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Teacher Performance Assessment

Planning

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How do I select the central focus for big ideas, student content standards, and learning objectives for the Teaching Event?

The Learning Segment selected for the Teaching Event is defined by a central instructional focus.  To have a central focus, the standards, learning objectives, learning tasks, and assessments should be related to an identifiable theme, essential question, or topic within the curriculum.  The central focus of the Learning Segment that you select to take into account prior assessment of your students and knowledge of your students’ development, backgrounds, interests, and learning levels that might further influence your students’ thinking and learning.

In identifying the central focus of the Learning Segment, you should also consider various dimensions of knowledge that you expect your students to learn.  In every content area, different types of knowledge constitute dimensions of the curriculum.  These include more basic types of knowledge such as fax, skills, and conventions, and higher-order knowledge or thinking skills such as strategies for interpreting or reasoning from facts are evidence, synthesizing ideas, strategies for evaluating work.  You will want to seek a balance of these dimensions of knowledge in your planning.

How should I select the appropriate state student content standards for my Teaching Event?

You are asked to identify the state student content standards that you are addressing in the Learning Segment.  Many student contact standards will be somewhat related to student learning tasks within the Learning Segment.  However, only a few will be strongly represented in the Learning Segment and be the focus of instruction as well.  Only list the student standards that represent the student learning would you expect to improve during the Learning Segment.

Why is attention to my students’ backgrounds, interests, and needs important when planning my lessons?

You are expected to plan your lessons with consideration of your students’ backgrounds, interests, and needs.  See Planning Commentary Question 3.  In other words, your instruction and assessment plans should be tailored to those students in your classroom and not planned generically.  Most classrooms are it heterogeneous mix of students who have a variety of backgrounds, language proficiencies, learning needs, and interest.  Planning for student learning then requires the teacher to take these aspects of their students into consideration.  In your Teaching Event, you should be specific about how your knowledge of your students informed the lesson plans, such as the choice of text or materials used in the lesson, how groups were formed or structured, using student learning or experiences in or out of school as a result resource, or structuring new learning to take advantage of specific student strengths.

Many teachers plan lessons that are from published curriculum guides or that have become standard to teach in a particular school or department.  If this is the case, your plans should also reflect how you selected curriculum materials with your students’ backgrounds and needs in mind, how you adapted a lesson to meet your students’ learning needs, or how you made accommodations for particular students to allow them access to the selected curricular materials.  As you think were deeply about addressing your students’ backgrounds, interests, and needs when planning your lessons, you may choose to differentiate instruction, or plan for instruction to address the different student needs.  You may plan to address multiple needs simultaneously with scaffolding techniques or additional support for students who need it.

What kinds of assessments should I plan for the Teaching Event?

The assessments for your selected Learning Segment should be aligned with both your central focus and big ideas and with student standards they should provide opportunities for students to show some depth of understanding with respect to your learning objectives.  In designing and planning for assessments, you should be sure to consider both productive and respected ways of monitoring student understanding.  Productive ways include speaking, writing, drawing, and so forth.  Receptive ways include listening, reading, viewing, and so forth.  It is essential that the criteria you create evaluates student work that is also connected to the central focus in big ideas, student content standards, and learning objectives of the Learning Segment.

You will plan for both formal and informal assessments during the Learning Segment. Formal assessments usually require students to produce a product or complete a specific task that will be evaluated.  These are typically structured and students know they are being assessed.  Informal assessments are typically conducted by the teacher as part of ongoing instruction in the classroom, through discussions and consultations with students.  Informal assessments typically allow the teacher to collect information quickly and efficiently to guide immediate next steps of instruction.

When discussing your assessment plans, whether formal or informal, you should be clear about the criteria you are looking for in the student performance.  For example, if the informal assessment is the question small groups while they are engaged in a planned activity, you should know what you are listening for in the student conversation and responses with respect to the learning goals for the lesson.  Remember that your assessments can be modified as you progress through the Teaching Event.  You are expected to reflect during and after each lesson then take the assessment information you are collecting from your students into account for planning or modifying your plans for the next steps of instruction.

What role do daily reflections play in my teaching and in the Teaching Event?

The expectation is that you reflect on your student progress for the learning objectives you have set and that you make appropriate adjustments to your planned instruction to help move them forward for those learning objectives.  While we understand that you may create the plans for your Learning Segment in advance, the daily reflections are meant to provide you with the opportunities to formatively assess what is happening in the teaching and learning interactions on a daily basis so you can make adjustments as you go.

The daily reflections are likely to be more meaningful to your teaching and your planning process if you complete them the same day that the lesson is taught.  When completed the same day of the lesson, reflections can inform how you will teach the next lesson.  Therefore, it is important to write reflections as soon as possible after each lesson.  Your reflections do not have to be in a polished essay format.  You can respond to the reflection prompts in the form of notes of what you observed, explanations of what you observed, or questions to be explored.  The reflections should include enough detail about what you observed in your conclusions or questions to show that you are attempting to understand what and how students are learning and how that learning connects to your instructional strategies.

Planning: How will my response be scored?

Guiding questions identify what assessors consider to be the most critical dimensions to be scored for each task.  The scoring rubrics for Planning include guiding questions.  For each question, the assessors will assign a score level.  Please refer to the Teaching Event rubrics for a full description of the scoring criteria.

How do the plans structure student learning of the discipline- specific focus of the Learning Segment?

The assessors will examine your lesson planning and your planned assessment strategies.  Assessors will evaluate how your planning addresses the multiple dimensions of your content area in relation to your central focus.  Assessors will also judge the degree to which the lessons, learning tasks, and assessment you plan are designed to progressively build understanding of the central focus of the Learning Segment.  They will take into account the sequencing of the learning task, the conceptual development represented, and the links that are made between learning facts, conventions, or skills and comprehension, reasoning, or problem solving.

How do the plans make the curriculum accessible to the students in the class?

The assessors will examine your curriculum planning in light of your description of the learning context, including your knowledge of your students and the summary of important factors related to your student learning.  As they judge how you have made the curriculum accessible to the students in your particular class, the assessors will look at the accuracy of the content of your lessons and how your planning reflects your knowledge of your students experiential backgrounds, prior knowledge, and learning needs.

What opportunities do students have to demonstrate their understanding of the standards and learning objectives?

The assessors will examine your lesson planning and your planned assessment strategies.  The assessors will focus on several dimensions: 1) the match between your learning objectives, your instruction, and the planned assessments.  Are you assessing students on the identified objectives?  Have students had an opportunity to learn what is assessed?  2) the depth of understanding or skill with respect to the standards and learning objectives that students are expected to demonstrate on the assessments;  3) they use  productive and receptive modalities to determine student understanding;  4) accommodations for special needs students.

Pause for Self-Assessment: Planning

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

  • How does your knowledge of your students’ learning and development strengths and needs specifically connect to your planning for instruction and assessment?
  • Looking across the variety of assessments that you included in your Learning Segment plan, what learning objectives were you assessing in each of the assessments?  How well do your assessments align with the learning objectives you set for the Learning Segment?
  • What features of your instructional practice you discussing your daily reflections?  How do your daily reflections show your attention to student learning and their progress for the learning objective you set for them?

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