroups.  They will compare your analysis to the relevant student work samples to see how well the samples support your conclusions.

How does the candidate use the analysis of student learning to propose “next steps” in instruction?

The assessors will examine your commentary analysis for your specific strategies for next steps in instruction.  These strategies will be judged based on how well they are aligned with your assessment analysis.  The assessors will assess how your proposal of next steps demonstrate your understanding of your students’ learning needs in relationship to the learning objectives and how they specifically address the needs of individual students, subgroups of students, and any whole class patterns.

Pause for Self-Assessment: Assessment

After you have taught your Learning Segment and completed a draft of your assessment section of the Teaching Event, reflect on your assessment practices by answering the following questions.  You may also want to share your responses with your cooperating teacher.

  • What specific evidence do you draw upon from the assessment to demonstrate student understanding of the learning objectives and standards?
  • What does this evidence specifically tell you about your students’ understandings or partial understandings?
  • Would you have been able to determine the next steps without the assessment analysis that you did?  If not, what specifically did you learn from the assessment that helped you select the next steps?

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