Each new school year is a time of hope – this year will be the best year ever! Taking the time to create an assessment plan will help you make this hope a reality. This blog post is part two in a series of five designed to take you through the process of building an assessment plan for the beginning of the year.

  1. Step One – Beginning with the end in mind.
  2. Step Two – Preparing to evaluate by considering evidence of learning (this post)
  3. Step Three – Planning to collect baseline evidence of learning
  4. Step Four – Planning to involve students in the collection of evidence
  5. Step Five – Planning to have students working harder than you are 

It is often said that “we evaluate what we value.” This is too important to be left to chance. The second step in getting ready for the new school year is to plan the evaluation process. This involves looking at the learning destination and considering what needs to be VALUED.

We must think through possible evidence to ensure that valid evidence of learning is actually collected. In order to do this, we must begin with the end in mind.

Once the learning destination is clear then it is time to start planning to collect valid and reliable evidence of learning. Teachers ensure that they collect the best evidence of learning through a process called triangulation. This means collecting observations, conversations, and products over time to ensure the reliability of your evidence (think repeatable). In this way, we can be assured that, come report card time, we have the evidence needed to make an informed professional judgment.

Let’s consider a Science example from a primary classroom. The teacher analyzed her standards and outcomes and created the following student-friendly version of the learning destination:

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Engaging in classroom assessment means deliberately collecting evidence in relation to the learning destination from multiple sources over time to ensure the professional judgments made are reliable and valid. In this example, we can see the need to use observations and conversations for evidence of:

  • I can use my senses to make observations.
  • I can ask questions about the world around me.
  • I can collect data about living and non-living things.

When teachers value only products (tests, quizzes, culminating assignments), they ignore the learning outcomes/standards that include process and require students to articulate their learning to others. We are responsible for teaching and having students learn all the standards or outcomes, not only those easily assessed or measured through products.

In this high school Spanish example, the teacher has identified the learning destination and is deliberately planning to collect products, observations, and records of conversations (journals, notes, and more) so that not only is the evidence from multiple sources over time, it also reflects more of what is important in learning a language and a culture.

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As you plan to collect evidence of learning, consider these questions:

1. What evidence will students be creating?
2. What evidence could I choose to track and collect?
3. Am I preparing to collect evidence on all that is valued as defined by the outcomes/standards?

In the next blog, our focus will be on collecting baseline evidence of learning. Stay tuned!

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta are educators, consultants, authors, and presenters who are highly sought after, both locally and globally. Their energy, passion, and expertise have helped teachers, leaders, schools, and systems to move forward with competence and confidence. Learn more about the team here...

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