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 (deciding on these is Step 4 in the teaching and learning cycle). 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 students completing a worksheet and discussing their answers; or even more structured, as in the case of the use of a carefully developed rubric, a learning portfolio, or a written quiz. (The toolkit contains a sampler of many tools for on-going assessment of progress as well as guidelines for using teacher observation logs, checklists and rubrics.) In order to be considered as evidence an observation needs to be documented in some way.

  2. A last but equally 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. This assessment takes place during Steps 5 and 6 as you carry out the activity and document progress. For example, when students write about their experience with resolving the conflict scenario, they will be looking at how proficiently they have mastered certain skills that go into resolving conflicts and the strategies that they could use while negotiating with others. You will be looking to see whether or not students are becoming proficient in resolving conflict and negotiating according to the definition of the standard at the performance level you have selected. In some cases you may 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. In other cases, you may assess more informally.

Since this was the first time Claire and her students had worked on this standard they planned to assess progress informally. They would interpret how well they were able to use conflict resolution skills in three ways: class discussion, teacher observation and individual reflections that they would write in their learning logs.

They decided that once the activity was over, they would spend a short time discussing what they had learned, how they could apply it in other contexts, and whether or not they would like to work on other activities based on the Resolve Conflict and Negotiate Standard. Worksheets for reflecting on what was learned and planning next steps can be found in Steps 7 and 8 of the toolkit.

How will we show we know it? What evidence will we have? How will we interpret the evidence?
Ask the class members who participated in the meeting to report back on the process. Did all parties get a chance to discuss their positions? Were the areas of agreement and disagreement clear? Was the group able to arrive at a “win-win” option for resolving the problem? Was the process fair and effective? Student presentations on negotiation process, based on:

List of two or more “win-win” solutions

Strategies checklist

Checklist for a fair and effective negotiation session
Class discussion and evaluation

Student learning log

Teacher observation log

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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