5. Assessing Learning

Chapter 5 Assessing Learning

Essential Questions

How do you know what to assess?
What technologies help make formative and summative assessments more effective and efficient?
How is the performance of teachers assessed?
How is the performance of schools assessed?


Log into the OneNote Class Notebook for your section to access the Peer Team Teaching Planning Guide for this week.

Learning Standards: Frameworks for Learning

There are a multitude of standards that give you a framework for knowing what your students are responsible for learning and guide you in assessing their learning. First, let’s look at two frameworks revealing what students should know and be able to do in relation to technology: the ISTE Educational Technology Standards for Students (ISTE-S), the 21st Century Skills, and the Common Core.

Standards: http://www.iste.org/docs/Standards-Resources/iste-standards_students-2016_one-sheet_final.pdf?sfvrsn=0.23432948779836327

Framework Definitions: http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/P21_Framework_Definitions.pdf
Self-Assessment of 21st Century Skills: http://mileguide.p21.org/
The Mile Guide: Milestones for Improving Teaching and Learninghttp://p21.org/storage/documents/MILE_Guide_091101.pdf

Common Core Standards:
http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/A large majority of states have adopted the Common Core standards, and most are integrating them into existing state standards. Oklahoma is undertaking a rewrite of Academic Standards, having previously integrated CCSS into the previously-used Oklahoma Academic Standards but recent legislative actions have put the future of academic standards in Oklahoma in limbo–it’s a good lesson in keeping current with legislation that impacts education and educators!Finally, here is how you know what you are expected to teach in different subjects at different grade levels in Oklahoma schools: Access the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) at http://ok.gov/sde/oklahoma-academic-standards. You will become very familiar with these throughout your coursework!

Above and Beyond is a short digital story created through collaboration by members of Partnership for 21st Century Skills and FableVision. The story reflects the 21st Century Skills by showing what is possible when communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity (often referred to as the 4Cs) take center stage in schools and transform learning opportunities for all kids.

Formative and Summative Assessments Using Technology

Formative and summative assessments are both used to determine how well students are performing. Formative assessment is ongoing and provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning. It gives important feedback to students letting them know they are on the right track and helps the teacher determine whether students are ready to move on to the next task. Summative assessment is more of a singular event at the end an instructional unit or module. The get the full picture of how well students are performing and whether or how instruction needs to be adjusted, a teacher needs both formative and summative assessments. Thoroughly read 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom to get some fresh ideas for assessment strategies. This website offers examples of both types of assessment strategies: http://differentiatedstrategies.wikispaces.com/Differentiated+Strategies+for+Assessment.

Fair Assessment of Student Learning

It is critical to assess your students’ learning in a fair manner. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2008, p. 1) offers seven items that will help teachers make sure they are being fair:

  1. Have clearly stated learning outcomes and share them with your students, so they know what you expect from them. Help them understand what your most important goals are (detailed in a rubric you will use to assess their research project).
  2. Match your assessment to what you teach and vice versa. If you expect your students to demonstrate good writing skills, explain how you define good writing, and help students develop their skills.
  3. Use many different measures and many different kinds of measures. We know that students learn and demonstrate their learning in many different ways. Some learn best by reading and writing, others through collaboration with peers, others through listening, creating a schema or design, or hands-on practice, so give your students a variety of ways to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
  4. Help students learn how to do the assessment task. No matter what kind of assessment you are planning, at least some of your students will need your help in learning the skills needed to succeed on that assessment.
  5. Engage and encourage your students. Engaging students in building the assessment can be encouraging to them. For example, when you introduce them to the rubric, ask them if they think it’s missing anything or if they would like to have something else to be measured.
  6. Interpret assessment results appropriately. Suskie (2000) notes that it is “often most appropriate to base a judgement on a standard: Did the student present compelling evidence? summarize accurately? make justifiable inferences? At other times, it may be appropriate to consider growth as well. Does the student who once hated medieval art now love it, even though she can’t always remember names and dates? Does another student, once incapable of writing a coherent argument, now do so passably, even if his performance is not yet up to your usual standards?” (p. 3).
  7. Evaluate the outcomes of your assessments. Suskie (2000) adds “if your students don’t do well on a particular assessment, ask them why. Sometimes your question or prompt isn’t clear; sometimes you may find that you simply didn’t teach a concept well. Revise your assessment tools, your pedagogy, or both, and your assessments are bound to be fairer the next time that you use them” (p. 3).

Part 2: Digital Portfolios and Deconstructing Standards

Digital portfolios can be an effective way for students and teachers to document their learning experiences. Experts distinguish 3 different types of digital or electronic portfolios that are currently in use:

  • Online assessment systems where students place artifacts in an institutionally designed template
  • A “print-loaded” portfolio that takes a paper text and displays electronically
  • A portfolio that uses text boxes, hyperlinking, visuals, audio texts and design elements to convey a teacher’s materials.

Read more about digital portfolios as a learning technology here

Types of Portfolio Assessments

There are two basic “families” of portfolios: growth and best work. A “growth” portfolio shows the learner’s journey of acquiring knowledge and skills. Your professional education portfolio is an example of this. A “best work” portfolio exhibits only the learner’s very best work. This type of portfolio is one you would want to display for a potential employer. The chart below shows these two types, using “Learning & Collaboration” to describe the growth portfolio and “Showcasing Achievement” for the best work portfolio.

external image Balancing.jpg

When using portfolios, students choose which artifacts best represent their ability to meet the standards, thus the portfolio process can be a democratic one. Choosing an artifact as evidence that you have met a specific standard is probably the hardest part of putting together your portfolio. The section below will walk you through a very critical skill that will be invaluable as you do your own work and when you are teaching your own students.

Deconstructing Standards

Here’s a video explaining the activity we’ll be doing in class:

Standards can often be difficult to turn into practical plans for teaching and learning, but they are extremely important because they let the learner know what the target is. In this class, our learning target is to master the ISTE-T standards. These standards tell us what every teacher should know and be able to do in relation to educational technology, so they are very important!

Deconstructing, or unpacking, standards is a process educators undertake to clarify exactly what is meant by a standard. There are actually four types of “targets” we can see in learning standards:

  • Knowledge Targets-The facts and concepts we want students to know. Knowledge targets represent the factual underpinnings in each discipline. They are often stated using verbs such as knows, lists, names, identifies, and recalls. Ex. Know multiplication facts to 10
  • Reasoning Targets-Students use knowledge and understanding to reason and solve problems. Reasoning targets represent mental processes such as predicts, infers, classifies, hypothesizes, compares, concludes, summarizes, analyzes, evaluates, and generalizes.
  • Process/Skill Targets-Students use their knowledge and reasoning to act skillfully. Process/skill targets refer to those performances that must be demonstrated and observed, heard or seen, to be assessed. Knowledge targets always precede skill targets. Process/skill targets are also evidenced by the process being the most important aspect. Ex. Oral fluency in reading, driving with skill, playing a musical instrument.
  • Product Targets– Students use their knowledge, reasoning, and skills to create a concrete product such as “creates tables, graphs, scatter plots, and box plots to display data, notates music, or creates a personal wellness plan.”

Here are the steps to deconstructing, or unpacking a learning standard:
1. Select standard or objective to unpack.

  • Highlight all of the verbs in the standard in red (circling or underlining works too)
  • Highlight all of the nouns in the standard in green

2. Look at the verbs and determine what type of target the standard represents:

  • Knowledge
  • Patterns of reasoning
  • Skills
  • Products

3. Use the nouns with the verbs to write understandable learning targets.

  • What targets are in this standard?
  • What key vocabulary do students need to know?
  • What key understandings do students need to have?

4. Stop and Reflect

  • Are all of the knowledge, reasoning, skills and products that students need to be successful listed? What else do students need to know, understand or be able to do to master this standard?

5. Write each target in student friendly “I Can,” “We Will,” or “I Will” language.

Let’s try an example. The ISTE Standards-T standard 5.b. below is “Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.” Here it is with the verbs in red text and the nouns in green text:

Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others.

This standard contains four targets:

  1. Exhibit leadership – This is a process/skill target because leadership must be observed or demonstrated to be assessed
  2. Demonstrate a vision of technology infusion – Having a vision for technology infusion assumes that the learner has knowledge of technology infusion, but it is also asking for the learner to demonstrate that vision, which is a process/skill target.
  3. Participate in shared decision making and community building – “Participate” and “community building” indicates a process/skill target, but note that a reasoning target is evident in “shared decision making.”
  4. Developing the leadership and technology skills of others – This is a process/skill target (developing leadership of others) that relies on a knowledge target (technology skills).

Our final step is to clarify these further, adding some specific information to help you see exactly how this standard “fits” this chapter content and the activities we will be undertaking in this course:

  • We will demonstrate a vision of technology integration/infusion when we create individual lesson plans for our content area and grade level.
  • Strong technology-infused lesson plans help us exhibit leadership as a teacher who knows current practices, tools, and instructional strategies.
  • We will participate in shared decision making and community building as we work in Peer Teaching Teams to plan and deliver lessons.
  • We will participate in developing the leadership and technology skills of others as we actively engage each week in class and with online resources.
  • We will participate in community building as we curate technology resources to be shared via social media long after we complete this class.

Compare these bullet points to the standard above with red and green text. Don’t the standards make more sense when you deconstruct, or unpack, them? This is a very important skill you need to master as a teacher. This worksheet will help as we get to know the ISTE Standards-T,ISTE Standards-S, and Oklahoma Academic Standards in this course: Making Sense of Standards

ISTE Standards-T

2. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

  1. Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the ISTE·S.
    1. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
    2. Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress
    3. Customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources
    4. Provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching

5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

  1. Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.
    1. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
    2. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
    3. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats
    4. Contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community

Assessment of Teacher Performance

Teacher Leadership Effectiveness (TLE) oversees Oklahoma’s new teacher/leader evaluation system that is used to inform instruction, create professional development opportunities, and improve both the practice and art of teaching and leading.

Assessment of District and School Performance

Key Terms


Examples of P-12 Student Portfolios https://sites.google.com/site/k12eportfolios/resources/examples-of-online-portfolios
Socrative http://www.socrative.com
Rubistar http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
TestMoz https://testmoz.com/
Kathy Schrock’s Assessment and Rubrics page http://www.schrockguide.net/assessment-and-rubrics.html
Oklahoma State Department of Education – http://ok.gov/sde/
OSDE – A-F Report Card FAQ – https://sdeweb01.sde.ok.gov/Transparency/Docs/AfReportCardFaq.pdf
TLE Introduction Video – http://vimeo.com/57015306

Suskie, L. (2000). Fair assessment practices: Giving students equitable opportunities to demonstrate learning. In AAHE Bulletin: Fair Assessment Practices, (May 2000). http://uncw.edu/cas/documents/FairAssessmentPractices_Suskie.pdf

Common Core standards written in “kid friendly” language (“I Can” statements for K-12 English Language Arts) http://www.nassauboces.org/cms/lib8/NY01928409/Centricity/Domain/319/7thGradeLearningTargets.pdf

Professional Education Portfolio Specialist, 325G Willard
Ms. Kathy Thomas, kathy.thomas@okstate.edu or 405.744.2247
Create a LiveText (http://livetext.com) document containing artifacts from this class. Use the Oklahoma State University portfolio template “EDTC 3123 Course Portfolio”
Begin your professional portfolio for certification (http://education.okstate.edu/portfolio)

Professional education requirements as set forth by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP).


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