Guide Assessment in Action in the Primary School (Primary Directions Series)

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Will students be able to hear one another clearly? How can you moderate the activity to control volume? Talk to students about their past experiences with group work and allow them to establish some ground rules for successful collaboration. This discussion can be successfully done anonymously through the use of note cards. Search for tips. Containing all of the words. Containing any of the words. Containing the phrase. Containing none of the words. Teaching Tips: Educational Technologies.

Teaching Tips: Planning courses and assignments. Teaching Tips: Assessing students. Teaching Tips: Creating a positive learning environment. Assessments used for summative purposes may be administered at the end of a unit of instruction. They are designed to provide evidence of achievement that can be used in decision making, such as assigning grades; making promotion. The key difference between assessments used for formative purposes and those used for summative purposes is in how the information they provide is to be used: to guide and advance learning usually while instruction is under way or to obtain evidence of what students have learned for use beyond the classroom usually at the conclusion of some defined period of instruction.

Whether intended for formative or summative purposes, evidence gathered in the classroom should be closely linked to the curriculum being taught. This does not mean that the assessment must use the formats or exactly the same material that was presented in instruction, but rather that the assessment task should directly address the concepts and practices to which the students have been exposed.

The results of classroom assessments are evaluated by the teacher or sometimes by groups of teachers in the school. Formative assessments may also be used for reflection among small groups of students or by the whole class together. Classroom instruction is the focus of the framework and the NGSS, and it is classroom assessment—which by definition is integral to instruction—that will be the most straightforward to align with NGSS goals once classroom instruction is itself aligned with the NGSS.

Currently, many schools and districts administer benchmark or interim assessments, which seem to straddle the line between formative and summative purposes see Box They are formative in the sense that they are used for a diagnostic function intended to guide instruction i. However, because of this purpose, the format they use resembles the end-of-year tests rather than other types of internal assessments commonly used to guide instruction such as quizzes, classroom dialogues, observations, or other types of immediate assessment strategies that are closely connected to instruction.

Although benchmark and interim assessments serve a purpose, we note that they are not the types of formative assessments that we discuss in relation to the examples presented in this chapter or that are advocated by others see, e. Box provides additional information about these types of assessments. Currently, many schools and districts administer benchmark or interim assessments, which they treat as formative assessments. These assessments use tasks that are taken from large-scale tests given in a district or state or are very similar to tasks that have been used in those tests.

Like the large-scale tests they closely resemble, benchmark tests rely heavily on multiple-choice items, each of which tests a single learning objective. The items are developed to provide only general information about whether students understand a particular idea, though sometimes the incorrect choices in a multiple-choice item are designed to probe for particular common misconceptions. Many such tasks would be needed to provide solid evidence that students have met the performance expectations for their grade level or grade band.

Teachers use these tests to assess student knowledge of a particular concept or a particular aspect of practice e. Chapter 2 discusses the implications of the NGSS for assessment, which led to our first two conclusions:. Students will likely need repeated exposure to investigations and tasks aligned to the framework and the NGSS performance expectations, guidance about what is expected of them, and opportunities for reflection on their performance to develop these proficiencies, as discussed in Chapter 2. The kind of instruction that will be effective in teaching science in the way the framework and the NGSS envision will require students to engage in science and engineering practices in the context of disciplinary core ideas—and to make connections across topics through the crosscutting ideas.

Such instruction will include activities that provide many opportunities for teachers to observe and record evidence of student thinking, such as when students develop and refine models; generate, discuss, and analyze data; engage in both spoken and written explanations and argumentation; and reflect on their own understanding of the core idea and the subtopic at hand possibly in a personal science journal. The products of such instruction form a natural link to the characteristics of classroom assessment that aligns with the NGSS.

We highlight four such characteristics:. Variation in Assessment Activities. Because NGSS-aligned instruction will naturally involve a range of activities, classroom assessment that is integral to instruction will need to involve a corresponding variation in the types of evidence it provides about student learning. Indeed, the distinction between instructional activities and assessment activities may be blurred, particularly when the assessment purpose is formative. A classroom. Science and engineering practices lend themselves well to assessment activities that can provide this type of evidence.

For instance, when students are developing and using models, they may be given the opportunity to explain their models and to discuss them with classmates, thus providing the teacher with an opportunity for formative assessment reflection illustrated in Example 4 , below. A classroom assessment may also involve a formal test or diagnostic quiz. Or it may be based on artifacts that are the products of classroom activities, rather than on tasks designed solely for assessment purposes. These artifacts may include student work produced in the classroom, homework assignments such as lab reports , a portfolio of student work collected over the course of a unit or a school year which may include both artifacts of instruction as well as results from formal unit and end-of-course tests , or activities conducted using computer technology.

A classroom assessment may occur in the context of group work or discussions, as long as the teacher ensures that all the students that need to be observed are in fact active participants. Tasks with Multiple Components. The NGSS performance expectations each blend a practice and, in some cases, also a crosscutting idea with an aspect of a particular core idea. Progression in learning was generally thought of as knowing more or providing more complete and correct responses.

Similarly, practices were intentionally assessed in a way that minimized specific content knowledge demands—assessments were more likely to ask for definitions than for actual use of the practice. Assessment developers took this approach in part to be sure they were obtaining accurate measures of clearly definable constructs.

As we note in Chapter 3 , the performance expectations provide a start in defining the claim or inference that is to be made about student proficiency. However, it is also important to determine the observations the forms of evidence in student work that are needed to support the claims, and then to develop tasks or situations that will elicit the needed evidence. The task development approaches described in Chapter 3 are commonly used for developing external tests, but they can also be useful in guiding the design of classroom assessments.


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Considering the intended inference, or claim, about student learning will help curriculum developers and classroom assessment designers ensure that the tasks elicit the needed evidence. As we note in Chapter 2 , assessment tasks aligned with the NGSS performance expectations will need to have multiple components—that is, be composed of more than one kind of activity or question. They will need to include opportunities for students to engage in practices as a means to demonstrate their capacity to apply them.

Paul Warwick : Faculty of Education

For example, a task designed to elicit evidence that a student can develop and use models to support explanations about structure-function relationships in the context of a core idea will need to have several components. It may require that students articulate a claim about selected structure-function relationships, develop or describe a model that supports the claim, and provide a justification that links evidence to the claim such as an explanation of an observed phenomenon described by the model.

A multicomponent task may include some short-answer questions, possibly some carefully designed selected-response questions, and some extended-response elements that require students to demonstrate their understandings such as tasks in which students design an investigation or explain a pattern of data. For the purpose of making an appraisal of student learning, no single piece of evidence is likely to be sufficient; rather, the pattern of evidence across multiple components can provide a sufficient indicator of student understanding.

It can be used to refer to a very specific aspect of tested content e. Making Connections. The NGSS emphasize the importance of the connections among scientific concepts. Thus, the NGSS performance expectations for one disciplinary core idea may be connected to performance expectations for other core ideas, both within the same domain or in other domains, in multiple ways: one core idea may be a prerequisite for understanding another, or a task may be linked to more than one performance expectation and thus involve more than one practice in the context of a given core idea.

NGSS-aligned tasks will need to be constructed so that they provide information about how well students make these connections. Tasks that do not address these connections will not fully capture or adequately support three-dimensional science learning. Learning as a Progression. The framework and the NGSS address the process of learning science. The framework and the NGSS also postulate that students will develop disciplinary understandings by engaging in practices that help them to question and explain the functioning of natural and designed systems.

Although learning is an ongoing process for both scientists and students, students are emerging practitioners of science, not scientists, and their ways of acting and reasoning differ from those of scientists in important ways. The framework discusses the importance of seeing learning as a trajectory in which students gradually progress in the course of a unit or a year, and across the whole K span, and organizing instruction accordingly. As they begin the task, students are not competent data. They are unaware of how displays can convey ideas or of professional conventions for display and the rationale for these conventions.

In designing their own displays, students begin to develop an understanding of the value of these conventions. Their partial and incomplete understandings of data visualization have to be explicitly identified so teachers can help them develop a more general understanding. Teachers help students learn about how different mathematical practices, such as ordering and counting data, influence the shapes the data take in models.

The students come to understand how the shapes of the data support inferences about population growth. A key goal of classroom assessments is to help teachers and students understand what has been learned and what areas will require further attention.

Pedagogical benefits

NGSS-aligned assessments will also need to identify likely misunderstandings, productive ideas of students that can be built upon, and interim goals for learning. To teach toward the NGSS performance expectations, teachers will need a sense of the likely progression at a more micro level, to answer such questions as:. As we note in Chapter 2 ,. We have identified six example tasks and task sets that illustrate the elements needed to assess the development of three-dimensional science learning. However, the constructs being measured by each of these examples are similar to those found in the NGSS performance expectations.

Table shows the NGSS disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting ideas that are closest to the assessment targets for all of the examples in the report. We emphasize that there are many possible designs for activities or tasks that assess three-dimensional science learning—these six examples are only a sampling of the possible range. They demonstrate a variety of approaches, but they share some common attributes. All of them require students to use some aspects of one or more science and engineering practices in the course of demonstrating and defending their understanding of aspects of a disciplinary core idea.

Each of them also includes multiple components, such as asking students to engage in an activity, to work independently on a modeling or other task, and to discuss their thinking or defend their argument. These examples also show how one can use classroom work products and discussions as formative assessment opportunities. In addition, several of the examples include summative assessments. Moreover, the time students spend in doing and reflecting on these tasks should. However, because they predate the NGSS and its emphasis on crosscutting concepts, only a few of these examples include reference to a crosscutting concept, and none of them attempts to assess student understanding of, or disposition to invoke, such concepts.

We note that the example assessment tasks also produce a variety of products and scorable evidence. For some we include illustrations of typical student work, and for others we include a construct map or scoring rubric used to guide the data interpretation process.

Tests & Preparation

Both are needed to develop an effective scoring system. Each example has been used in classrooms to gather information about particular core ideas and practices. The examples are drawn from different grade levels and assess knowledge related to different disciplinary core ideas. Evidence from their use documents that, with appropriate prior instruction, students can successfully carry out these kinds of tasks.

Preparing for group work

We describe and illustrate each of these examples below and close the chapter with general reflections about the examples, as well as our overall conclusions and recommendations about classroom assessment. Example 3: Measuring Silkworms. The committee chose this example because it illustrates several of the characteristics we argue an assessment aligned with the NGSS must have: in particular, it allows the teacher to place students along a defined learning trajectory see Figure in Chapter 3 , while assessing both a disciplinary core idea and a crosscutting concept.

It is closely tied to instruction—the assessment is embedded in a set of classroom activities. A construct map displayed in Figure shows developing conceptions of data display. Once the students collect their data measure the silkworms and produce their own ways of visually representing their findings, the teacher uses the data displays as the basis for a discussion that has several objectives. The teacher uses the construct map to identify data displays that demonstrate several levels on the trajectory.

During this conversation, the students begin to appreciate the basis for conventions about display. The mismatches between their icons and the actual relative lengths of the organisms become clear in the discussion. The teacher also invites students to consider how using mathematical ideas related to ordering, counting, and intervals helped them develop different shapes to represent the same data.

Some of the student displays make a bell-like shape more evident, which inspires further questions and considerations in the whole-class discussion see Figure in Chapter 3 : students notice that the tails of the distribution are comparatively sparse, especially for the longer larvae, and wonder why. As noted in Chapter 3 , they speculate about the possible reasons for the differences, which leads to a discussion and conclusions about competition for resources, which in turn leads them to consider not only individual silkworms, but the entire population of silkworms.

Hence, this assessment provides students with opportunities for learning about representations, while also providing the teacher with information about their understanding of a crosscutting concept pattern and disciplinary core concepts population-level descriptions of variability and the mechanisms that produce it. Example 4: Behavior of Air. The committee chose this example to show the use of classroom discourse to assess student understanding.

This assessment is used formatively and is closely tied to classroom instruction. Classroom discussions can be a critical component of formative assessment. They provide a way for students to engage in scientific practices and for teachers to instantly monitor what the students do and do not understand. In this example, 6th-grade students are asked to develop a model to explain the behavior of air.

The activity leads them to an investigation of phase change and the nature of air. The example is from a single class period in a unit devoted to developing a conceptual model of a gas as an assemblage of moving particles with space between them; it consists of a structured task and a discussion guided by the teacher Krajcik et al. The teacher is aware of an area of potential difficulty for students, namely, a lack of understanding that there is empty space between the molecules of air.

She uses group-developed models and student discussion of them as a probe to evaluate whether this understanding has been reached or needs further development. When students come to this activity in the course of the unit, they have already reached consensus on several important ideas they can use in constructing their models.

They have defined matter as anything that takes up space and has mass. They have concluded that gases—including air—are matter. They have determined through investigation that more air can be added to a container even when it already seems full and that air can be subtracted from a container without changing its size. They are thus left with questions about how more matter can be forced into a space that already seems to be full and what happens to matter when it spreads out to occupy more space.

In this activity, students are given a syringe and asked to gradually pull the plunger in and out of it to explore the air pressure. They notice the pressure. They find that little or no air escapes when they manipulate the plunger. They are asked to work in small groups to develop a model to explain what happens to the air so that the same amount of it can occupy the syringe regardless of the volume of space available.

The groups are asked to provide models of the air with the syringe in three positions: see Figure Figure shows the first models produced by five groups of students to depict the air in the syringe in its first position. The teacher asks the class to discuss the different models and to try to reach consensus on how to model the behavior of air to explain their observations. Exactly what, if anything, is in between the air particles emerges as a point of contention as the students discuss their models. The actual classroom discussion is shown in Box The discussion shows how students engage in several scientific and engineering practices as they construct and defend their understanding about a disciplinary core idea.

In this case, the key disciplinary idea is that there must be empty space between moving particles, which allows them to move, either to become more densely packed or to spread apart. The teacher can assess the way the students have drawn their models, which reveals that their understanding is not complete. They have agreed that all matter, including gas, is made of particles that are moving, but many of the students do not understand what is in between these moving particles. Several students indicate that they think there is air between the air par-. Reprinted with permission from Sangari Active Science.

Other students disagree that there can be air between the particles or that air particles are touching, although they do not yet articulate an argument for empty space between the particles, an idea that students begin to understand more clearly in subsequent lessons. Drawing on her observations, the teacher asks questions. The teacher then uses this observation to make instructional decisions. It is important to note that the teacher does not simply bring up this question, but instead uses the disagreement that emerges from the discussion as the basis for the question.

Later interviews with the teacher reveal that she had in fact anticipated that the empty space between particles would come up and was prepared to take advantage of that opportunity. The discussion thus provides insights into stu-. The models themselves provide a context in which the students can clarify their thinking and refine their models in response to the critiques, to make more explicit claims to explain what they have observed. Thus, this activity focuses their attention on key explanatory issues Reiser, This example also illustrates the importance of engaging students in practices to help them develop understanding of disciplinary core ideas while also giving teachers information to guide instruction.

Example 5: Movement of Water. The committee chose this example to show how a teacher can monitor developing understanding in the course of a lesson. The assessments are used formatively and are closely tied to classroom instruction. In the previous example Example 4 , the teacher orchestrates a discussion in which students present alternative points of view and then come to consensus about a disciplinary core idea through the practice of argumentation. The responses are gathered by a central receiver and immediately tallied for the teacher—or the whole class—to see. Of the students who responded to the task, 46 percent were Latino.

Haley: I think you should color the whole circle in, because dust. I mean air is everywhere, so. If I color this whole thing in. B colors in the whole region completely to show the air as Haley suggests. Alyssa: But then, how would you show the other molecules? I mean, you said air is everything, but then how. Haley: Yeah. Haley: Um. Addison: Um, I have an idea.

Jerome: Yeah. I was gonna say that, or you could like erase it. If you make it all dark, you can just erase it and all of them will be. Frank: Just erase some parts of the, uh. B: OK. Talk to your partners. Is this what we want? Students discuss in groups whether air particles are touching or not, and what is between the particles if anything. In this activity, which also takes place in a single class session, the teacher structures a conversation about how the movement of water affects the deposition of surface and subsurface materials.

It also requires students to reason about models of geosphere-hydrosphere interactions, which is an example of the crosscutting concept pertaining to systems and system models. These questions have been tested in classrooms, and the response choices reflect common student ideas, including those that are especially problematic. Time and place of immediate postpartum appointment scheduling are usually more appropriate, than for late postpartum.

The surveillance of no-show patients is more common for pregnant women when compared to puerperal women. The distribution of services in the score for SRH originated a histogram that approaches the normal curve, which indicates the evaluation adequacy and allows the discrimination and description of the performance of the services using the arithmetic mean. Despite considerable variance, the analysis is significant because of the high number of indicators and participating services.

The comparison between the subdomains shows the distance between their participation in the composition of the domains. The average difference is attributed to the frequency of the actions performed Figure 2. The correlation between all domains and subdomains comprising the SRH dimension is positive. The domains j, k, l and the SRH dimension m were highlighted in bold to differentiate from the subdomains.

Formative assessment in the classroom

It reveals the power relations that characterize the care in this group 10 , 17 , notably regarding the protection of the maternal and child health and female body control 10 , The differences in the actions researched and the order of participation between the subdomains — prenatal and postnatal care, health care of reproductive and sexually related organs, and reproductive planning — possibly express an unequal recognition of these practices by both the health sector and the society. Actions seeking maternal and child mortality reduction and screening for neoplasms are regarded as more important than the ones seeking to guarantee reproductive choices in sexuality 8 , 10 , 28 , Training and know-how in technologies involved in each type of action are different: Actions commonly happen in the unit rather than in the community.


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There is a polarization between reproduction and sexuality 28 , as well as inadequacy in how sexual and reproductive rights and gender relations 10 are addressed indicated by the limitation in the supply of female condoms and emergency contraception. Consequently, training and adoption of technological tools 14 , 15 , 26 are necessary. The actions of health surveillance and information are a relatively high performance subdomain, with emphasis on data record related to production. However, these data require critical analysis, given the high frequency in the number of collection of Pap smear, in contrast with the low criteria compliance to prescribe the exam.

The lower number of actions of the domain of SRH promotion expresses both the challenge concerning the specific object and the practices of health promotion 3 , 4 , 31 , despite the fact they are PHC responsibility. The promotion of health requires work with social participation, approximation to the territory 25 , health education and communication methodologies 11 , 31 , interdisciplinarity, and intersectoriality Some particularities of SRH require understanding complex concepts — such as sexual and reproductive rights 7 , vulnerability 4 , and gender relations 7 , 10 —, besides the need to adopt suitable technological tools 15 , There is also disarticulation between reproduction and sexuality 28 and the predominance of informational over participatory strategies 11 , The difference between the educational activities about violence or alcohol and drug use and the follow-up of these cases shows the scarcity of tools for this operation The positive correlation between the domains and subdomains of the SRH dimension shows that each one is related to the others, revealing the importance of comprehensiveness 3 in the SRH care in PHC.

This characteristic can contribute to a better understanding of how they are implemented in the services. In addition, when taken as an investment and technological proposition focus, these indicators can foster improvements in SRH care practices in PHC. This can contribute to the handling of other objects in the health work, which require an approach that take into consideration user autonomy 10 , 11 , and situations of vulnerability 4 , 27 , as well as the establishment of interfaces between prescriptive measures and the projects of persons — combining technical attainment and practical success 3.

The average performance of units of The amount of assignments is a great challenge for PHC, and therefore reduction of expectations could be proposed. Moreover, the very characteristics of PHC, including the articulation of health work purposes 3 , 29 and proximity to the territory 25 , make SRH its object 13 , Thus, the analysis of the results points to an incipient implementation.

Regarding the limitations of this study, the assessment focused predominantly on organizational components, which are necessary, yet not sufficient to appreciate quality. Methodological possibilities were also present; with emphasis on the construction of a viable assessment, integrating a general questionnaire about PHC with easily understood explanations and recommendations, which may contribute to improving the organization of the work with SRH in PHC. Additionally, the study provided a review and update of the SRH dimension in the new version of the questionnaire QualiAB.

The need to improve PHC in Brazil is well-known. This study makes possible the proposition of a theory for the SRH program in PHC, taking into account the action purposes, and presenting priority activities and useful tools for the work. The evaluative framework for SRH in PHC, which, from the assessment of empirical data, was a mediator in the construction of this theory, can be used as a tool, particularly for work planning or future assessments.

With this evaluation framework, the task of assessing practices displaying different characteristics regarding purpose, technology, definition, and tradition in PHC has been fulfilled.