We invite you to share your thoughts on the following position paper authored by BHS PD Leads. Please use the comment section below. Anonymous or unprofessional comments will be deleted.
A Focus on Linking Assessment to Instruction at Berkeley High:
Note: Some terms within this document require definition so that everyone is using them the same way. Please see the BHS Assessment Glossary here.
The 2012-13 PD Calendar offers a structure that supports learning communities and departments in a focus on linking the results of assessment to instruction. This calendar has been approved by both the PD Leaders Team and our Learning Community Leadership Team. Much of the work of the PD Leads team in 2011-12 has focused on the rationale and methods used for this purpose as presented in Paul Bambrick-Santoyo’s Driven by Data. In alignment with the Berkeley High School Action Plan, WASC visiting team recommendations, the 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth, and evidence-based practices that demonstrate high-leverage professional development experiences, the Professional Development Leadership team supports the following concerns and priorities to ensure that the focus is implemented effectively:
Need for Coherence
1. As public school employees, we recognize our responsibility to teach to a common set of outcomes, known as the state standards. However, we also recognize the problems inherent in the current standards, including their breadth and number. We are hopeful that the new Common Core State Standards will address some of these issues.
2. The art of teaching should be a combination of teacher skill, responsive pedagogy, and school goals. Teachers should have a wide range of tools which they can effectively use to promote student learning. Strong assessment skills need to be one of these tools.
Equity for our Diverse Student Body
3. Calibrating instruction around common outcomes supports high standards for all students and supports our goal of a more equitable school. Access to a curriculum aligned with the standards is a powerful equity strategy. We believe that all students, in every classroom at Berkeley High, should be provided standards-based instruction.
4. However, teachers must also be allowed a certain degree of latitude to respond to the challenges of our diverse student body. Because it is also the responsibility of the teacher to address remediation, differentiation, and significant “teachable moments,” it must be understood that there are times when lessons must be tailored to meet the needs of the students, rather than solely driven by the standards.
Fostering a Growth-Based Model
5. Common formative (pre-, interim) and summative (final) assessments can be powerful tools for instructors to adjust instruction in order to meet students' learning needs. Supported by a strong professional learning community, these tools can highlight effective practices, identify those (students and teachers) in need of additional support, and help target instruction towards student progress on outcomes. A growth-based assessment model lets us be proud of our students’ efforts and see results in the same school year, rather than wait for scores after our students have moved on.
6. Assessments are most effective when they support the identification of strengths and weaknesses and allow for teacher monitoring of student growth towards outcomes.
No Connection to Evaluation
7. Data from common pre-, interim, and summative assessments should NEVER be used to evaluate teachers. Doing so will undermine any attempts to expand our use of what can be a powerful teaching and professional growth tool.
8. Using a single summative assessment (common or not) is not an effective practice. Using data from a single summative common assessment to evaluate a student without having done a pre-assessment cannot be linked to meaningful feedback toward student growth or the effectiveness of teaching practices.
9. Standard 5 of the California Standard for the Teaching Profession (CTSP) emphasizes how a teacher uses assessment and not the results of assessments themselves. We strongly support that teacher evaluations must recognize this critical distinction. This standard addresses teachers’ knowledge of different types of assessments, as well as how teachers use assessment data to inform instruction, involve students in their own assessment, and provide their students meaningful and timely feedback.
10. This plan promotes autonomy by encouraging each learning community to develop consistent internal assessments that meet its goals and students’ needs. These will be used in concert with common school-wide assessments. This is a critical part of the plan, as too many variables in the master schedule prevent a balanced distribution of students’ academic skills to use single summative or CST assessment information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching practices.
We believe this pre-interim- post assessment inquiry cycle will be an ongoing process, encouraging reflection and enhancing opportunities for meaningful collaboration among staff. By taking ownership of this process, teachers will ensure that its impact is on student achievement, where it belongs.
Dave Stevens and Susannah Bell, School-wide PD Co-Coordinators
Matt Carton, Angie Dean and Ben Sanoff, AC PD Leads
Mat Glaser, AHA PD Lead
Allen Boltz, AMPS PD Lead
Matt Meyer and Nick Pleskac, BIHS PD Leads
Leah Katz, CAS PD Lead
Andy Peck, Green Academy PD Lead
Rachel Chodorow-Reich, LTEL Coordinator
Rachel Chodorow-Reich, LTEL Coordinator
Heidi Ramirez-Weber EL Newcomer PD Lead
Amy Burke, Math PD Lead
Glenn Wolkenfeld, Science PD Lead
Eileen Jacobs, Special Ed. PD Lead
Tamara Friedman, World Language PD Lead