The basic goal of assessment practices is to collect data to determine the effectiveness of instruction so that appropriate instructional modifications can be made.
To aid instructional programming, assessment should provide information in two areas.
First, information is needed to help the teacher select what to teach the individual student.
Second, information is needed to help the teacher determine how to teach the student.
Formal and Informal Evaluation
Categorized according to four specific assessment purposes:
Evaluating student outcomes
Individualized programming refers to an instructional program that enables the student to work on appropriate tasks or content over time under conditions that motivate.
The teacher matches the learner, the task, and instructional interventions to ensure optimal student growth.
RTI (Response to Intervention)
Response to Intervention
Response to intervention (RTI) models have received substantial attention since the reauthorization of IDEA in 2004. The law states that a local education agency is not required to use discrepancy formulae to identify a student with a learning disability, but may use, instead, a process that determines if the student responds to interventions that typically are effective (i.e., scientifically based methods and strategies) (Mercer & Pullen, 2009).
Response to Intervention
Tier 1 includes quality instruction in the general education classroom.
Tier 2 is designed to provide more intensive support and ongoing progress monitoring.
General education classroom teacher provides instruction in a small-group setting.
In Tier 3, students receive intensive intervention, often in a one-on-one format.
Four Steps of Individualized Programming
Assess to identify target skill or content
Determine factors likely to facilitate learning
Begin daily data-managed instruction
Stages of Learning
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Monitoring Student Performance for Determining What to Teach
Data-based instruction, a major principle of RTI
Curriculum-based assessment (CBA)
Curriculum-based measurement (CBM)
CBA refers to any approach that uses direct observation and recording of a student’s performance in the school curriculum as a basis for obtaining information to make instructional decisions (Deno, 1987).
Using Curriculum-Based Measurement
CBM is used to establish performance standards, measures are developed from the school curriculum and administered to all the students in a target group (e.g., all fourth graders in a school or district).
Administration procedures include using standardized formats and scoring performance in terms of rate correct per minute.
Sample reading administration format:
Randomly select a passage from the goal-level material.
Place it in front of and facing the student.
Keep a copy for the examiner.
Have the student read orally for 1 minute.
Score the student’s performance in terms of number of words read correctly, and note errors for instructional purposes.
**It is helpful to administer two or three passages and record the average score.
Individually Referenced Data Systems
Focuses on relevant classroom behaviors (e.g., oral reading rate or math computation rate).
Requires that a behavior be counted and recorded over a period of time.
Observational Recording Techniques
permanent product recording
Creating a visual display so that raw data can be analyzed
line graph, bar graph, ratio graph
Kerr and Nelson (2010) report that graphs serve three important purposes:
(1) they summarize data in a manner that leads to daily decision making,
(2) they communicate intervention effects, and
(3) they provide feedback and reinforcement to the learner and teacher.
Data must be converted into a form that allows for consistent graphing. Basically, this involves reporting three types of data:
percentage (the number of correct responses divided by the total number of responses and then multiplied by 100)
or rate (the number correct divided by the time).
Individually Referenced Data Systems
long-range goal performance monitoring
short-range goal performance monitoring
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Monitoring Student Performance
Instruction is most successful when:
The teacher initially counts only priority behaviors.
The teacher identifies strategies to facilitate timing and recording behaviors.
The teacher evaluates the recorded data frequently.
The teacher uses probes or curriculum-referenced testing.
The system remains a tool for teaching rather than a “cause” and is only used as long as it helps the student.
Strategies to Facilitate Timing and Recording Behaviors
The teacher can take group timings, especially on written activities. Some teachers, for example, time 1-minute handwriting samples, 1-minute math fact sheets, and 1-minute spelling activities.
Students can record time stopped and started. This can be done easily with a rubber stamp of a clock on the students’ worksheets.
A kitchen timer or prerecorded tape can be used to time sessions.
Students can work together and time and record data for one another. This works well with flash-card drills.
Students can read into a tape recorder or computer to create an audio file. Teachers later can document correct and error rates for either samples of behavior or the total session.
Strategies to Facilitate Timing and Recording Behaviors (cont’d)
Mechanical counters can be used. Single-and dual-tally counters as well as beads and golf score counters are available.
Counting should be done for a fixed period of time each day. Counting for different intervals confuses the data pattern because such factors as endurance, boredom, and latency of response may enter into the data analysis.
One-minute timings can be used because they are easy to chart and no rate plotter is necessary.
Aides, peers, student teachers, and volunteers can be trained to help develop materials and to count and record behaviors.
Assessment for Determining How to Teach
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Assessment Areas for Determining How to Teach
The first step in determining how to teach is to identify the major areas of assessment.
expectation factors –
stimulus events –
Expectation refers to an individual’s orientation to the learning situation
Stimulus (or antecedent) events include an array of materials, instructional methods, and classroom settings that set the stage for the student to respond.
Instructional Arrangements, Techniques, and Materials
Tasks usually require students to make a motor or verbal response, or both.
Selecting the type of response (such as pointing, making gestures, or writing) for an instructional activity can be crucial in the activity’s design.
Response time also deserves attention.
Consequences greatly influence behavior and can be used to motivate students and manage their behavior.
Some positive consequences frequently used to reinforce, and thus influence, student behavior:
special activities and privileges
positive physical expression
awards, tokens, and tangible objects
Results of a national survey of classroom grading practices of general education teachers indicate that teachers find certain grading adaptations (such as pass/fail grades, portfolios, multiple grades, and grading for effort) to be helpful for students both with and without disabilities (Bursuck et al., 1996).
The following types of grading alternatives have been used to accommodate the special needs of students in inclusion classes (DeBoer, 1994; Salend, 2008; Wood, 2006): one line about each
Individualized educational program grading approach
Mastery level/criterion systems
Guidelines for Developing an Effective Grading System
Determine grades on the basis of course objectives
Use multiple evaluation methods
Teach students to understand the grading system
Monitor the performance of students frequently and give feedback
Remember that an effective grading system is a motivational tool
Presentation format —Braille editions of test, use of magnifying equipment, large-print edition of test, oral reading of directions, signing of directions, and interpretation of directions
Setting of test —alone in a test carrel, with small groups, at home, and in special education class
Response format —mark response in test book, use template for responding, point to response, give response orally, give response in sign language, use typewriter for responding, use computer for responding, and receive assistance and interpretation with responses
Timing of test —extended time, more breaks during testing, and extending testing sessions over several days
Students often enjoy participating in recording their progress.
Teachers can gain satisfaction from having documented student progress.
Teachers can target learning difficulties and make timely interventions.
Teachers can share the progress of students with parents, principals, and other school personnel.
The data can be used to help make program and placement decisions.