November 17, 2009: "Lessons from Abroad: International Standards and Assessments"


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Presenter: Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Teaching and Teacher Education, Stanford University

Host: Kathryn Baron, features producer and research editor, Edutopia

The world's top-performing school systems are said to be the model for new Common Core standards. Learn about the assessment systems in these countries, and how the results challenge the status quo in the United States.

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  • This Webinar is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
  • Brief history of what the U.S. has done in education reform since the release of A Nation at Risk. Not a discussion about NCLB reauthorization, rather an overview of how our reforms haven’t served students as well as they should have in the past 20 years. How well has that reform served us as indicated by results on international assessments such as TIMSS and PISA. A few words describing those exams. Explain what OECD is and that it administers PISA.
  • Discuss fundamental difference in focus of tests.
  • Discuss that regulations have been released. How they are based on Innovation. What does it mean for teachers? How can this competition promote new assessments and standards in the United States that are more in line with those abroad?
  • Notes for the facilitator The commonly agreed list of capacities expected of individuals in the modern workplace that is outlined on this and the following slide (from Professor Cheng’s paper provided as a pre-reading in the participants’ handbook) constitutes a key reason for the adoption of the 334 senior secondary reform programme. The new curriculum envisaged in 334 is designed not only to build Hong Kong’s knowledge base by ensuring all students receive a full six years of secondary education, but also developing the broader range of knowledge based skills required for success in today’s highly competitive global marketplace. (The list continues on the next slide)
  • Slide # 3 from Linda’s pp
  • Time-based written examinations For the time-based written examinations, say at the H2 Level, students offer between 2 to 4 papers and each paper is about 3 hours in duration. The format of the assessment items in A-Level papers would typically be open-ended essays/free response questions, structured questions, case studies and source-based questions. The design of the assessment specifications and assessment criteria, item setting, marking/scoring are done externally by the Board in collaboration with CIE. School-based coursework Assessment We have coursework examinations for a number of subjects which includes Project Work and Knowledge and Inquiry. The assessment tasks are typically for a duration of about 6 months and may involve producing a piece of product, oral presentation or an independent study/extended essay (H2: 2,000-2,500 words; H3: 3,000 – 3,500 words). Our School-based Assessment of coursework is tightly defined in that the assessment tasks are externally set by the Board/CIE but they are internally marked by the school teachers and externally moderated by the Board/CIE.
  • PW is unique on several fronts: Interdisciplinary coursework subject, compulsory for all pre-university students There is dedicated curriculum time for students to carry out their project tasks over an extended period. As a distinct interdisciplinary-based subject, it breaks away from the compartmentalisation of knowledge and skills to focussing on the interdisciplinary outcomes by requiring students to draw knowledge and apply skills from across different subject domains. It fosters collaborative learning through group work Together as a group which is randomly formed by the teacher, students brainstorm and evaluate each others’ ideas, agree on the project that the group would undertake and decide on how the work should be allocated amongst themselves. It requires every student to make an oral presentation Individually and together as a group, each student makes an oral presentation of their group project in the presence of an audience Both product and process are assessed There are 3 components for assessment: one product component is the Written Report which shows evidence of the group’s ability to generate, analyse and evaluate ideas for the project. The other product component is the Oral Presentation in which each individual group member is assessed on his/her fluency and clarity of speech, awareness of audience as well as response to questions. The group as a whole is also assessed in terms of the effectiveness of the overall presentation. The 3 rd component is the Group Project File in which each individual group member submits 3 documents related to ‘snaphsots’ of the processes involved in carrying out the project. These documents show the individual student’s ability to generate, analyse and evaluate (i) preliminary ideas for a project (ii) a piece of research material gathered for the chosen project and (iii) insights and reflections on the project. In carrying out PW assessment task, students would acquire self-directed inquiry skills as they propose their own topic, plan their timelines, allocate individual areas of work, interact with teammates of different abilities and personalities, gather and evaluate primary and secondary research material. These PW processes reflect important life skills and competencies such as knowledge application, collaboration, communication and independent learning, which would prepare students for the future workplace.
  • November 17, 2009: "Lessons from Abroad: International Standards and Assessments"

    1. 1. Lessons from Abroad International Standards and Assessments These webinars are a special presentation of Edutopia and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education in collaboration with the Council for Chief State School Officers.
    2. 2. Webinar Protocols <ul><li>Audio </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Listen online, or dial in: (312) 878-0222; code: 284-061-387. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Useful Information </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webinar ID: 238-667-279 . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use the Questions panel to submit questions. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>PowerPoint/Recordings </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You can download a copy of the PowerPoint at edutopia .org/webinar -november . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recordings of the webinar will be emailed. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Problems? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Call 1 (800) 263-6317 (U.S. & Canada). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Email [email_address] . </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Lessons from Abroad International Standards and Assessments These webinars are a special presentation of Edutopia and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education in collaboration with the Council for Chief State School Officers.
    4. 4. Acknowledgments
    5. 5. Linda Darling-Hammond
    6. 6. Lessons from Abroad International Standards and Assessments These webinars are a special presentation of Edutopia and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education in collaboration with the Council for Chief State School Officers.
    7. 7. From “A Nation at Risk” to No Child Left Behind <ul><li>1983: “A Nation at Risk” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our nation is at risk. Our once-unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world.” </li></ul><ul><li> — National Commission on Excellence in Education </li></ul><ul><li>1989: Goals 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>“ America will be first in the world in math and science by 2000.” </li></ul><ul><li> — President George H.W. Bush and state governors </li></ul><ul><li>2001: No Child Left Behind </li></ul><ul><li>“ We’ve spent billions of dollars with lousy results. Now it’s time to spend billions of dollars and get good results.” </li></ul><ul><li>— President George W. Bush </li></ul>
    8. 8. U.S. Outcomes in International Perspective (Eighth-Grade PISA Results, 2006) <ul><li>Science </li></ul><ul><li>Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Japan </li></ul><ul><li>New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Netherlands </li></ul><ul><li>Korea </li></ul><ul><li>Germany </li></ul><ul><li>United Kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. is 29th of 40 top nations </li></ul>Math Finland Korea Netherlands Switzerland Canada Japan New Zealand Belgium Australia U.S. is 35th of 40 OECD nations
    9. 9. Durchschnittliche Schülerleistungen im Bereich Mathematik Low average performance Large socio-economic disparities High average performance Large socio-economic disparities Low average performance High social equity High average performance High social equity Strong socio-economic impact on student performance Socially equitable distribution of learning opportunities High science performance Low science performance 15 Source: Andreas Schleicher, OECD
    10. 10. Differences Among Assessments <ul><li>Most U.S. standardized tests are designed to assess whether students learned what they were taught in school, focusing on recall and recognition of facts. </li></ul><ul><li>PISA is a set of international tests designed to assess if students can apply what they’ve learned to new problems and situations, focusing on inquiry and explanations of ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments in high-achieving nations increasingly emphasize demonstrations of learning applied in authentic contexts. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Schooling in the Middle Ages: The School of the Church Source: Andreas Schleicher, OECD
    12. 12. Schooling in the Industrial Age: Educating for Discipline Source: Andreas Schleicher, OECD
    13. 13. The challenges today: Motivated and self-reliant citizens Risk-taking entrepreneurs, converging and continuously emerging professions tied to globalizing contexts and technological advance Source: Andreas Schleicher, OECD
    14. 14. How the Demand for Skills Has Changed Economy-wide measures of routine and nonroutine task input (U.S.) (Levy and Murnane) Mean task input as percentiles of the 1960 task distribution The dilemma of schools : The skills that are easiest to teach and test are also the ones that are easiest to digitize, automate, and outsource
    15. 15. Race to the Top Fund and New Assessment RFP <ul><li>$4.35 billion in competitive grants to encourage and reward states creating the conditions for education, innovation, and reform; implementing ambitious plans . . . and achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring that students are prepared for success in college and careers. </li></ul><ul><li>$350 million for state consortia to develop new assessments of the soon-to-be-released Common Core standards, which better measure higher-order knowledge and skills. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Expectations for Learning Are Changing <ul><li>The new context means new expectations. Most studies include </li></ul><ul><li>ability to communicate. </li></ul><ul><li>adaptability to change. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to work in teams. </li></ul><ul><li>preparedness to solve problems. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to analyze and conceptualize. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to reflect on and improve performance. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to manage oneself. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to create, innovate, and criticize. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to engage in learning new things at all times. </li></ul><ul><li>ability to cross specialist borders. </li></ul>From Chris Wardlaw, &quot;Mathematics in Hong Kong/China: Improving on Being 1st in PISA&quot;
    17. 17. NAEP 8th- and 12th-Grade Science <ul><li>1. What two gases make up most of the Earth's atmosphere? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A) Hydrogen and oxygen </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>B) Hydrogen and nitrogen </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>C) Oxygen and carbon dioxide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>D) Oxygen and nitrogen </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Is a hamburger an example of stored energy? </li></ul><ul><li>Explain why, or why not. ________________________________________________________________________ </li></ul>
    18. 18. A Rich Task: Science and Ethics Confer (Queenland, Australia) <ul><li>Students must identify, explore, and make judgments on a biotechnological process to which there are ethical dimensions . Students identify scientific techniques used as well as significant recent contributions to the field. They will also research frameworks of ethical principles for coming to terms with an identified ethical issue or question. Using this information, they prepare preconference materials for an international conference that will feature selected speakers who are leading lights in their respective fields . </li></ul><ul><li>In order to do this, students must choose and explore an area of biotechnology where there are ethical issues under consideration and undertake laboratory activities that help them understand some of the laboratory practices . This enables them to </li></ul><ul><li>a) provide a written explanation of the fundamental technological differences in some of the techniques used, or of potential use, in this area (included in the preconference package for delegates who are not necessarily experts in this area). </li></ul><ul><li>b) consider the range of ethical issues raised in regard to this area’s purposes and actions, and scientific techniques and principles, and present a deep analysis of an ethical issue about which there is a debate in terms of an ethical framework. </li></ul><ul><li>c) select six real-life people who have made relevant contributions to this area and write a précis of 150–200 words about each one , indicating his/her contribution, as well as a letter of invitation to one of them. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Applications of Knowledge and Skills Assessed in Science and Ethics Confer <ul><li>This assessment measures </li></ul><ul><li>research and analytic skills. </li></ul><ul><li>laboratory practices. </li></ul><ul><li>understanding biological and chemical structures and systems, nomenclature and notations. </li></ul><ul><li>organizing, arranging, sifting through, and making sense of ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>communicating using formal correspondence. </li></ul><ul><li>précis writing with a purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>understanding ethical issues and principles. </li></ul><ul><li>time management. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Applying Knowledge and Reasoning Skills to Real-World Situations (Sweden, year 5) <ul><li>Carl bikes home from school at four o’clock. It takes about a quarter of an hour. In the evening, he’s going back to school because the class is having a party. The party starts at six o’clock. Before the class party starts, Carl has to eat dinner. When he comes home, his grandmother calls, who is also his neighbor. She wants him to bring in her post before he bikes over to the class party. She also wants him to take her dog for a walk, then to come in and have a chat. What does Carl have time to do before the party begins? Write and describe below how you have reasoned. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Worldwide, Reform Initiatives Generally Seek to <ul><li>emphasize expectations for higher-order skills along with rich content that represents core concepts and modes of inquiry. </li></ul><ul><li>teach less, learn more: Focus the curriculum on standards that are fewer, higher, and deeper to allow more time to apply ideas in depth. </li></ul><ul><li>increase emphasis on project work and tasks requiring research, analysis, application, self-assessment, and production. </li></ul><ul><li>expand assessment of these intellectual skills, including the use of performance tasks on tests and in the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>develop assessments of, as, and for learning. </li></ul><ul><li>arm teachers with learning progressions and greater capacity to use a wide range of assessment tools to analyze and support learning. </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Assessing Pupils’ Progress is a structured approach to tracking pupil progress in relation to detailed indicators of learning progressions within each subject area. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers use these descriptions of learning progressions to evaluate student progress using a variety of classroom assessments. </li></ul><ul><li>Centrally developed tests and tasks are sometimes incorporated into the basket of evidence, compiled as a student record file. </li></ul><ul><li>Scores are moderated (that is, reviewed and benchmarked for consistency) and reported to parents annually. At Key Stages (ages seven, 11, and 14), the scores are aggregated and reported in the national data system. </li></ul>England: Assessment for Learning Before High School
    23. 23. England’s GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) <ul><li>End-of-course exams are open-ended short-answer and long-answer tests. </li></ul><ul><li>School-based (controlled) assessments evaluate applied knowledge and skills and are directed by teachers in the classroom. School-based assessments count for </li></ul><ul><li>25 percent of the exam score in business studies, classical civilisation, English literature, geography, history, humanities, and statistics. </li></ul><ul><li>60 percent of the exam score in applied business, vocational and technical fields; the arts, dance, drama, and design; citizenship studies, engineering, English, health, ICT, media studies, modern foreign languages, physical and education. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Example of Tasks: GCSE English Nonfiction and Media: Responses to previously unseen authentic passages. Writing Information and Ideas: One continuous writing response—choice from two options. Information and Ideas Written exam 80 marks (40 per section) Three activities: a drama-focused activity; a group activity; an individual extended contribution. One activity must be a real-life context in and beyond the classroom. Speaking and Listening Controlled assessment (coursework) 40 marks Two linked continuous writing responses from a choice of Text Development or Media. Imaginative Writing Controlled assessment (coursework) 40 marks Responses to three texts from choice of tasks and texts. Candidates must show an understanding of texts in their social, cultural, and historical context. Reading Literacy Texts Controlled assessment (coursework) 40 marks Tasks Unit and Assessment
    25. 25. GCSE ICT Task (England) <ul><li>Litchfield Promotions works with over 40 bands and artists to promote their music and put on performances in England. The number of bands they have on their books is gradually expanding. Litchfield Promotions needs to be sure that each performance will make enough money to cover all the staffing costs and overheads as well as make a profit. Many people need to be paid: the bands, sound engineers, and lighting technicians. There is also the cost of hiring the venue. Litchfield Promotions needs to create an ICT solution to ensure that they have all necessary information and that it is kept up-to-date. Their solution will show income, outgoings, and profit. </li></ul><ul><li>Candidates will need to 1) work with others to plan and carry out research to investigate how similar companies have produced a solution (the company does not necessarily have to work with bands and artists or be a promotions company); 2) clearly record and display your findings; 3) recommend a solution that will address the requirements of the task; and 4) produce a design brief, incorporating timescales, purpose, and target audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Produce a solution, ensuring that the following are addressed: 1) It can be modified to be used in a variety of situations; 2) it has a friendly user interface; 3) it is suitable for the target audience; and 4) it has been fully tested. </li></ul><ul><li>You will need to 1) incorporate a range of software features, macros, modeling, and validation checks (used appropriately); 2) obtain user feedback; 3) identify areas that require improvement, recommending improvement with justification; 4) present information as an integrated document; and 5) evaluate your own and others’ work. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Singapore GCE A-Level Examinations
    27. 27. S INGAPORE E XAMINATIONS AND A SSESSMENT B OARD Project Work in Singapore, England, and the International Baccalaureate <ul><li>Interdisciplinary coursework </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive research (4,000-word essay) </li></ul><ul><li>Oral presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Both product and process are assessed </li></ul><ul><li>In Singapore, collaborative learning through group work is required and assessed </li></ul>
    28. 28. Common Practices Across Countries <ul><li>Assessments are part of a tightly integrated system of standards, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and teacher development at the state or national level. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments include evidence of actual student performance on challenging tasks that evaluate a wide range of applied skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers a re integrally involved in the development and scoring of assessments (as are college faculty). </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments are used to inform course grades and provide information to colleges and employers , rather than to determine punishments or sanctions. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessments are designed to continuously improve teaching and learning. </li></ul>
    29. 29. How Can Assessment Systems Improve Teaching and Learning? <ul><li>Together on-demand and curriculum-embedded assessments evaluate analytic and performance abilities that measure the full range of knowledge and skills represented in standards. </li></ul><ul><li>Moderated teacher scoring of both components supports professional learning about assessment, standards, and teaching and more common instruction and grading. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of learning progressions to shape curriculum and assessments allows teachers to see where students are going and how to help them get there. </li></ul><ul><li>School-based assessments provide models of good instruction and assessment, enhance curriculum equity, and allow teachers to see and evaluate student learning to inform teaching. </li></ul>
    30. 30. High School Biology Exam, Victoria, Australia <ul><li>When scientists design drugs against infectious agents, the term “designed drug” is often used. </li></ul><ul><li>A. Explain what is meant by this term. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists aim to develop a drug against a particular virus that infects humans. The virus has a protein coat, and different parts of the coat play different roles in the infective cycle. Some sites assist in the attachment of the virus to a host cell; others are important in the release from a host cell. The structure is represented in the following diagram: </li></ul><ul><li>The virus reproduces by attaching itself to the </li></ul><ul><li>surface of a host cell and injecting its DNA into the host </li></ul><ul><li>cell. The viral DNA then uses the components of host cell </li></ul><ul><li>to reproduce its parts, and hundreds of new viruses bud off </li></ul><ul><li>from the host cell. Ultimately, the host cell dies. </li></ul>
    31. 31. Analysis and Application of Knowledge <ul><li>B. Design a drug that will be effective against this virus. In your answer, outline the important aspects you would need to consider. Outline how your drug would prevent continuation of the cycle of reproduction of the virus particle. Use diagrams in your answer. Space for diagrams is provided on the next page. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ </li></ul>
    32. 32. Design and Scientific Inquiry <ul><li>Before a drug is used on humans, it is usually tested on animals. In this case, the virus under investigation also infects mice. </li></ul><ul><li>C. Design an experiment, using mice, to test the effectiveness of the drug you have designed. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ </li></ul>
    33. 33. School-Based Coursework Assessment Victoria, Australia <ul><li>In Unit 3 Biology, students are assessed on six pieces of work related the three outcomes specified in the syllabus. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome 1: three practical tasks (labs), one on plant and animal cells, another on enzymes, and a third on membranes. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome 2: Two practical activities related to maintaining a stable internal environment—one for animals, one for plants. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome 3: A research report/presentation on characteristics of pathogenic organisms and mechanisms by which organisms can defend against disease. </li></ul>
    34. 34. Teacher Collaboration: Test Design (Alberta, Canada) <ul><li>Identify student characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>Assist in exam blueprint development. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure curricular fit of the exam. </li></ul><ul><li>Write and pilot prototype multiple-choice and written-response forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Help develop writing assignments and their scoring criteria. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Teacher Collaboration: Reviewing Tests <ul><li>Each new examination form is reviewed by a committee that includes classroom teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>The committee examines both the written response and multiple-choice sections to ensure that the examination is fair and demonstrates fidelity to the curriculum. </li></ul>
    36. 36. Teacher Collaboration: The Marking Process <ul><li>Teachers help select student work for use in setting benchmarks and training scorers. </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers meet together to mark the written responses in a moderated process. </li></ul><ul><li>Scores are reviewed, benchmarked, and calibrated to achieve consistency. </li></ul>
    37. 37. How Might U.S. Assessments Become Internationally Comparable? <ul><li>Be sure that end-of-year on-demand tests include both short analytic questions and rich, open-ended tasks to demonstrate applications of knowledge and skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Organize a small number of curriculum-embedded assessments throughout the year around core concepts or big ideas in the discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>Enable teachers to score these tasks locally with common rubrics and incorporate them within local grading systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Create processes for moderation and auditing of scoring (like Kentucky portfolios and the New York Regents system) so results can be used in state accountability systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Include materials and supports for formative assessments within the curriculum materials tied to key concepts or units. </li></ul>
    38. 38. What Educators Can Do <ul><li>Access resources on developing more productive assessments. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with others to develop and expand performance assessments within local curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate for new approaches in state applications for Race to the Top, Innovation Fund and Assessment RFP. </li></ul>
    39. 39. Remember the Goal <ul><li>As Ted Sizer noted, the goal of education is for students to “learn to use their minds well” and to be able to apply what they know in the world beyond school. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of, for, and as learning should be designed with a primary aim of fostering these goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment systems should support the learning of everyone in the system, from students and teachers to school organizations and state agencies. </li></ul>
    40. 40. Q&A <ul><li>Please use the Questions pane on the right or use #edutopiawebinar on Twitter to submit any questions you may have. </li></ul><ul><li>For unanswered questions, we encourage you to continue the discussion at our new Assessment group, at edutopia .org/groups/assessment . </li></ul><ul><li>For additional resources, including the PowerPoint presentation and useful links, go to edutopia . org/webinar-november . </li></ul>
    41. 41. Thanks for Attending <ul><li>Let us know what you think by filling out the survey. </li></ul><ul><li>If you know anyone who would like to be a part of Edutopia , refer them to our membership page, at edutopia .org/join . </li></ul><ul><li>Stay tuned for Edutopia ’s upcoming webinar in December on Houston’s YES Prep North Central. </li></ul>