The Jens

The Jens
jen b & Jen P

Monday, November 12, 2012

Balanced. Smarter.

Clearly I am lagging far, far behind Jen P, who has provided lots of fodder for thought in the past few entries.
Rolling out a new set of standards to a district full of assessment-and-change-weary teachers is a fairly monumental task. Luckily, the CCSS are worthy of attainment and focus, in my opinion, on all the right things.

First, one response to prior post: I'm strongly in favor of ELA teachers increasing expository reading toward perhaps that 50-50 balance suggested by the webinar peeps.This is for a couple reasons:
1. Even if that is the goal, many ELA teachers will not reach it because investment in literature is strong and long.
2. We know that 100% of reading in college-level English classes (as well as all the rest of their courses) is expository, so how are we effectively preparing them for those courses if we're 80% literature, 20% expository?

One thing important to implementation, but still in development by the Smarter Balanced Consortium is the assessment piece. Here's where they've released some sample questions:

Of all the performance items released, I believe only one was based on a literature-based prompt, rather than an informational-based prompt (for whatever that's worth).

We have a year-and-a-half before we need to be basing all curriculum on CCSS, with first official CCSS assessment taking place for the first time in the spring of 2015:

At the start of the 2014-15 school year, the interim assessment item bank will be fully accessible to schools and teachers. In addition, teachers will have access to a digital library of formative assessment strategies and practices, including instructional best practices and professional development on assessment literacy.  The end-of-year summative assessment will start in spring 2015.

Smarter Balanced is basing all assessment upon the following claims:

Overall Claim for Grades 3–8
“Students can demonstrate progress toward college and career readiness in English language arts and literacy.”
Overall Claim for Grade 11
“Students can demonstrate college and career readiness in English language arts and literacy.”

Claim #1 – Reading
“Students can read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts.”
Claim #2 – Writing
“Students can produce effective and well-grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences.”
Claim #3 – Speaking and Listening
“Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences.”
Claim #4 – Research/Inquiry
“Students can engage in research and inquiry to investigate topics, and to analyze, integrate, and present information.”

Now, how they will authentically assess these claims will be interesting to see being developed. Based on what they've released so far, I think they still have a ways to go, though some of the questions are interesting and show promise--especially in the introduction of interactive resources that can be implemented when the test is administered online.

So, while Smarter Balanced is working on that, I'm pretty sure we'll all be busy enough getting ready for them.

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