Educational Consulting & Instructional Coaching

Posts made in June 25th, 2013

Releasing PARCC Aligned Curriculum & Assessment Planners

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 | 2 comments

Releasing PARCC Aligned Curriculum & Assessment Planners

   Note to Readers 01.02.15 Dr. Dea’s Curriculum and Assessment Planners first published in 2013 as PDF forms have been updated with PARCC’s fall 2014 changes to the assessment blueprint and grade-level tasks. The update has been published as an interactive Word template complete with drop-down boxes and self-populating cells to customize task design. The updated Performance Task Planners are available at each grade level, 3-11. Click the link to preview a sample. For more information or to schedule a workshop on how to use the planners, contact Dr. Dea. Name(required) Email(required) Website Comment(required) Note to Readers 09.22.14 PARCC recently updated the Assessment Blueprints, the foundation for the Dr. Dea’s Curriculum & Assessment Planners. Dr. Dea is in the process of updating the planners and will provide coupons to those who have purchased planners in the past to ensure everyone has the most accurate framework for Common Core assessment. Note to Readers 11.05.13 Since this post was first written, the PARCC Aligned ELA Common Core Curriculum & Assessment Planners have been updated to include audio files and drop-down toolboxes for user friendliness. They have also grown to include additional space for entering instructional objectives and teaching notes as well as including pop-up boxes that display the grade-level standards as teacher work to build their plans. I have been working with due diligence to help teachers make sense of the marriage between the PARCC Frameworks released first in the Fall of 2011 and updated in the Fall of 2012 and the most recent significant release of PARCC Assessment information, the Assessment Blueprints released on April 30. The fact is, I posted a blog similar to this one two weeks ago, but since, my website crashed and several blogs were lost. Today, I am doing triage, trying to capture the message I shared then with what what my memory allows me to recover! As I read through the Assessment Blueprints, I began to see that though they were aligned to the Frameworks, the categories of writing students would be asked to perform were not in direct synchronization with the Common Core. There were not writing assessments of argument, expository, and narrative. Rather, the categories of assessment for reading within the categories of writing were directed towards literary analysis, research writing, and narrative. Narrative, by the way, has been redefined since the 2011 Frameworks were released. The new definition of narrative is one that includes not only story (the conventional definition of narrative) but also the process of description. More on that later. The result….a quarterly planner that integrates the guidelines of the PARCC Frameworks and the Assessment Blueprints. This two-sectioned document supplies a means by which teachers can provide direct instruction, either as whole group or in guided groups, and also allows plentiful opportunities for students to work as pairs, in small groups, or independently to practice the kind of thinking and writing the Common Core demands and that PARCC will assess. Planners are available for sale in the website Shop. Grade 3-5...

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Evidence Centered Design & the Common Core: A Fairer Way to Assess

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Evidence Centered Design & the Common Core: A Fairer Way to Assess

As a classroom teacher for nearly 20 years, one who was fluent with and adherent to our state standards, many ask me why I have so easily shifted from the known and comfortable to the unknown and even tentative space the Common Core seems to relocate education. My answer may not be calming to some, but for me it is true. I found the other space tentative. As a high school teacher, I could teach to our state standards, but the eventual assessment, the generic though highly reliable and valid ACT, was not centered in those standards. Indeed, ACT has a set of college and career readiness standards, but those were not our state standards. As an assessment the ACT and by extension any other well-intentioned test may be centered on student learning, but if the assessment is not standards aligned it is does not connect the two aspects our current culture presumes assessment to measure: teaching and learning. When standardized testing was first introduced, the focus of assessment was not related to teaching (for a good history of assessment, read this The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy). Generic intelligence, what we term in the vernacular as achievement today, was measured for a variety of reasons–school placement, course placement, college entrance, military appointment–but not as a means to measure teacher or school performance. Assessment purposes were individualized as a means to sift, distill, categorize people. In the past–the test taker opened the test booklet and proceeded through a variety of questions representing domains or disciplines in the academic schema. The questions posed did not directly represent a written standard. Simply stated, testing technique was based on the childhood story of The Three Little Bears as they sought a napping place: item writers generated some questions that were too hard, some questions that were “too soft,” and some questions that were “just right. ” Using such a method, the test could be statistically valid and reliable: smart kids would get all or nearly all the questions right, strugglers would get the “too soft” questions, and the kids in the middle…well, yep, that’s where they’d be…in the middle of the bell curve having achieved success with the “too soft” and the “just right” questions. Yesterday, teachers wrote those kinds of tests and today, many continue to write those kinds of tests: the hard questions are the ones that weren’t drilled into students’ heads; the easy ones are informative tidbits that have been drilled every year since the fourth grade; and the just right questions demand attention throughout the unit without over-taxing cognitive demand. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not picking on anyone. I’m just saying that’s how testing has been developed: item response theory as a technical name. But now that we are using assessment in a far different manner for a far different means, we need a far different assessment. If students and teachers are going to be held accountable for assessment outcomes, it is only...

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