Tag Archives: cem

Connected Educator Month, The Challenge

homepageThroughout the month of October, NCTE has been a theme leader, covering “Innovations in Assessment“. Throughout the month, we have also been issuing a challenge: How can we re-envision assessments for accountability and equity?

In the debate over the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act over the past year, many teacher groups have come out strongly in opposition to continued yearly standardized testing of all students, noting their often disastrous impact on the learning environment in schools and the inability for testing results to provide a complete picture of student learning. Many members of the public have also expressed their dissatisfaction with overtesting students, with families across the country (over 20% in New York) opting their children out of state tests this year. However, many civil rights organizations, natural and traditional allies of teachers, have vehemently opposed any reduction in testing or states’ accountability to act on the basis of the inequities that tests uncover. They argue that if we don’t test all students every year, we have no way of knowing whether students in certain communities or vulnerable or traditionally underserved groups—such as students in poverty, students of color, those with disabilities, or English language learners—are not learning what they need to know to be successful in adult life. Addressing these inequities is a crucial civil rights issue, and unless inequities are measured, they are easy for policymakers and district leaders to ignore.

Holding leaders accountable to their responsibility to ensure that ALL students have access to a high quality education and graduate with the skills they need to be successful in college, careers, and civic life was a driving force behind the debate about ESEA fifty years ago. Ensuring equity is a key civil rights issue. However, relying on yearly standardized testing as the sole measure of success is a deeply flawed approach to addressing the issue. Challenges in the current debate over reauthorization of ESEA reveals a lack of understanding about alternative ways to meet this imperative.

We invite you to join us in the challenge to envision what an accountability system of the future might look like, one that:

  • Engages the need for equity head on while also ensuring that evidence of student learning is gathered in ways that are consistent with good instructional practice
  • Mirrors the ways that educators themselves effectively use evidence to improve instruction
  • Measures the full range of important contributions to student learning and development, providing a more holistic view of student progress

It is also essential that any new system focuses on holding the whole educational system (including state policymakers) accountable for its results, not individual teachers or their students.

We’re inviting people with innovative ideas in this arena, particularly those who are already experimenting with new approaches, to share them through a series of online discussions during Connected Educators Month. NCTE will be continuing to explore this challenge beyond October, and we hope your contributions during CEM will launch deeper collaboration with us in the coming months. If you are interested in working with us on this issue but can’t commit to doing anything in October, please get in touch anyway. Have an approach to share? Let us know! Contact Darren Cambridge, NCTE director of policy research and development at dcambridge@ncte.org or +1-202-270-5224.

Connected Educator Month, Week 4

banner-760Connected Educator Month kicked off October 1! As shared in an earlier post, NCTE is a theme leader on the topic of “Innovations in Assessment“. For the final week of CEM, October 23rd-31st, NCTE is focusing on “Artifacts and Analysis”.

You’d never take a picture of a garden on one day in February to make a sweeping assessment of its health over the course of an entire year. Rather, you’d use a variety of measures – soil samples, plant measurements at different times of year, samples of plants over the course of different seasons, analysis of weather patterns and their impacts on growth, etc. in order to create anything approaching an overall “picture” of how well that garden grows. We’ve spoken already about the need for multiple measures in any assessment system but this week we take a closer look at some of the particularly interesting comprehensive approaches currently in use. What does it take to implement these approaches school wide? What conditions must be met in order for such approaches to thrive? And as we conclude this month-long look at assessment, how might these compelling innovations be scaled so that they begin to shift the way we think about assessment on a national scale?

Please also join us as we participate in these activities all month long:

  • Innovations in Assessment: Read and React discussions will be occurring throughout the month of October. Join this discussion group on the National Center for Literacy Education’s network, the Literacy in Learning Exchange, to read and discuss research articles and studies from a variety of organizations on the topic of assessment. Join Community Facilitator and Professional Learning Specialist Lara Hebert in facilitated conversations around two articles each week. Topics include formative and summative assessment, standardized assessment, portfolios, standards-based grading, and more. Go to the Literacy in Learning Exchange to learn more.
  • Using Social Networks to Build and Share Collective Wisdom: #WhatWeHonor. When we begin to think about meaningful and equitable assessments, we inevitably think about those measures of learning that deserve as much and even more honor than standardized assessments because these measures can tell us more about student learning, growth, context, and ongoing needs. And different situations call for different tools and strategies. During the month of October, follow and contribute to the #WhatWeHonor conversations and sharing of assessment tools and artifacts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Tag resources and blogs related to formative assessment; share your most tried-and-true rubrics, observation protocols, conferencing strategies, and more; post a video of your collaborative team discussing the power of looking at student work together; and make any other contributions you can think of that can change the conversation about assessment to focus on more than annual standardized testing.

Connected Educator Month, Week 3

banner-760Connected Educator Month kicked off October 1! As shared in an earlier post, NCTE is a theme leader on the topic of “Innovations in Assessment“. This week for CEM, October 15th-22nd, NCTE is focusing on “Valuing What We Notice“.

In TV dramas when someone says “I’m going to assess the situation,” they never hand out a standardized test in order to problem solve. Instead they observe, scope-out, and evaluate, using their eyes and ears to gather data. Observation is the unsung hero of assessment and instruction, and when paired with collaborative reflection, observations can form the foundation of powerful professional learning as well. This week we’ll consider the role that observations play in formative and summative assessments for student learning, professional learning, and system-wide learning.

Please also join us as we participate in these activities all month long:

  • Innovations in Assessment: Read and React discussions will be occurring throughout the month of October. Join this discussion group on the National Center for Literacy Education’s network, the Literacy in Learning Exchange, to read and discuss research articles and studies from a variety of organizations on the topic of assessment. Join Community Facilitator and Professional Learning Specialist Lara Hebert in facilitated conversations around two articles each week. Topics include formative and summative assessment, standardized assessment, portfolios, standards-based grading, and more. Go to the Literacy in Learning Exchange to learn more.
  • Using Social Networks to Build and Share Collective Wisdom: #WhatWeHonor. When we begin to think about meaningful and equitable assessments, we inevitably think about those measures of learning that deserve as much and even more honor than standardized assessments because these measures can tell us more about student learning, growth, context, and ongoing needs. And different situations call for different tools and strategies. During the month of October, follow and contribute to the #WhatWeHonor conversations and sharing of assessment tools and artifacts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Tag resources and blogs related to formative assessment; share your most tried-and-true rubrics, observation protocols, conferencing strategies, and more; post a video of your collaborative team discussing the power of looking at student work together; and make any other contributions you can think of that can change the conversation about assessment to focus on more than annual standardized testing.

Connected Educator Month, Week 2

banner-760Connected Educator Month kicked off October 1! As we head into the second week of CEM, October 8th-15th, NCTE will be hosting and promoting activities related to “Where are We and Where are We Going? (try,reflect, and act) Reflection and Direction“.

When you take a road trip, your experience is guided as much by the journey as the goal of the end destination. All along the route you use a whole dashboard of tools to gauge your progress and your current situation – how much gas is in the tank? How far does the GPS say you have to go? Is there traffic ahead? How might you re-route? Can you see what’s behind you in order to merge? Is the engine running too hot? Our ability to answer these questions and make choice decisions along the way is greatly enhanced when we collaborate with others who are along for the ride. Similarly, instructional decisions, guided by myriad assessment tools, are similarly enhanced when they’re made in collaboration with colleagues. This week we’ll explore ways to work together to use the evidence we get from assessments to reflect on the learning journey and make decisions about where we go from here.

Please also join us as we participate in these activities all month long:

  • Innovations in Assessment: Read and React discussions will be occurring throughout the month of October. Join this discussion group on the National Center for Literacy Education’s network, the Literacy in Learning Exchange, to read and discuss research articles and studies from a variety of organizations on the topic of assessment. Join Community Facilitator and Professional Learning Specialist Lara Hebert in facilitated conversations around two articles each week. Topics include formative and summative assessment, standardized assessment, portfolios, standards-based grading, and more. Go to the Literacy in Learning Exchange to learn more.
  • Using Social Networks to Build and Share Collective Wisdom: #WhatWeHonor. When we begin to think about meaningful and equitable assessments, we inevitably think about those measures of learning that deserve as much and even more honor than standardized assessments because these measures can tell us more about student learning, growth, context, and ongoing needs. And different situations call for different tools and strategies. During the month of October, follow and contribute to the #WhatWeHonor conversations and sharing of assessment tools and artifacts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Tag resources and blogs related to formative assessment; share your most tried-and-true rubrics, observation protocols, conferencing strategies, and more; post a video of your collaborative team discussing the power of looking at student work together; and make any other contributions you can think of that can change the conversation about assessment to focus on more than annual standardized testing.

Other events of interest:

Join an Online Book Club!

Under an umbrella that encompasses the wide assessment types and purposes, the National Council of Teachers of English is leading the theme “Innovations in Assessment” for Connected Educator Month 2015. As part of that, we are planning a book club during the month of October. We’d like to revisit the Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing. Each week in October, we will be looking at a cluster of the standards and having a discussion around them.

I’m pleased to introduce you to the hosts for this book club:

K M PierceKathryn Mitchell Pierce contributed to the development of the Standards while teaching in middle school. As a classroom teacher, Kathryn felt strongly that teachers’ voices need to be highlighted in the assessment process. Currently, Kathryn teaches at St. Louis University where she finds that the Standards connect to the topics in the literacy courses she teaches and her ongoing interest in collaborative, community-based assessment.

mug4 (002)Peter Johnston had the privilege of chairing the committees that developed the initial standards document and the revision that will be discussed in the book club. The committees each represented a range of perspectives and backgrounds from the membership of NCTE and ILA and the Standards were the result of extensive discussion and revision. Although he had previously taught elementary school, he was, at the time, a university professor involved in research and in teacher education in literacy. His research focuses on the consequences of teaching and assessment practices for the literate lives of children and their teachers.

SpaldingLiz Spalding contributed to the development of the Standards while she was a faculty member in English Education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She gained experience with performance and portfolio assessment as a staff member at the National Council of Teachers of English where she was Project Manager for Standards. Later, as director of the Bluegrass Writing Project and a faculty member in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, Liz saw first-hand the impact of a statewide writing portfolio assessment. She’s excited to revisit the Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing in the educational climate of 2015.

Join us for the book club throughout the month of October!