Planning for the Collection of Evidence

  1. As you think about learning activities (the middle column in the planning guide shown here) you should also be thinking concurrently about assessment activities (the right hand column). Assessment activities provide some kind of evidence or “proof” of what has been learned. The proof may be some kind of teacher or peer observation. These may be unstructured, as in the case of a teacher simply jotting down notes; a bit more structured, as in the case of group of learners devising a simple handwritten checklist; or even more structured, as in the case of the use of a carefully developed rubric, a learning portfolio, or a written quiz. The Supports section of the toolkit contains samples of on-going assessment tools. In order to be counted as evidence an observation needs to be documented in some way. In Monika’s case this took the form of a rubric she developed to assess students’ performance role playing a conversation with a co-worker. (The Tools section of the toolkit has suggestions for how to develop this kind of rubric.)

  2. Another important part of the assessment process involves deciding on how you will interpret the evidence. This means using specific criteria to evaluate how well the student can perform the activity. For example, when you observe your students using non-verbal cues in a conversation, you will be looking at how proficiently they have mastered certain skills that go into conveying their understanding of what is being said. Each item on the observation form will refer to one or more of those skills. You will be looking to see whether or not students are becoming proficient in listening actively according to the definition of the standard at the performance level you have selected. You many assign students a score or use a rubric based on the level description to see if they are at the beginning, proficient or advanced level with respect to those skills. In this case your rating constitutes your interpretation of observed evidence of performance. The collection and interpretation of evidence may be more or less formal at different stages of the teaching and learning process. For example, in Monika’s case her rubric was used informally to gather evidence of learner progress.

  3. At a third session Monika used the worksheets in Steps 7 and 8 of the toolkit to help students to think as a group about what they had learned and what they would like to work on next. These steps are important because they help learners to develop a metacognitive awareness of their own learning processes and clarify how they can transfer what they have learned in one context to a different context.
How will we show we know it? What evidence will we have? How will we interpret the evidence?
Develop a simple rubric. Have students practice an entire conversation (trying to keep the conversation going as long as possible). Rate each student’s performance. Teacher rating of student performance. Teacher interpretation

If you would like to learn more about collecting and interpreting evidence of learning, go to Section 1 of Improving Performance, Reporting Results: The Guide to Using the EFF Read with Understanding Assessment Prototype.

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