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Posted December 20, 2012

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Teachers work with RDA to Develop Assessments for Common Core State Standards

The work is challenging yet rewarding as teachers begin implementing and assessing the new standards for English Language Arts and math in kindergarten through third grade.

Several APS teachers have come together to work with RDA to develop units of study and performance tasks that align with the new Common Core State Standards being used in kindergarten through third grade this school year.

The work, which began last spring, has been laborious and has included the development of Scope and Sequence, selection of test questions for the District Benchmark Assessments, revisions of the Standards-Based Progress Report and more.

Teachers who worked on the Scope and Sequence and units of study during the summer committed to four additional days during the school year to develop the performance tasks.

The performance tasks are intended to support classroom teachers in helping guide instructional planning for individual students. The student work that is produced as a result of these tasks will allow teachers to reflect upon their instructional practice. The tasks also will be a bridge between the level of robust classroom instruction and student performance on the DBA.

“This was a great opportunity for professional learning and for teachers to share practices,” said Gina Middleton, assessment specialist for RDA. “They were supported by district staff in the completion and review of the tasks.”

Teachers also met with representatives of WestEd – a research, development and service agency that works with educators to promote quality education – learning to be “critical consumers” of classroom assessments. They learned how to identify and develop well-written, robust assessment items and tasks.

Teachers chose tasks from a variety of materials, including Exemplars’ Math Task Bank, Illustrative Mathematics (an initiative of the Institute of Mathematics & Education funded by Gates Foundation), Treasures and Pearson Education, Inc. Most tasks chosen were revised by the teachers to meet the rigor and intent of grade-specific CCSS.

During this process, teachers learned that implementing CCSS is not simply changing what they teach, but revisiting how they teach.

The work was energizing, but exhausting and required application of a lot of new information in a short amount of time,” said Middleton. “Teachers remarked that they felt fortunate to be a part of this work.”

 

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