Excerpts from Video Transcript:
Despite the fact that many of us feel like we are in the "Era of Overtesting", in many states including my home state of NJ, it looks like changes may be coming to high-stakes testing.
No matter what your feelings are about these tests, one thing we probably all share is that these digital summative tests have pushed us to get our bandwidth and devices in order.
Now, we have the capacity to start to look at the assessments we’re doing and figure out how to best utilize digital assessment tools to really amplify the impact on student learning.
But it's important to remember: doing assessments digitally doesn’t automatically mean that student learning will increase.
Boosting Transparency and Collaboration
So what does the research say about how the assessment process can help us “double student achievement”?
There is a growing body of research that it’s the common formative assessments that we create together as a team that can have the strongest impact.
In research done by Allen Odden and Sarah Archibald in their book “Doubling Student Achievement...and Finding the Resources to do it” - they find that schools able to make drastic improvements to achievement scores shared the practice of using common formative assessments for each unit, and one of the main reasons is to bring instruction: “out into the open, as it was the subject of public and professional conversations and the focus of ongoing professional development.”
One important ingredient to having the transparency that Odden and Archibald are hoping for is to get feedback quickly so as a teacher I can make nimble instructional decisions, and have a real opportunity to explore the results.
This is one place where going digital can help us tremendously.
3 Benefits to Doing Digital Common Formative Assessments
In Richard DuFour’s Book, “In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Perform Even Better”, he points to six benefits of going this route of common assessments, and I’ll share three big ones:
- Stronger Assessments
When every test item is vetted by the entire team before it becomes part of the assessment, the diversity of expertise will increase the quality of each item. This is also a great practice even if you are using a test bank. If using a digital platform, ideally you’ll be able to submit your questions to a shared “bank” which can be used in the future.
- Better Equity for Students
Rather than letting the individual teacher determine the rigor of the assessment, doing common assessments provide consistency in teacher expectations.
By doing this digitally, the group will be able to really spot disparities in learning quickly across classrooms, and work together to provide an effective system of interventions.
- Data Turned into Information
This is perhaps the most compelling reason to prioritize digital assessment – getting SPEEDY, approachable data is of utmost importance.
Data shouldn’t be about running PDFs or trying to interpret spreadsheets; rather, it's important to prioritze tools that provide fast and intuitive analytics and data visualizations.
To get more details on this topic, make sure to watch the full video: https://youtu.be/xeZI-ig0wb4
To learn more about OnCourse Assessment, click to watch a preview video!