Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Assessments Tools to Truly Measure Student Learning

Linda Darling-Hammond TESTING TO, AND BEYONG—New Assessments Can Support a Multiple-Measure Framework to Deepen Teaching & Learning (Featured article in the January/February 2014 Principal Magazine)
When I grow up I want to be an innovative academic like Linda Darling-Hammond. She continues to demonstrate forward thinking with what our students need to know and be able to do to be successful now and in their future. “The push is now to implement the next-generation of learning goals that encourage higher-order thinking skills,” and the Common Core State Standards is the pioneering tool leading the way for all of us.
In order to truly measure student’s growth with these new higher standards, Darling provides a valid argument on why our system is in need of a dramatic change. We need to measure what matters most and use the data to make instructional decisions to prepare our students for their future in a completive global economy. “If we are to achieve 21st century standards for learning, it is critical that these new assessments:
1.    Measure higher order thinking skills including:
Critical Thinking--apply what you know
Communication—explain how you know it
Collaboration—it’s not just about you anymore
Social-Emotional Competence—others matter too
Moral Responsibility—you can make a difference
Citizenship—it’s a global economy in a flat world

2.    Measure it in multiple ways considering:
Valued Outcomes for Students
Teacher, Principal, and School Evaluations
Combination of Classroom & School Measures
Appropriate for the Student and Curriculum

3.    Measure to lead instructional change and providing:
Information to Guide Educational Improvement

My role as an Instructional Lead Learner (Principal) is critical in facilitating this necessary transformation to improve student learning, instruction, and school improvement. Darling reminds me to reflect on the system and to continue to ask myself the “How” questions to lead the change collaboratively as I work and support teachers.

1.    “How can we engage students in assessments that measure higher order thinking and performance skills—and use them to transform practice?”

2.    Ho”H”HOw”How can these assessments be used to help students become independent learners, and help teachers learn about how their students learn?”

3.    “How”How can teachers be enabled to collect evidence of student learning that captures the most important goals they are pursuing, and then to analyze and reflect on this evidence—individually and collectively---to continually improve their teaching?”

4.    WiWith WithWith multiple measures, “How could we use these to illustrate and extend our progress and success as a school?”
Darling has the growth mindset to lead the educational reform in the 21st century standards for learning for students, teachers, and administrators to be successful now and in our future. This transformation is going to require deeper thinking from each of us.

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