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. 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. For example, when your students talk about how they completed their performance task of developing a plan for computer use, they will be looking at how proficiently they have mastered certain skills that go into making a plan for sharing classroom computers and solving the problems that surround cooperating with peers. You will be looking to see whether or not students are becoming proficient in cooperating with others according to the definition of the standard at the performance level you have selected. 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. The collection and interpretation of evidence may be more or less formal at different stages of the teaching and learning process. For example, as you observe students' discussion of the goal of making rules for using the classroom computers, you will be informally looking for evidence of student understanding and then documenting and interpreting that evidence (carrying out the learning activities and assessment activities make up Steps 5 and 6 of the teaching and learning cycle).

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.

How will we show we know it? What evidence will we have? How will we interpret the evidence?
Teacher and student rating of budgeting performance task using checklist. Completed student budget

Student checklist with self-rating

Teacher rating using same checklist

Informal teacher notes
Mini conference between teacher and student. Both share their interpretations of how well the student performed the task and decide if the student has reached a "proficient" or "advanced" level on the task or requires more practice.

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