Boston College professor and scholar Katherine L. McNeill developed a series of resources to support middle school science and social studies teachers’ use of argumentation. The resources are organized in a course format and include a syllabus, slide decks and class materials for each session, and assignments. As teachers work through each session, they learn about the claim, evidence and reasoning (CER) framework, and how to use this framework to engage students in argumentation. The resources support teachers’ understanding of evidence and reasoning, as well as distinctions between science and history. The resources also support teachers’ instructional planning of lessons to support students’ development of argumentation.
At the 2017 California Educational Research Association’s (CERA) annual conference, CSAI Director Deb Sigman and Assistant Director Bryan Hemberg presented a session called Designing a Comprehensive Assessment System. Co-presenting were Marie Mancuso, Associate Director of the West Comprehensive Center, and Corey Greenlaw, Director of Assessments with the Frenso County Superintendent of Schools. (Please access the presentation slides by clicking the Download Resource button to the right.)
Summary of the session: An assessment system must provide decision-makers at all levels with sound information on which they can base their decisions in support of learning for all students. A comprehensive system includes different types of assessment tools and processes, used for different purposes at different levels of the system: national, state, district, school, and classroom. Designing, developing and implementing such a system is challenging, but necessary when instructional time is at a premium and evidence-based decisions are critical.
During the session, Sigman and Mancuso discussed the attributes of a comprehensive assessment system and outlined practical steps that policymakers and stakeholders might consider in developing a comprehensive assessment system (see handout).
Hemberg demonstrated an assessment visualization tool, called the CSAI Assessment System Visualizer (linked here). This tool provides states, local educational agencies, and schools with the opportunity to visualize, with graphic displays, their assessment systems by grade, content, and a variety of filters. When changes to the assessment system are being considered, this tool can serve as a valuable resource for determining redundancies and gaps in information.
The purpose of this resource is to help teachers revise existing lesson plans so that they incorporate the formative assessment process and align with College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS). We conceptualize lesson planning with formative assessment as four complementary steps:
Determine learning objectives,
Articulate instructional steps,
Integrate assessment, and
Plan to adjust instruction.
As you read through this resource, definitions and examples of the formative assessment terms used throughout. We hope you will have the opportunity to discuss these steps with peers and make connections to the instructional practices you already use. Revising a lesson plan with formative assessment is like a treasure hunt. This resource is the map to help you locate the best parts of an existing lesson plan and make them your own.
New college and career ready standards (CCRS) have established more rigorous expectations of learning for all learners, including EL students, than what was expected in previous standards. A common feature in these new content-area standards is their emphasis on students’ use of language to articulate and convey understanding of the content. The heightened role that language plays in CCRS presents new challenges for EL students and their teachers by calling for improved instructional strategies that simultaneously address language and content-area learning.
The purpose of this resource is to provide teachers of EL students with effective, high-leverage learning and teaching principles that can be incorporated into daily instructional plans and routines. Instruction that addresses EL students’ needs should include five key considerations:
Determine and address the academic language demands of the lesson;
Build upon students’ background knowledge;
Design and scaffold deeper learning tasks that integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing domains;
Provide opportunities for student participation through extended oral discourse and structured collaboration; and
Use formative assessment to support both language development and content goals.
The high-leverage principles for EL instruction presented in this resource are based on relevant research and most up-to-date literature on effective instruction. Each principle is accompanied by examples that illustrate its use. The resource concludes with an annotated classroom vignette that highlights the principles in action.
College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) set the expectation that students will be able to navigate multiple texts, evaluate the claims that authors make, notice and account for any conflicting points of view, and synthesize information as they develop an understanding of a concept or event. CCRS establish these learning expectations, but they do not provide guidance for how to plan instruction. Reading Across Texts is part of a series produced by the Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) to assist educators as they use CCRS to plan instruction for diverse learners. This resource presents the best of what we currently know about how readers make sense of multiple texts, and what instruction might look like in the classroom. The studies reviewed in this guide involve a range of grade levels and subject areas. Some of the studies sought to understand how readers engage with texts without targeted instruction in how to do so. Other studies examined the effects of interventions that taught students how to strategically read and evaluate texts. Taken together, this body of work can provide us with helpful insights as to how to plan instruction across grade levels.
Reading Across Texts presents these insights from research as three broad categories of planning recommendations: 1) strategies for teaching students to evaluate sources of information, 2) strategies for teaching students to compare information across sources, and 3) considerations for framing instructional tasks that involve multiple-source comprehension. For each planning recommendation, there is a synthesis of what researchers have learned about how students read multiple texts without specific instruction, and instructional strategies that appear to help students learn to do this work.
In this Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center (AACC) policy brief, Joan L. Herman explains the significance of a coherent multi-assessment system and describes key considerations in developing such a system. Herman begins with a description of the need for assessments that are tightly coupled to learning goals. The author connects this discussion of assessments to a suggested approach to establish a system that includes horizontal, developmental, and vertical assessment coherence. Using detailed models and explanations, Herman’s approach to assessment involves close alignment between instruction, learning goals, and assessment tasks across all levels of the system, and one that is used to support learning for teachers, students, and leaders over a series of time points. The brief concludes with concise descriptions of different types of assessment and their corresponding uses.