Improvement Science

Improvement Science Part 3 #edcs480

An hour in and I accidentally close my tab and poof, my post is gone! Second time around lesson learned, do not write directly in wordpress, write on a document copy and paste!

This being my third post about my change idea I should be on the STUDY section, but after meeting with my critical friends and reading chapter 14 in Innovator’s Mindset (Couros, 2015) I’ve decided to change my change idea.

“The basics are essential in our modern world…basics are important, but we need to go beyond knowing to creating and doing” (Couros, 2015)

My initial change idea was to do student blogs, but when asked how I would collect data I was stumped. I then turned to close reading as my change idea partly because we are focusing on it as a department, but mostly because of fear. Fear of not knowing, fear of not understanding, fear of not having enough time, fear of not doing it right.

“While some looked at the time constraint as a barrier, others saw the constraint as an opportunity. You choose your perspective. It’s okay to ask questions. Just make sure your questions aren’t really excuses in disguise.” (Couros, 2015)

While brainstorming with my critical friends I decided that my change idea would be to implement technology via student newscast. As I researched articles to support my change idea the innovator voice in me said, “Why are you choosing for them? What if some students don’t want to get in front of a camera? What if some do?” Therefore, I’ve finally come to the decision for my change idea…. Student selected project!

Below are 3 articles that support student choice, making assessments authentic, using technology to increase student engagement and relevance and ensuring rigor in assessments.

What resonates is that each article seamlessly supports the other and has guided my new change idea to a reality. Honestly, the last article has opened my eyes on what I need to do to ensure rigor and has offered a planning template that I like!

Some questions I had was how to collect data? I guess when I hear data I think of  numbers and statistics, but after our class discussion and re-reading the syllabus, data can be in the form of surveys? Now what I wonder is what questions do I ask?

DO – My change idea is to allow students to select their own end of unit project. My next step is to create guidelines/requirements for students to address when selecting their project.

Authentic Assessment Challenges and Empowers Students by Chad Foster

  • Authentic assessment is a method for measuring student learning by providing developmentally appropriate, student-centered, active learning strategies
  • help students develop lifelong learning competencies (decision making, communication and cooperation)
  • Real-life relevance and meaning, empower learning
  • Open-ended nature of authentic assessment allows student opportunities to express individuality
  • Examples are penning stories, songs, poems, or blogs to craft scrapbooks, collages, or dioramas to creating machines, exhibits, short films, or even interactive web pages.
  • Teacher provides guidance, students responsible for planning and scheduling.
  • Here are a few websites that might help students with planning virtual field trips:

Classroom Tech for Learning Checks by Kristie Smith, Kristina N. Falbe

  • AMLE advocates for educators to use a variety of assessments to both advance and measure student learning
  • Timely feedback on assessments using technology
  • Technology can increase learning engagement
  • Middle school teachers need to find meaningful ways to make content relevant-tech can facilitate that.
  • 21st Century learning includes citizens and workers must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media and technology.
  • Questioning how much tech is appropriate? Tools as supplements to hard copy? Focus on key areas of learning that naturally align with tech-specifically formative assessment
  • Formative assessment tech tools friendly for the middle grades:
    • Kahoot
      • Kahoot is a game-based formative assessment tool. Its colorful graphics and playful music and sound effects make it a perfect choice to engage middle school learners. Teachers can load quizzes and invite students to join a virtual classroom using a game PIN. There are options for multiple-choice and other response formats. Data is collected on student responses and displayable in bar graph format after each question.
    • Plickers
      • Plickers is another tool that classroom teachers can use for quick check formative assessments. Unlike Kahoot, Plickers does not require students to have their own devices. Rather, students have scannable response images that a teacher can access from a single device. Teachers tailor the formative assessments, launch them, and collect real time data that can transform instruction
    • Today’s Meet
      • Today’s Meet is a back channel platform that teachers can use to allow students to ask questions and to carry on topic-specific discussions in the background of other learning. Teachers create a virtual chat room and allow students to sign in. The teacher can act as chat room moderator and participate in the back channel discussion. This is an effective tool to help teachers quickly respond to pop-up questions that students may have during a lesson. It is also useful for helping teachers to identify learning gaps sooner rather than later.
  • Fears – tech equity, distraction – grants, share devices
  • Goal of relevant and integrative classroom is good teaching and engaged learning
  • Tech tools great way to reach 21st century learner

Ensuring Valid, Effective, Rigorous Assessments – How can you ensure your assessments provide accurate feedback? By Nimisha H. Patel, David L. Herick

  • Best way to assess student learning is to use valid, effective, and rigorous assessments with our students
  • Deconstruct the standards: identify standards then break into learning targets, then align to varying levels of achievement
    • Knowledge
    • Reasoning
    • Performance skills
    • Products
  • Align items and levels of thinking with learning targets (learning targets, assessment item, Bloom’s levels)
  • Create valid and reliable assessments:
    • Validity-can teacher make accurate assessments about student’s knowledge and skills
    • Reliability-consistency of student results, should student score the same regardless of the day or time.
  • Take items to the next level with rigor and relevance
    • Goal is for student to move up Bloom’s Taxonomy ladder
    • Add reflective components, encourage critical and creative thought
  • Make assessment part of planning, not an afterthought
    • What do you want your students to know and be able to do
    • Use formative assessments as a guide (bell ringer, partner interviews, exit slips, journal of learning, electronic response systems, seven-word summary, students as teachers)
  • Backwards-design important for effective assessments
    • Use item-writing checklists
    • Embed quality formative assessments

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