Friday, February 27, 2015


All students take tests that measure aptitude, intelligence, achievement and many other levels of skills, but some local teachers are working on a new approach to this testing that is proving to be a more powerful, insightful strategy for assessing students.

Over the past three quarters, teachers from Monticello, Benton Community, Tipton, North Cedar, Midland, Center Point Urbana, Solon, and Washington came together to share their best practices on the writing of common formative assessments.  

“Many assessments used in the classroom look at past achievement, knowledge and skills,” said Jo Prusha, Benton Community Schools Curriculum Director.  “Formative assessment is a process used by teachers and students during instruction -- during being the key word.  These assessments provide feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning to improve students' understanding and achievement of intended instructional outcomes.”

These professional learning sessions provided teachers an opportunity to increase knowledge and skills related to assessing students more accurately against the standards in specific content areas. Teachers analyzed student achievement data from the assessments they collaboratively developed, which then assisted teachers in planning future instruction to support student learning.

“The skills that teachers gained from these sessions will assist students at all ability levels,” said Gretchen Kriegel, Monticello Community Schools Curriculum Director.

As a result of these professional learning sessions, teachers will be writing focused assessments that will more accurately measure a student’s ability to demonstrate a specific standard.  “We aren’t concerned specifically with student assessment scores,” added, Gary Zittergruen, Superintendent, Benton Community Schools.  “All of our activities, including this exercise on formative assessments, are planned with a clear focus on student opportunity and achievement.”

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