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). A list of many kinds of on-going assessment tools can be found in the Supports section of the toolkit. The proof may be some kind of teacher or peer observation. For example, in this activity, Joan often collects evidence by observing students as they participate in brainstorming activities and jots down evidence of the learning strategies she sees them use. She uses the Teacher Observation Log described in the toolkit as a guide. She may even develop a simple checklist of learning strategies to look for, such as those found in the third bullet in the Level 2 Indicators: some application of prior knowledge, and recall and elaboration of some new information through reading and restating simple text; underlining or taking literal notes; brief active listening; brief memorization and practice; using simple mental imagery to describe an event; questioning; trial and error; and dialogue with others. The collection and interpretation of evidence can be more or less formal at different stages of the teaching and learning process. For example, as Joan observes students’ discussion of food, issues surrounding food, and the students’ personal experiences with food, she will be informally looking for evidence of student understanding. In many cases there may be some kind of culminating activity that ties what has been learned together. In this example, coming up with a learning plan to find out more about healthy food options, carrying this plan out, and keeping a log (or writing up worksheets) to reflect on the experience was a culminating activity that pulled their work on this goal together.

  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. For example, when Joan’s students write and talk about their individual learning plans and how they worked, they will be looking at how proficiently they have mastered certain skills that go into learning to learn about things that will assist them in planning and making healthy meals for their family. She will be looking to see whether or not students are becoming proficient in learning to learn according to the definition of the standard at the performance level she selected. In this case, she may develop and 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 the students have worked on and how mini-conferences with each student to talk about their progress. You can find a model for developing rubrics in the Tools section of the toolkit. Her rating constitutes her interpretation of observed evidence of performance, in this case a combination of her informal observations, of each students’ written plan, of their learning logs and of their reflections on how the plan worked. Carrying out the learning activities and assessment activities make up Steps 5 and 6 of the teaching and learning cycle.

  3. Within all of her activity plans, Joan tries to encourage students to end the activity with a time for reflecting on what they have learned, on how they might be able to transfer the skills related to what they have learned to other settings, and a short discussion of next steps in relation to the particular standard they are working on. (See Steps 7 and 8 of the toolkit for worksheets to use at this stage.) In this case, for example, students may have found that they have learned a great deal about the importance of using prior knowledge to identify their learning strengths and weaknesses, but would like to work on using this knowledge more effectively to help them achieve their learning goal. They may, at this point, want to identify a list of other problems – such as learning about incorporating exercise into their own, or their child’s, daily routine – that they want to work on sometime in the future using the Standard Take Responsibility for Learning.
How will we show we know it? What evidence will we have? How will we interpret the evidence?
Ask students to fill in the part of their worksheet that asks them to reflect on how well they met their goal, the learning strategies they used, and the resources they consulted. Ask them to describe how they monitored the effectiveness of their learning experience. Student learning plan worksheet, Part 3- self-assessment

Learning log-reflections on learning

Teacher observation log
Class interpretation of how well they met their goals as measured against the Level 2 Performance Description.

Discussion with teacher of student worksheets, student self-assessment and the teacher’s own on-going observations as measured against the performance description.

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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