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  • Formative Assessment, Descriptive Feedback, and Summative Judgment
  • GAGC 2013
  • Principles and Practicalities

For further conversation about any of these topics:

  • Rick Wormeli
  • 703-620-2447
  • Herndon, Virginia, USA
  • (Eastern Standard Time Zone)

Quick Opening Thoughts on Assessing/Grading Advanced Students

  • Insure grade-level material is learned.
  • If it’s enrichment material only, the grade still represents mastery of on-grade-level material. An addendum report card or the comment section provides feedback on advanced material.
  • If the course name indicates advanced material (Algebra I Honors, Biology II), then we grade against those advanced standards.
  • If the student has accelerated a grade level or more, he is graded against the same standards as his older classmates.

What is Mastery?

  • “Tim was so learned, that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant, that he bought a cow to ride on.”
  • Ben Franklin, 1750, Poor Richard’s Almanac

“The student understands fact versus opinion.”

  • Identify
  • Create
  • Revise
  • Manipulate

The better question is not,

  • The better question is not,
  • “What is the standard?”
  • The better question is, “What evidence will we tolerate?”

What’s the difference between proficient in the standard/outcome and mastery of the standard/outcome?

  • What’s the difference between proficient in the standard/outcome and mastery of the standard/outcome?
  • What does exceeding the standard mean?

Grade 8: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (From the Common Core Standards)

  • Grade 8: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. (From the Common Core Standards)
  • What is the proper way to cite textual evidence in a written analysis?
  • How much textual evidence is needed to support the student’s claims?
  • What if the student cites enough evidence but it’s for an incorrect claim?
  • What if the student is novel or stylistic in some way – will that be acceptable as long as he fulfills the general criteria?
  • How specific does a student need to be in order to demonstrate being explicit?

Is the analysis complete if he just makes the claim and cites evidence without a line or two to tie it all back to the theme?

  • Is the analysis complete if he just makes the claim and cites evidence without a line or two to tie it all back to the theme?
  • And what does, “…as well as inferences drawn from the text,” mean? Does it mean students make inferences about the text and back them up with text references or outside-the-text references? Are students supposed to comment on quality of inferences within the text? Are they supposed to make inferences when analyzing the text?
  • What if they can do it with one piece of text, but not another, or they can do it this week, but not another?
  • What text formats will we require students to analyze in this manner?
  • What will constitute, “Exceeds the Standard?”

Choose the best assessment:

  • On the sphere provided, draw a latitude/longitude coordinate grid. Label all major components.
  • Given the listed latitude/longitude coordinates, identify the countries. Then, identify the latitude and longitude of the world capitols and bodies of water that are listed.
  • Write an essay about how the latitude/longitude system came to be.
  • In an audio-visual presentation, explain how our system of latitude and longitude would need to be adjusted if Earth was in the shape of a peanut? (narrow middle, wider edges)
  • Create a collage or mural that represents the importance of latitude and longitude in the modern world.

SIX + 1 Writing Traits Sample Rubric -- Ideas and Content

  • SIX + 1 Writing Traits Sample Rubric -- Ideas and Content
  •  [From Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 SW Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204]
  • 5 = This paper is clear and focused. It holds the reader's attention. Relevant anecdotes and details enrich the central theme or storyline. Ideas are fresh and original. The writer seems to be writing from knowledge or experience and shows insight: an understanding of life and a knack for picking out what is significant. Relevant, telling, quality details give the reader important information that goes beyond the obvious or predictable. The writer develops the topic in an enlightening, purposeful way that makes a point or tells a story. Every piece adds something to the whole.

Looking at Assessment of Mastery

  • Example 1 – Multiply the binomials:
  •  Solve: (2x + 4)(x – 3)
  • Student’s Response:
  • 2x2 + 4x – 6x – 12 = 2x2 – 2x – 12
  • Is the student’s response correct?
  • What can we conclude about the student’s mastery of this topic?

Example 2 -- Directions to the Student: Circle at least one simile in the following paragraph:

  • “Yes, life was a Ferris Wheel to Betina, always circling, ‘coming around again, and always leaving a small lump of something in the pit of her stomach as she descends from the uppermost view where she can look out across the world. It was always sad for her to come down the far side of something exciting in life, ‘the ground rising to meet her like the unwanted rush of the tide she’s helpless to turn away.”
  • The student circles, “like the unwanted rush of the tide.”
  • Did this student demonstrate mastery of similes?
  • What can we conclude about her understanding?
  • What would we expect for the gifted/advanced student’s response?

Is it Mastery?

  • A student prepares an agar culture for bacterial growth by following a specific procedure given to her by her teacher. She calls the experiment a failure when unknown factors or substances contaminate the culture after several weeks of observation.
  • A student accounts for potentially contaminating variables by taking extra steps to prevent anything from affecting an agar culture on bacterial growth she’s preparing, and if accidental contamination occurs, she adjusts the experiment’s protocols when she repeats the experiment so that the sources of the contamination are no longer a factor.

Is it Mastery?

  • The student uses primarily the bounce pass in the basketball game regardless of its potential effectiveness because that’s all he knows how to do.
  • The student uses a variety of basketball passes during a game, depending on the most advantageous strategy at that moment in the game.


  • The students can match each of the following parts of speech to its definition accurately: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, gerund, and interjection.

…and Mastery

  • The student can point to any word in the sentence and explain its role (impact) in the sentence, and explain how the word may change its role, depending on where it’s placed in the sentence.

What is the standard of excellence when it comes to tying a shoe?

  • What is the standard of excellence when it comes to tying a shoe?
  • Now describe the evaluative criteria for someone who excels beyond the standard of excellence for tying a shoe. What can they do?

Consider Gradations of Understanding and Performance from Introductory to Sophisticated

  • Introductory Level Understanding:
  • Student walks through the classroom door while wearing a heavy coat. Snow is piled on his shoulders, and he exclaims, “Brrrr!” From depiction, we can infer that it is cold outside.
  • Sophisticated level of understanding:
  • Ask students to analyze more abstract inferences about government propaganda made by Remarque in his wonderful book, All Quiet on the Western Front.

Determine the surface area of a cube.

  • Determine the surface area of a cube.
  • Determine the surface area of a rectangular prism (a rectangular box)
  • Determine the amount of wrapping paper needed for another rectangular box, keeping in mind the need to have regular places of overlapping paper so you can tape down the corners neatly
  • Determine the amount of paint needed to paint an entire Chicago skyscraper, if one can of paint covers 46 square feet, and without painting the windows, doorways, or external air vents.

There’s a big difference: What are we really trying to assess?

  • “Explain the second law of thermodynamics” vs. “Which of the following situations shows the second law of thermodynamics in action?”
  • “What is the function of a kidney?” vs. “Suppose we gave a frog a diet that no impurities – fresh organic flies, no pesticides, nothing impure. Would the frog still need a kidney?”
  • “Explain Keynes’s economic theory” vs. “ Explain today’s downturn in the stock market in light of Keynes’s economic theory.”
  • From, Teaching the Large College Class, Frank Heppner, 2007, Wiley and Sons

Accountable Talk (p.23, Checking for Understanding, ASCD, 2007)

  • Press for clarification – “Could you describe what you mean?”
  • Require justification – “Where did you find that information?”
  • Recognize and challenge misconceptions – “I don’t agree because…”
  • Demand evidence for claims – “Can you give me an example?”
  • Interpret and use others’ statements – “David suggested that….”

Working Definition of Mastery (Wormeli)

  • Students have mastered content when they demonstrate a thorough understanding as evidenced by doing something substantive with the content beyond merely echoing it. Anyone can repeat information; it’s the masterful student who can break content into its component pieces, explain it and alternative perspectives regarding it cogently to others, and use it purposefully in new situations.

What is the Role of Each One?

  • Pre-assessment
  • Formative Assessment
  • Summative Judgment
  • Common Formative Assessment

Feedback vs Assessment

  • Feedback: Holding up a mirror to students, showing them what they did and comparing it what they should have done – There’s no evaluative component!
  • Assessment: Gathering data so we can make a decision
  • Greatest Impact on Student Success: Formative feedback

Two Ways to Begin Using Descriptive Feedback:

  • “Point and Describe”
  • (from Teaching with Love & Logic, Jim Fay, David Funk)
  • “Goal, Status, and Plan for the Goal”
    • Identify the objective/goal/standard/outcome
    • Identify where the student is in relation to the goal (Status)
    • Identify what needs to happen in order to close the gap
  • Item
  • Topic or
  • Proficiency
  • Right
  • Wrong
  • Simple Mistake?
  • Really Don’t Understand
  • 1
  • Dividing fractions
  • 2
  • Dividing Fractions
  • 3
  • Multiplying Fractions
  • 4
  • Multiplying fractions
  • 5
  • Reducing to Smplst trms
  • 6
  • Reducing to Smplst trms
  • 7
  • Reciprocals
  • 8
  • Reciprocals
  • 9
  • Reciprocals

Helpful Mindsets for Standards-based Assessment in Gifted Students’ Classrooms:

  • Grading isn’t a
    • “Gotcha” enterprise.
  • We strive to be
    • criterion-, evidenced-
    • based, not norm-
    • referenced in
    • classroom grading.
  • It’s what students
  • carry forward, not
  • what they demonstrate
  • during the unit of
  • learning, that is most indicative of true proficiency.
  • Anything that diffuses the accuracy of a grade is removed from our grading practice.
  • The best grading comes only when subject-like colleagues have vetted what evidence of standards they will tolerate.
  • We cannot conflate reports of compliance with evidence of mastery.

Two Homework Extremes that Focus Our Thinking

  • If a student does none of the homework assignments, yet earns an “A” (top grade) on every formal assessment we give, does he earn anything less than an “A” on his report card?
  • If a student does all of the homework well yet bombs every formal assessment, isn’t that also a red flag that something is amiss, and we need to take corrective action?

Be clear: We mark and grade against standards/outcomes, not the routes students take or techniques teachers use to achieve those standards/outcomes.

  • Be clear: We mark and grade against standards/outcomes, not the routes students take or techniques teachers use to achieve those standards/outcomes.
  • Given this premise, marks/grades for these activities can no longer be used in the academic report of what students know and can do regarding learner standards: maintaining a neat notebook, group discussion, class participation, homework, class work, reading log minutes, band practice minutes, dressing out in p.e., showing up to perform in an evening concert, covering textbooks, service to the school, group projects, signed permission slips, canned foods for canned food drive…

Assessment AS/FOR Learning

  • Grades rarely used, if ever
  • Marks and feedback are used
  • Share learning goals with students from the beginning
  • Make adjustments in teaching a result of formative assessment data
  • Provide descriptive feedback to students
  • Provide opportunities for student for self-and peer assessment
  • -- O’Connor, p. 98, Wormeli
  • Teacher Action
  • Result on Student Achievement
  • Just telling students # correct and incorrect
  • Negative influence on achievement
  • Clarifying the scoring criteria
  • Increase of 16 percentile points
  • Providing explanations as to why their responses are correct or incorrect
  • Increase of 20 percentile points
  • Asking students to continue responding to an assessment until they correctly answer the items
  • Increase of 20 percentile points
  • Graphically portraying student achievement
  • Increase of 26 percentile points
  • -- Marzano, CAGTW, pgs 5-6

Evaluating the Usefulness of Assessments

  • What are your essential and enduring skills and content you’re trying to assess?
  • How does this assessment allow students to demonstrate their mastery?
  • Is every component of that objective accounted for in the assessment?
  • Can students respond another way and still satisfy the requirements of the assessment task? Would this alternative way reveal a student’s mastery more truthfully?
  • Is this assessment more a test of process or content? Is that what you’re after?

Clear and Consistent Evidence

    • We want an accurate portrayal of a student’s mastery, not something clouded by a useless format or distorted by only one opportunity to reveal understanding.
    • Differentiating teachers require accurate assessments in order to differentiate successfully.

Great differentiated assessment is never kept in the dark.

  • “Students can hit any target they can see and which stands still for them.”
  • -- Rick Stiggins, Educator and Assessment expert
  • If a child ever asks, “Will this be on the test?”.….we haven’t done our job.

This quarter, you’ve taught:

  • This quarter, you’ve taught:
  • 4-quadrant graphing
  • Slope and Y-intercept
  • Multiplying binomials
  • Ratios/Proportions
  • 3-dimensional solids
  • Area and Circumference of a circle.
  • The student’s grade: B
  • What does this mark tell us about the student’s proficiency with each of the topics you’ve taught?

Unidimensionality – A single score on a test represents a single dimension or trait that has been assessed

  • Student
  • Dimension A
  • Dimension B
  • Total Score
  • 1
  • 2
  • 10
  • 12
  • 2
  • 10
  • 2
  • 12
  • 3
  • 6
  • 6
  • 12
  • Problem: Most tests use a single score to assess multiple dimensions and traits. The resulting score is often invalid and useless. -- Marzano, CAGTW, page 13

Set up your gradebook into two sections:

  • Formative Summative
  • Assignments and assessments Final declaration
  • completed on the way to of mastery or
  • mastery or proficiency proficiency

100 point scale or 4.0 Scale?

  • A 4.0 scale has a high inter-rater reliability. Students’ work is connected to a detailed descriptor and growth and achievement rally around listed benchmarks.
  • In 100-point or larger scales, the grades are more subjective. In classes in which teachers use percentages or points, students, teachers, and parents more often rally around grade point averages, not learning.


  • Pure mathematical averages of grades for a grading period are inaccurate indicators of students’ true mastery.
  • A teacher’s professional judgment via clear descriptors on a rubric actually increases the accuracy of a student’s final grade as an indicator of what he learned.
  • A teacher’s judgment via rubrics has a stronger correlation with outside standardized tests than point or average calculations do.
  • (Marzano)

Sample Formative Assessments

  • Topic: Verb Conjugation
  • Sample Formative Assessments:
  • Conjugate five regular verbs.
  • Conjugate five irregular verbs.
  • Conjugate a verb in Spanish, then do its parallel in English
  • Answer: Why do we conjugate verbs?
  • Answer: What advice would you give a student learning to conjugate verbs?
  • Examine the following 10 verb conjugations and identify which ones are done incorrectly.

Sample Formative Assessments

  • Topic: Balancing Chemical Equations
  • Formative Assessments:
  • Define reactants and products, and identify them in the equations provided.
  • Critique how Jason calculated the number of moles of each reactant.
  • Balance these sample, unbalanced equations.
  • Answer: What do we mean by balancing equations?
  • Explain to your lab partner how knowledge of stoichiometric coefficients help us balance equations
  • Prepare a mini-poster that explains the differences among combination, decomposition, and displacement reactions.

Samples of Formative Assessment

  • Solve these four math problems.
  • What three factors led to the government’s decision to…
  • Draw a symbol that best portrays this book’s character as you now understand him (her), and write a brief explanation as to why you chose the symbol you did.
  • Record your answer to this question on your dry-erase board and hold it above your head for me to see.
  • Prepare a rough draft of the letter you’re going to write.
  • What is your definition of…?
  • Who had a more pivotal role in this historical situation, ______________ or ________________, and why do you believe as you do?

Samples of Formative Assessment

  • Identify at least five steps you need to take in order to solve math problems like these.
  • How would you help a friend keep the differences between amphibians and reptiles clear in his mind?
  • Write a paragraph of 3 to 5 lines that uses a demonstrative pronoun in each sentence and circle each example.
  • Play the F sharp scale.
  • In a quick paragraph, describe the impact of the Lusitania’s sinking
  • Create a web or outline that captures what we’ve learned today about….

Additional Formative Assessment Ideas:

  • “Reader’s Theater” -- Turn text, video, lecture, field trip, etc. into script and perform it
  • Virtual Metaphors (Graphic Organizers)
  • Projects, dioramas, non-linguistic represenations
  • Multiple Choice questions followed by, “Why did you answer the way you did?”
  • Correct false items on True-false tests.


  • 3 – Identify three characteristics of Renaissance art
  • that differed from art of the Middle Ages
  • 2 – List two important scientific debates that occurred
  • during the Renaissance
  • 1 – Provide one good reason why “rebirth” is an
  • appropriate term to describe the Renaissance
  • 3 – List three applications for slope, y-intercept
  • knowledge in the professional world
  • 2 – Identify two skills students must have in order to
  • determine slope and y-intercept from a set of points
  • on a plane
  • 1 – If (x1, y1) are the coordinates of a point W in a
  • plane, and (x2, y2) are the coordinates of a different
  • point Y, then the slope of line WY is what?

Exclusion Brainstorming

  • The student identifies the word/concept that does not belong with the others, then either orally or in writing explains his reasoning:
  • Mixtures – plural, separable, dissolves, no formula
  • Compounds – chemically combined, new properties, has formula, no composition
  • Solutions – heterogeneous mixture, dissolved particles, saturated and unsaturated, heat increases
  • Suspensions – clear, no dissolving, settles upon standing, larger than molecules

The Frayer Model [Frayer, Frederick, Klausmeier, 1969]

  • Essential Characteristics
  • Non- Essential Characteristics
  • Examples
  • Non-examples
  • < Topic >

Sorting Cards

  • Teach something that has multiple categories, like types of government, multiple ideologies, cycles in science, systems of the body, taxonomic nomenclature, or multiple theorems in geometry. Then display the categories.
  • Provide students with index cards or Post-it notes with individual facts, concepts, and attributes of the categories recorded on them. Ask students to work in groups to place each fact, concept, or attribute in its correct category. The conversation among group members is just as important to the learning experience as the placement of the cards, so let students defend their reasoning orally and often.

Change the Verb

  • Analyze… Explain…
  • Construct… Revise…
  • Decide between… Argue against…
  • Why did… Argue for…
  • Defend… Examine…
  • Contrast… Devise…
  • Identify… Plan…
  • Classify… Critique…
  • Define… Rank…
  • Compose… Organize…
  • Interpret… Interview…
  • Expand… Find support for…
  • Predict… Develop…
  • Categorize… Suppose…
  • Invent… Imagine…
  • Recommend…

Synectics (William J. Gordon)

  • “The joining together of different and apparently irrelevant elements,” or put more simply, “Making the familiar strange.”
  • Teach a topic to students.
  • Ask students to describe the topic, focusing on descriptive words and critical attributes.
  • Teacher identifies an unrelated category to compare to the descriptions in #2. (Think of a sport that reminds you of these words. Explain why you chose that sport.) Students can choose the category, too.
  • Students write or express the analogy between the two: The endocrine system is like playing zones in basketball. Each player or gland is responsible for his area of the game.

4-Square Synectics

  • Brainstorm four objects from a particular category (examples: kitchen appliances, household items, the circus, forests, shopping malls).
  • In small groups, brainstorm what part of today’s learning is similar in some way to the objects listed.
  • Create four analogies, one for each object.
  • Example: How is the human digestive system like each household item: sink, old carpet, microwave, broom
  • Example: How is the Pythagorean Theorem like each musical instrument: piano, drum set, electric guitar, trumpet?

Summarization Pyramid

  • __________
  • ______________
  • ____________________
  • _________________________
  • ______________________________
  • ___________________________________
  • Great prompts for each line: Synonym, analogy, question, three attributes, alternative title, causes, effects, reasons, arguments, ingredients, opinion, larger category, formula/sequence, insight, tools, misinterpretation, sample, people, future of the topic

One-Word Summaries

  • “The new government regulations for the meat-packing industry in the 1920’s could be seen as an opportunity…,”
  • “Picasso’s work is actually an argument for….,”
  • “NASA’s battle with Rockwell industries over the warnings about frozen temperatures and the O-rings on the space shuttle were trench warfare….”
  • Basic Idea: Argue for or against the word as a good description for the topic.


  • Groups of students line up according to criteria. Each student holds an index card identifying what he or she is portraying.
  • Students discuss everyone’s position with one another -- posing questions, disagreeing, and explaining rationales.


  • Students can line-up according to:
  • chronology, sequences in math problems, components of an essay, equations, sentences, verb tense, scientific process/cycle, patterns: alternating, category/example, increasing/decreasing degree, chromatic scale, sequence of events, cause/effect, components of a larger topic, opposites, synonyms

Statues (Body Sculpture)

  • Students work in small groups
  • using every groupmember’s body
  • to symbolically portray concepts
  • in frozen tableau.
  • Where does the learning occur?

“Awards” (p. 68, Checking for Understanding, ASCD, 2007)

  • Students recommend someone or something for an award that they or the teacher have created based on their understanding of the topic:
    • “Busiest Part of Speech” Award
    • “Most Likely Mistake We Make while Graphing Data” Award
    • “Most Important Literary Device in this Novel” Award

Putting Content into Rubric Form

  • Putting Content into Rubric Form
  • Task Assigned: Solve 2 ½ divided by 1 ¼.
  • Student’s Response: 2
  • 100.0 Scale Grading approach:
  • If the answer was wrong, we’d look at how they worked the problem, but credit may or may not be given. The grade is based on the answer. If the student wrote, “1.5,” he would earn a zero for that problem, but more importantly, he would probably would not learn anything from his score.

4.0 Scale (Rubric) Grading Approach:

  • 4.0 Scale (Rubric) Grading Approach:
  • A rubric would’ve been given to the student prior to the test. Universal “look-fors” would have been identified for the student to demonstrate. For the 4.0 Standard of Excellence, the evaluative criteria might include:
  • The student recognizes the need to convert the mixed numbers into improper fractions for ease in calculating.
  • The student understands the need to divide fractions by multiplying by the reciprocal of the second fraction.
  • The student multiplies the two improper fractions correctly.
  • The student simplifies the answer into lowest terms.
  • The student double-checks his work to make sure there were no careless errors.
  • The student arrives at the correct response.

Rubric for the Historical Fiction Book Project – Holistic-style

  • Rubric for the Historical Fiction Book Project – Holistic-style
  • 5.0 Standard of Excellence:
  • All material relating to the novel was accurate
  • Demonstrated full understanding of the story and its characters
  • Demonstrated attention to quality and craftsmanship in the product
  • Product is a realistic portrayal of media used (examples: postcards look like postcards, calendar looks like a real calendar, placemats can function as real placemats)
  • Writing is free of errors in punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and grammar
  • Had all components listed for the project as described in the task
  • 4.5, 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, .5, and 0 are awarded in cases in which students’ projects do not fully achieve all criteria described for excellence. Circled items are areas for improvement.
  • Keep the important ideas in sight and in mind.

Guiding Questions for Rubric Design:

  • Does the rubric account for everything we want to assess?
  • Is a rubric the best way to assess this product?
  • Is the rubric tiered for this student group’s readiness level?
  • Is the rubric clearly written so anyone doing a “cold” reading of it will understand what is expected of the student?
  • Can a student understand the content yet score poorly on the rubric? If so, why, and how can we change the rubric to make sure it doesn’t happen?

Designing a Rubric

  • Identify the essential and enduring content and skills you will expect students to demonstrate. Be specific.
  • Identify what you will accept as acceptable evidence that students have mastered content and skills. This will usually be your summative assessments and from these, you can create your pre-assessments.
  • Write a descriptor for the highest performance possible.

Designing a Rubric

  • 4. Determine the label for each level of the achievement. Consider using three, four, or six levels instead of five.
  • “Test drive” the rubric with real student products. Remember, there is no perfect rubric.

Examples of Rubric Descriptor Labels:

    • Proficient, capable, limited, poor
    • Sophisticated, mature, good, adequate, developing, naïve
    • Exceptional, strong, capable, developing, beginning, emergent
    • exceeds standard, meets standard, making progress, getting started, no attempt
    • exemplary, competent, satisfactory, inadequate, unable to begin effectively, no attempt

Caution about Labels:

  • Descriptor terms need to be parallel; it’s important to keep the part of speech consistent. Use all adjectives or all adverbs, not a mixture of parts of speech.
  • Example of Poorly Done Scale:
  • Top, adequately, average, poorly, zero

Holistic or Analytic?

  • Task: Write an expository paragraph.
  • Holistic: One descriptor for the highest score lists all the elements and attributes that are required.
  • Analytic: Create separate rubrics (levels of accomplishment with descriptors) within the larger one for each subset of skills, all outlined in one chart. Examples for the paragraph prompt: Content, Punctuation and Usage, Supportive Details, Organization, Accuracy, and Use of Relevant Information.

Holistic or Analytic?

  • Task: Create a drawing and explanation of atoms.
  • Holistic: One descriptor for the highest score lists all the features we want them to identify accurately.
  • Analytic: Create separate rubrics for each subset of features –
    • Anatomical Features: protons, neutrons, electrons and their ceaseless motion, ions, valence
    • Periodic Chart Identifiers: atomic number, mass number, period
    • Relationships and Bonds with other Atoms: isotopes, molecules, shielding, metal/non-metal/metalloid families, bonds – covalent, ionic, and metallic.
  • Scale:
  • Criteria:
  • Crftsmnshp
  • Accuracy
  • Reasoning
  • Preparation
  • Presentation
  • Scale refers to the numerical or one-word rating such as 4,3,2,1 or “Proficient, adequate, limited, poor.” Criteria refers to the areas of assessment, such as craftsmanship, accuracy of information, reasoning skills, preparation, and presentation.
  • 4 3 2 1

“Metarubric Summary”

  • To determine the quality of a rubric, examine the:
  • Content -- Does it assess the important material and leave out the unimportant material?
  • Clarity -- Can the student understand what’s being asked of him, Is everything clearly defined, including examples and non-examples?
  • Practicality -- Is it easy to use by both teachers and students?
  • Technical quality/fairness -- Is it reliable and valid?
  • Sampling -- How well does the task represent the breadth and depth of the target being assessed?
  • (p. 220). Rick Stiggins and his co-authors of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning (2005)

Great Idea: Ask Students to Examine Well-done Examples and Generate the Rubric

  • Qualities of Successful Reading Autobiographies as Identified by Students:
  • Be honest; don’t be afraid to tell the truth.
  • Back up your opinions with examples of what you mean.
  • Choose good words to express your meaning.
  • Mention specific books by title.
  • Explain what effect reading has on you.
  • Explain which books you like and why you like them, as well as what books you don’t like, and why you don’t like them.
  • Stick to the topic. Get to the point.
  • Describe how your attitudes and reading abilities have changed since you were a child.
  • Explain how you started reading.
  • Mention someone who helped you learn to read or learn to enjoy books.
  • Be real - Express yourself in a relaxed, personable way, like you were talking to the reader.
  • Describe the particular situations or settings in which you learned or enjoyed reading.
  • Don’t be repetitive.
  • Be organized: either chronologically (time order), or in sections.
  • Use real life connections and experiences, if possible.
  • Double check spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Have spunk.

Samples of Tiered Tasks

  • Grade Level Task:
  • Draw and correctly label the plot profile of a novel.
  • Advanced Level Tasks:
  • Draw and correctly label the general plot profile for a particular genre of books.
  • Draw and correctly label the plot profile of a novel and explain how the insertion or deletion of a particular character or conflict will impact the profile’s line, then judge whether or not this change would improve the quality of the story.

Tiering Assignments and Assessments

  • Example -- Graph the solution set of each of the following:
  • 1. y > 2 2. 6x + 3y < 2 3. –y < 3x – 7
  • 2. 6x + 3y < 2
  • 3y < -6x + 2
  • y < -2x + 2/3
  • x y
  • 0 2/3
  • 3 -5 1/3
  • Given these two ordered pairs, students would then graph the line and shade above or below it, as warranted.

Tiering Assignments and Assessments

  • For advanced readiness students:
  • Require students to generate the 4-quadrant graph themselves
  • Increase the parameters for graphing with equations such as: --1 < y < 6
  • Ask students what happens on the graph when a variable is given in absolute value, such as: /y/ > 1
  • Ask students to graph two inequalities and shade or color only the solution set (where the shaded areas overlap)

To Increase (or Decrease) a Task’s Complexity, Add (or Remove) these Attributes:

  • Manipulate information, not just echo it
  • Extend the concept to other areas
  • Integrate more than one subject or skill
  • Increase the number of variables that must be considered; incorporate more facets
  • Demonstrate higher level thinking, i.e. Bloom’s Taxonomy, William’s Taxonomy
  • Use or apply content/skills in situations not yet experienced
  • Make choices among several substantive ones
  • Work with advanced resources
  • Add an unexpected element to the process or product
  • Work independently
  • Reframe a topic under a new theme
  • Share the backstory to a concept – how it was developed
  • Identify misconceptions within something

To Increase (or Decrease) a Task’s Complexity, Add (or Remove) these Attributes:

  • Identify the bias or prejudice in something
  • Negotiate the evaluative criteria
  • Deal with ambiguity and multiple meanings or steps
  • Use more authentic applications to the real world
  • Analyze the action or object
  • Argue against something taken for granted or commonly accepted
  • Synthesize (bring together) two or more unrelated concepts or objects to create something new
  • Critique something against a set of standards
  • Work with the ethical side of the subject
  • Work in with more abstract concepts and models
  • Respond to more open-ended situations
  • Increase their automacity with the topic
  • Identify big picture patterns or connections
  • Defend their work

Manipulate information, not just echo it:

  • Manipulate information, not just echo it:
    • “Once you’ve understood the motivations and viewpoints of the two historical figures, identify how each one would respond to the three ethical issues provided.”
  • Extend the concept to other areas:
    • “How does this idea apply to the expansion of the railroads in 1800’s?” or, “How is this portrayed in the Kingdom Protista?”
  • Work with advanced resources:
    • “Using the latest schematics of the Space Shuttle flight deck and real interviews with professionals at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California, prepare a report that…”
  • Add an unexpected element to the process or product:
    • “What could prevent meiosis from creating four haploid nuclei (gametes) from a single haploid cell?”

Reframe a topic under a new theme:

  • Reframe a topic under a new theme:
    • “Re-write the scene from the point of view of the antagonist,” “Re-envision the country’s involvement in war in terms of insect behavior,” or, “Re-tell Goldilocks and the Three Bears so that it becomes a cautionary tale about McCarthyism.”
  • Synthesize (bring together) two or more unrelated concepts or objects to create something new:
    • “How are grammar conventions like music?”
  • Work with the ethical side of the subject:
    • “At what point is the Federal government justified in subordinating an individual’s rights in the pursuit of safe-guarding its citizens?”

The Equalizer (Carol Ann Tomlinson) Foundational ------------------ Transformational Concrete ------------------------ Abstract Simple --------------------------- Complex Single Facet/fact -------------- Multi-Faceted/facts Smaller Leap ------------------- Greater Leap More Structured --------------- More Open Clearly Defined ---------------- Fuzzy Problems Less Independence ----------- Greater Independence Slower --------------------------- Quicker

William’s Taxonomy

  • Fluency
    • Flexibility
      • Originality
          • Elaboration
          • Risk Taking
          • Complexity
          • Curiosity
          • Imagination

Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking

  • Fluency – We generate as many ideas and responses as we can
  • Example Task: Choose one of the simple machines we’ve studied (wheel and axle, screw, wedge, lever, pulley, and inclined plane), and list everything in your home that uses it to operate, then list as many items in your home as you can that use more than one simple machine in order to operate.
  • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Flexibility – We categorize ideas, objects, and learning by thinking divergently about them
  • Example Task: Design a classification system for the items on your list.

Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking

  • Originality – We create clever and often unique responses to a prompt
  • Example Task: Define life and non-life.
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Elaboration – We expand upon or stretch an idea or thing, building on previous thinking
  • Example: What inferences about future algae growth can you make, given the three graphs of data from our experiment?

Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking

  • Risk Taking – We take chances in our thinking, attempting tasks for which the outcome is unknown
  • Example: Write a position statement on whether or not genetic engineering of humans should be funded by the United States government.
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Complexity – We create order from chaos, we explore the logic of a situation, we integrate additional variables or aspects of a situation, contemplate connections
  • Example: Analyze how two different students changed their lab methodology to prevent data contamination.

Frank Williams’ Taxonomy of Creative Thinking

  • Curiosity – We pursue guesses, we wonder about varied elements, we question.
  • Example: What would you like to ask someone who has lived aboard the International Space Station for three months about living in zero-gravity?
  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Imagination – We visualize ideas and objects, we go beyond just what we have in front of us
  • Example: Imagine building an undersea colony for 500 citizens, most of whom are scientists, a kilometer below the ocean’s surface. What factors would you have to consider when building and maintaining the colony and the happiness of its citizens?
  • Two new, substantial study guides for Fair Isn’t Always Equal
  • Q&A’s - abbreviated versions of correspondence with teachers and administrators
  • Video and audio podcasts on assessment and grading issues
  • Testimonials from educators
  • Articles that support the book’s main themes
  • Check out the FREE Website for Perspective and Practicality on Assessment and Grading Issues!
  • Among the articles:
  • Susan M. Brookhart on starting the conversation about the purpose of grades
  • Rick Wormeli on how to make redos and retakes work
  • Thomas R. Guskey on overcoming obstacles to grading reform
  • Robert Marzano on making the most of standards-based grading
  • Ken O’Connor and Rick Wormeli on characteristics of effective grading
  • Cathy Vatterott on breaking the homework grading addiction
  • Alfie Kohn  on why we should end grading instead of trying to improve it
  • Also, check out
  • ASCD’s Education Leadership
  • November 2011 issue
  • Vol. 69, Number 3
  • Theme: Effective Grading Practices
  • Single Issue: $7.00, 1-800-933-2723
  • New from Dr. Debbie Silver!

Great New Books on Feedback, Assessment, and Grading:

  • Elements of Grading, Doug Reeves, Solution Tree, 2010
  • How to Give Feedback to Your Students, Susan M. Brookhart, ASCD, 2008
  • Developing Performance-Based Assessments, Grades 6-12, Nancy P. Gallavan, Corwin Press, 2009
  • Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us, Daniel Koretz, Harvard University Press, 2008
  • Assessment Essentials for Stnadards-Based Education, Second Edition, James H. McMillan, Corwin Press, 2008
  • Balanced Assessment, From Formative to Summative, Kay Burke, Solution Tree, 2010

Recommended Reading on Assessment and Grading

  • Arter, Judith A.; McTighe, Jay; Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom : Using Performance Criteria for Assessing and Improving Student Performance, Corwin Press, 2000
  • Benjamin, Amy. Differentiating Instruction: A Guide for Middle and High School Teachers, Eye on Education, 2002
  • Black, Paul; William, Dylan. 1998. “Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment,” Phi Delta kappan, 80(2): 139-148
  • Borich, Gary D.; Tombari, Martin L. Educational Assessment for the Elementary and Middle School Classroom (2nd Edition), Prentice Hall, 2003
  • Brookhart, Susan. 2004. Grading. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall

Recommended Reading on Assessment and Grading

  • Fisher, Douglas; Frey, Nancy. Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for your Classroom, ASCD, 2007
  • Heacox, Diane, Ed.D. Differentiated Instruction in the Regular Classroom, Grades 3 – 12, Free Spirit Publishing, 2000
  • Lewin, Larry; Shoemaker, Betty Jean. Great Performances: Creating Classroom-Based Assessment Tasks, John Wiley & Sons, 1998
  • Marzano, Robert. Transforming Classroom Grading, ASCD 2001
  • Marzano, Robert. Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work, ASCD 2006
  • Marzano, Robert; McTighe, Jay; and Pickering, Debra. Assessing Student Outcomes: Performance Assessment Using the Dimensions of Learning Model, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1993

Recommended Reading

  • Millan, James H. Classroom Assessment: Principles and Practice for Effective Instruction (2nd Edition), Allyn & Bacon, 2000
  • O’Connor, Ken; How to Grade for Learning, 2nd Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press (3rd edition coming in 2009)
  • O’Connor, Ken; A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades, ETS publishers, 2007
  • Popham, W. James; Test Better, Teach Better: The Intsructional Role of Assessment, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2003
  • Popham, W. James; Classroom Assessment : What Teachers Need to Know (4th Edition), Pearson Education, 2004
  • Rutherford, Paula. Instruction for All Students, Just ASK Publications, Inc (703) 535-5432, 1998
  • Stiggins, Richard J. Student-Involved Classroom Assessment (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall, 2000

Wiggins, Grant; Educative assessment: Assessment to Inform and Improve Performance, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997

  • Wiggins, Grant; Educative assessment: Assessment to Inform and Improve Performance, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997
  • Grant Wiggins Web site and organization:
  • Center on Learning, Assessment, and School Structure (CLASS)
  • Wormeli, Rick. Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom. Stenhouse Publishers, 2006

Three particularly helpful books I just read and I highly recommend:

  • Keeley, Page. Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning, Corwin Press, NSTA Press, 2008
  • Brookhart, Susan. How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in your Classroom, ASCD, 2010
  • Alternatives to Grading Student Writing, Stephen Tchudi, Editor, NCTE, 1997

“I was put on earth by God

  • “I was put on earth by God
  • in order to accomplish a certain number of things…
  • right now I am so far behind…
  • I will never die!”
  • -Calvin and Hobbes

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