- Use Protocols to Make Sense of Student Achievement Data
- Use Performance Assessments
- Assess Habits of Mind and Being
- Measure Civic Literacy & Skills
- Take the Bronx SAT
1. Use Protocols to Make Sense of Student Achievement Data
Sometimes, discussing student data can make people feel “on the spot” or exposed, either for themselves, their students or their profession. The use of a structured dialogue format provides an effective technique for managing the discussion and maintaining its focus.
A structured dialogue is a way of organizing a group conversation by clearly defining who should be talking when, and about what. While at first it may seem rigid and artificial, a clearly defined structure frees the group to focus its attention on what is most important. In general, structured dialogue formats allot specified times for the group to discuss various aspects of the work.
The School Reform Initiative (SRI)’s ATLAS Protocol was designed to help structure educators’ conversations about student achievement data. To download a PDF of the protocol, click here.
2. Use Performance Assessments
Performance assessment is a measure of student assessment based on authentic tasks (such as activities, exercises, or problems) that require students to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do.
Performance tasks often have more than one acceptable solution; they may call for a student to create a response to a problem and then explain or defend it. The process involves the use of higher-order thinking skills (e.g., cause and effect analysis, deductive or inductive reasoning, experimentation, and problem solving). Performance tasks may be used primarily for assessment at the end of a period of instruction, but are frequently used for learning as well as assessment.
3. Assess Habits of Mind and Being
In addition to quantitative measures of student achievement, your school might want to consider identifying — and then measuring — the qualitative traits you want your students to embody and model.
Habits of Being are qualities and characteristics that are essential to student success, whether at school, college, or work. At Monadnock Community Connections School (MC2), a small public school of choice in New Hampshire, students are required to demonstrate Competency in habits like Character, Quality Work, Collaboration, Curiosity and Wonder.
Habits of Mind are thinking traits that are essential to lifelong learning. Students are also required to demonstrate Competency in these habits, which include Problem Solving, Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Communication, Organization, Management, Leadership, Information and Technology.
To view MC2’s habits, click here.
4. Measure Civic Literacy & Skills
The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS), in partnership with the National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) at the Education Commission of the States, has developed assessment instruments to measure both student attainment of civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions, as well as a school’s civic climate and how well it has embraced its civic mission.
The student assessment tools seek a middle ground between performance assessment instruments, such as student portfolios and exhibitions of learning, and more narrow multiple-choice assessments.
2022: This resource is no longer maintained, but you can access it via the Wayback Machine Internet Archive here.
5. Take the Bronx SAT
Fourteen Bronx public high school students turned the tables on high-stakes testers recently with the introduction of SAT Bronx, a test uncovering the strengths and skills that urban youth call on every day.
Can you decode the lingo of the streets? Account for how public transit fares treat some riders better than others? Get out of a fight without making yourself a target? Stay true to your culture and your national identity? Figure out the reality behind a military recruiter’s pitch? Get yourself the education you deserve?
SAT Bronx asks readers to pay close attention to the words and experiences of urban youth—and then to analyze the implications of the solutions they choose. Answering its multiple-choice questions, test-takers must consider important issues of multiculturalism and equity, knowledge and skills, and the assumptions that underlie our thinking about what urban youth know and can do.”
To learn more, click here.