Weekly outline

  • General

    Hello and thank you for joining us today. We are from Pennfield Middle School in Battle Creek, MI. Amy is a middle school Language Arts teacher, Chris is a middle school Art teacher and Kim is a middle school Special Education teacher. Our presentation today is going to be geared towards new ways to assess students. It will take you past the multiple choice, bubble answer tests and into project-based learning. The technology tools we are going to talk about and show you today will open the door to a variety of different assessment types and lengths. They transcend learning needs and subjects. There are projects that can be done in short amounts of time with little computer background, and there are projects that are more in depth and will span longer time periods. We will also include some tools for gathering data and assessing these projects as well as ideas on how you may take the information and apply it in your classroom - no matter what subject you teach. Our Moodle site, shown here, gives you an organizational layout of our presentation today and shows the different topics/tools we will be discussing. We have also given you a link to this site if you want to look at in now, or refer back to it in the future.

    First and foremost, why project-based learning? For this, we have two key elements.

    One: New Assessment Requirements I.E. - In 2011 House Bill 4797 was passed requiring the board of a school district, intermediate school district, or charter school to ensure that the evaluation system for teachers include growth and assessment data.

    "For the 2013 - 2014 school year, at least 25 percent of the year-end evaluation must be based on student growth and assessment data; for the 2014-2015 school year, that would increase to at least 40 percent, and beginning 2015-2016 school year rise to at least 50 percent."

    Student Growth Assessment Tool
    In addition to measuring student growth in the core subject areas of mathematics, science, English language arts, and history, will measure growth in other subject areas; complies with all current state and federal laws for students with a disability; has at least a pre- and post-test; and is able to be used for students of all achievement levels.

    Two: It works for students - I.E. In a three year study in England, students exposed to project-based learning performed three times higher on standardized tests than those not exposed to project based learning. The project based learning was also able to close the achievement gap of students from differing socio-economic levels from 43% to 15%.

    With that being said, we are almost ready to dive right in. We do have one more point we want to be sure to make before we begin. Assessments, and in particular assessments using technology, need to be “Standards Driven.” Assessing just to assess, or using technology just to use technology are not the goal. The goal is student learning and demonstration of that learning. Technology and Assessments should be infused from the beginning of your unit plan and not just thrown in. As Grant Wiggins said
    "For as long as assessment is viewed as something we do 'after' teaching and learning are over, we will fail to greatly improve student performance, regardless of how well or how poorly students are currently taught or motivated."
    As we move through the presentation, we do have a Google Doc available to you as well as the Moodle site. The Google Doc is open for you to add ideas, comments, or even new technology tools you think fit with the end goal. We will also have a time at the end of the presentation for questions or comments. If you see a project idea and would like to know if it would work for your setting, or if you want to share a project you have used, we will be open to that.

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