Over the past 10 months we have had a team from OCM BOCES Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department working with five component districts on assessment. Last summer we started with district teams conducting an assessment audit- looking to see what systems, procedures, type and use of assessments were in place. This fall, OCM BOCES was awarded a Teaching is the Core grant to enable teams to act on needs identified through the audit process.  Baldwinsville, Cortland, Liverpool, North Syracuse and West Genesee have assessment design teams learning about assessment design, including performance assessment design and scoring, piloting and revising their work.

What are some of things we are learning? First we are learning how critical it is to have learning targets (from standards) clearly prioritized, articulated and defined in a consistent manner with teachers instructing the same content. Second, we are learning how to complete an assessment blueprint that goes beyond identifying standards and assessment format and criteria. The blueprint also includes all the task analysis components of what we as teachers need to think about and provide for student success. The skills and knowledge that students will need to experience prior to achieving success on the assessment are also part of the blueprint.   All this upfront work before the assessment prompt and scoring criteria, and perhaps a rubric and/or checklist is developed. All this upfront work before lesson design and development commences! This is a shift for many practitioners.

We know that assessment and feedback is critical for student success and for mastery of content. And if what we are teaching is important than isn’t it important that we gather information to guide the students and our actions along the way? So we are also learning that is impossible to look at summative assessment without defining formative assessment along the way!   I hope the takeaway for the groups currently engaged in this work is that assessment need not and should not be done for assessment sake but rather to guide both student growth and teacher action.

So a shout-out to the teams currently working- we are looking forward to learning from the pilots and reviewing student work! Keep up the great work during this final phase! And to districts or teams that are not currently involved- we will be offering a similar but revised process again next fall. You can check out our website for registration information in the coming months. Perhaps we will see you in the fall!

Radicello_Lynn_WEBLynn Radicello

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