Using the Advanced Placement example as a model, design a simple poster, or work with students to do so, that shows the big ideas of your subject, the enduring understanding, and the organizing concepts. Often this information can be found on the websites of content organizations and other groups concerned with teaching in the subject area in question. Post the resulting product in the classroom. Refer to Essential Questions by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins for ideas and examples.
Survey students to determine what percentage think success in each content is a function of aptitude and what percentage think it ’s a result of effort. Consider programs such as Carol Dweck ’s Brainology (http://www.mindsetworks.com) or your own approach to get more students to believe effort is the key to success.
Add a section to each course syllabus that identifies how the course builds on knowledge and skills from the previous course or grade level and how it prepares students for the next course or grade level.
Analyze your school’s data on student outcomes in ninth-grade algebra, subsequent course-taking decisions, and college matriculation. How does failing ninth-grade algebra limit future student options, particularly their ability to pursue STEM careers?
For an overview on the notion of a senior seminar to get students more college ready, see the Senior Seminar Handbook description and materials at http://cepr.uoregon.edu/fipse/fipse/steps.php.
Review the list of Common Core standards near the start of chapter 10. Think about ways that these could be assessed either at the classroom level or by an external method.
See the Innovation Lab Network for examples of states that are going beyond the consortia assessments with additional assessments (http://www.ccsso.org/What_We_Do/Innovation_Lab_Network.html).
For a better understanding of the research base underlying performance assessment, read and discuss Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam ’s Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. A summary is available at http://www.journeytoexcellence.org.uk/resourcesandcpd/research/summaries/rsassessment.asp.
See the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Assessment Principles and Practice for an overview of how a combination of assessments, internal and external, can be used to gain greater insight into a wider range of student knowledge and skills (http://www.ibo.org/diploma/assessment/documents/DPAssessmentPrinciplesandPractice.pdf).
Examine the example performance tasks that represent points along the continuum presented in figure 10.1 (Continuum of Assessment for Deeper Learning). Which kind of tasks along the continuum are used in classrooms in your school? What would have to occur for your school to the next type of task on the continuum?
Discuss whether you favor a conjunctive or compensatory approach to granting high school diplomas. Should all students have to meet the same standards to earn a diploma, or should some students be able to compensate with strengths in some areas if they fell short in others, assuming they had a strong foundational knowledge base?
Review your school ’s strategy for preparing for your consortium’s assessment. Is the emphasis on short-term test prep? What role will formative and interim assessment play in guiding instruction and diagnosing student needs?
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