May 24, 2017
I not a big fan of summative assessments. I tend to look at everything formatively. This is partially due to the fact that I’m not really ever finished with students until the go to middle school.
What I have been thinking a lot about lately is the Miracle Question. If your students accomplished this, what is the first thing you would notice?
When I begin to collect the end of year data, I seem to approach it in a different way each year. Maybe it’s the lens I have at the moment, perhaps it’s a reflection of my goals for the year. This year I’m thinking about curriculum changes, staff changes, focus of instruction changes. How well does the data reflect that?
As a school and as a district, we have benchmark summative goals for grade levels. They are arbitrary, but based on sound developmental data. Certain reading levels, fluency levels, your standard benchmarks. That’s what worries me. That we view all of this data in our rear view mirror. A hard stop. The end.
What a big huge waste of time! So… perhaps we should get from it what works for us. What works for us as practitioners. What works for us as facilitators. What works for us as learners, both teachers and students. So what works for us?
When looking at the developmental reading assessment or any other assessment that gives us a reading level, fluency, miscues, and some level of comprehension, let’s look at the individuals and make instructional recommendations based on what we notice. Also let’s look for classroom trends. What do we notice that makes us consider our instruction, exposure, and opportunities? What would it look like to master these measured skills in the “wild”? What do each of these missed components tell us?
We could travel across all of the assessments in this manner, but let’s make the journey one of inquiry and not tedium. Not a hard stop, but a comma. A pause for reflection. It’s so difficult to make time for that at the end of the year, but it’s precisely when we should. Think about those next students and what we have learned that will benefit them. Think about those current students and what we might send them on with to their new homes. If you students accomplished (fill in the blank) what IS the first thing you would notice?