Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Calling Colorado Teachers: Can I Analyze Your Assessment?

Sometime in the next week or so I need to observe a math or science teacher. I'm turning to you, my PLN, for a volunteer. I'm open to any grade level, and here's the official description of the assignment:
Analysis of the Assessment Practices of a Math/Science Teacher
For this assignment you will observe a school mathematics or science teacher to analyze opportunities to assess student understanding embedded within a classroom context. Determine the extent to which assessment is embedded in instruction, detailing the kinds of questions and tasks used during instruction.
  1. Consider what it means to assess understanding
  2. As part of your observation, be prepared to distinguish between questions that guide the discussion and questions that elicit student understanding
  3. To what extent does the teacher create opportunities to gauge student thinking and learning? When does the teacher "check in" with students?
  4. To what extent do students responses influence instruction?
Additionally, as part of this assignment include a brief interview of the teacher’s beliefs about assessment. Some questions to consider…
  1. What is the purpose of assessment?
  2. When do you assess your students?
  3. [if appropriate] How do you use information from observations and listening to students to inform instruction?
These are just suggested questions. You are encouraged to adapt these and include other questions that you consider important. The report can be set up as a 2-part narrative that summarizes the observation and the teacher’s responses to the interview. Be sure to highlight specific aspects of what was observed and discussed, so that you can report your findings to the group and class on April 13th.
To be clear, I am not wishing to observe you giving a test or quiz, or to analyze the content and design of your test or quiz. I want to observe you during an instructional task and analyze what questions you ask, how you ask them, and how your students respond. As you can see from the assignment, I'm looking for the formative processes you use to determine if your students truly understand the content.

So if you don't mind an extra body in your classroom and can spare some minutes to discuss assessment, please email me at or DM @MathEdnet on Twitter. If you don't feel right for the study but can arrange something with a teacher that you think would be great to observe, that would be great, too. I'm in Boulder, am willing to travel a reasonable distance, and am available any day of the week. Your help will be greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!