With an awesome name like Bruce VanSledright, you know the guy just has to have his arms wrapped around what quality assessment looks like. I have seen some of his earlier stuff but haven’t heard his thoughts on assessment.
So we’ll see. I have faith.
The idea is that we can use the NCSS College, Career, and Civic Life standards to help use figure out good assessment stuff. Bruce starts out by highlights problems with past and current bubble, MC type tests that focus on foundational knowledge.
These “traditional” kinds of tests are great at measuring the capacity of students to memorize details, to recall isolated knowledge bits, assessments are often designed to actually measure the reliability of the tests themselves, and – just a little tongue in cheek – to measure our ability to teach to the test.
Bruce says that much of what we can do with the actual data from these sorts of tests is pretty limited. They provide no timely formative information. And rarely is the data actually tied to individual students any way.
So how can the NCSS standards help us re-think assessment? Read more
I’ve spent the last couple of months working with teachers as they unpack the new Kansas state history / government standards. And I’m still loving it. What better way to spend a summer than hanging out with other history geeks, discussing and, yes . . . sometimes, arguing about history stuff.
I will admit, I may not be enjoying it so much two months from now but today? Yup, it’s still a good time.
Much of the discussion and arguing as been about the balance between content and process. If you’ve followed the epic tale of how the new standards were created, you are well aware that the document encourages the importance of the historical thinking process. The old standards paid lip service to the idea of process
compares contrasting descriptions of the same event in United States history to understand how people differ in their interpretations of historical events.
but in a lot of ways, it was a document focused on all of the things that kids grow up hating about history – long lists of people, places, and events. So Read more
I’ve had the privilege of working with 40 middle school social studies teachers this last week. It’s the last few days of a three year Teaching American History grant and, yes . . . some teared up a bit towards the end. It’s been a great ride. We’ve all learned a ton – both content and pedagogy.
This week, we had the incredible privilege of working with three history studs - Mark Fiege, Elliott West, and Thomas Andrews – while also learning more about the best ways to incorporate their history content into actual lessons.
Master Teacher Nathan McAlister walked us through a variety of learning activities including panning for gold, cutting up buffalo, and arguing pros/cons of fracking during a city council meeting.
One of the smaller activities we did was a bit simpler and much easier for you to drop directly into your instruction.
Called Fact Pyramid Because Box, Read more