This is a presentation about academic assessments. The audience is new teachers
There are the obvious pieces, like how well the student can read a grade-appropriate text out loud, or write a sentence or paragraph. There are the less-obvious pieces, like their interests and hobbies. This is only the beginning, though.
In groups of three, share with each other what your understanding of what the purpose of academic testing is. Please ensure that everyone gets a turn to talk. We will come back together in five minutes.
Did you have any new learning?
Assessment means many different things, and can be used in many ways. In this presentation, we will look at the purposes of two of the three different levels of assessment: those done by the homeroom teacher and by the Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT). The third level would be a psychologist/psychometrist, but they tend to do psychological rather than academic testing, which is beyond the scope of this presentation.
When building your instruction and assessment, take into consideration the SEAL document, referring to your students ’ social, emotional, academic and learning skills and needs. Only by knowing your learners can you effectively program for them. Only by assessing them can we get to know them, and therefore plan for them. You start off with classroom assessment, and if further testing is required because you need more information than these can give you, you move it up to the next level. Your SERT can use more detailed, standardized assessments.
While this seems like a long list (and it ’ s daunting, though still incomplete), these are the kinds of things you should know about your students in order to instruct and assess well. Many of these things, though, can be understood through observation and some simple interest/needs surveys, often available online or from the Ministry of Education for free. The next page has some references to classroom assessments, and the one after that has some links to resources you may find useful.
This is a short sampling of assessments available to the classroom teacher. Some are normed, some are not.
You may need to “ play ” the slide-show in order to access the links in this slide. This is but a sampling. It ’ s a good idea to work through more than one version of a survey, to get a more accurate understanding of abilities and interests.
So - why do we do these tests? What are the benefits? Please consider the various types of assessment we have covered, talk in your group of three again, and come up with some possible reasons. We will re-convene in five minutes.
These tests are designed to get you multiple data points on a student, so you have lots of different kinds of information, that will enable you to provide the kind of instruction and learning opportunities ideally suited to move that student forward. We start out with typical classroom tests, and move on if we find that we need more, or more specific, information. In essence, we are trying to know our learner.
The assessments outlined above give a good overview of a student ’ s strengths, needs, learning styles and interests. However, sometimes it doesn ’ t give us enough information. When, or why, might you need to go beyond these tools?
With classroom testing, you get one teacher ’ s opinion about how a student is doing. With the standardized academic testing, you get a specific reading of how that student performs on specific tests, and can compare his or her results with those of thousands of other students of the same age. Instead of knowing that the student did poorly on the math test, you can see if it is a deficit of processing, or understanding of number concept, or other problem. This enables you to choose strategies that will be more likely to have an impact on their achievement. Having results of academic testing does not give you a diagnosis: that requires a psychologist, and probably more testing. They simply point out specific areas of strength and weaknesses. It also does not mean the child has a ‘ label ’ . Finally, it can rule out academic issues, and pave the way for further testing by a psychologist, PT/OT (physical/occupational therapist) or SLP (speech and language pathologist) to diagnose underlying problems. Academic assessments are required by the Psychology Services department in order to diagnose a learning disability (a student who achieves in the normal range, except for one or more areas of language and/or math). Next, we will look at a couple of assessments that SERTs typically use in our schools.
This is a great place to start with academic testing, especially if language seems to be the barrier - vocabulary is a strong indicator of underlying intelligence. It is quick to administer and score, and works well with students of varying abilities, ages, and backgrounds. It can be done by a SERT, ideally with Special Education Part 2 additional qualification. The PPVT can be the first step to seeing if it is a performance issue or a processing one.
The WIAT, or Weschler Individual Achievement Test, has been around for 20 years, and is in its third revision in Canada, though some school boards still use the second version. It has a dozen different sub-tests, and looks at reading, writing, oral language, and math. It is used to pinpoint specific shortcomings related to the sub-tests, outlined in the slide. The time required to test a student varies depending on the grade level of that student. It can be quite lengthy. This can be a valuable resource when looking for specific reasons behind poor performance on in-class assessments, and therefore indicate strategies to use. It can be administered by a SERT, ideally with Special Education Part 2 additional qualification.
Your SERT is a great resource for you! He or she may have suggestions you haven ’ t thought of. They may work with you to create a growth plan, looking at the assessment data you have on the student with a fresh, experienced set of eyes, and focusing on how to use the child ’ s strengths to enable their learning. He or she may also walk you through the In-School Team process at your school, looking at how a group of educators can come alongside you and support your instruction and assessment of this and other students in your class. When appropriate, they can also administer various academic (and other) tests, write an IEP (Individual Education Plan), and guide you through the IPRC (Identification, Placement, and Review Committee) process. If academic testing has been done, and the results seems incompatible with classroom results, it could indicate a lack of student interest, or something deeper. Your SERT may suggest the student is placed in the line for further testing, or give you strategies to test out with that student in class.
Assessment in Spec Ed
Academic assessments Figuring Out What’s In the Box
There are many parts to the whole student and sometimes we need help ‘solving’ the puzzles
prior knowledge• What are academic tests?• What is their purpose?
prior knowledge• Did you have any new learning?
What is this?Classroom vs. specialized academic assessments(SERT and/or psychologist/psychometrist)We need to look at the what, the why, and how
Tiering your approachThere are three levels to teaching and assessing:1. Classroom: understand your learners, socially, academically, emotionally, and their learning skills this guides your instruction and assessment2. SERT3. Psychologist/psychometrist
Getting to know your learners• You should know your students’: interests strengths, needs and abilities in reading; writing; oral and other types of communication; math (computational, organizational, number facts, spatial, geometric, etc.); executive functioning; memory; attention; concentration; behaviour; physical abilities (vision, hearing, listening, motor skills, etc.), and others learning styles/multiple intelligences
examples of classroom assessmentsReading: DRA, PM BenchmarkWriting: EQAO, OWA (Ontario Writing Assessment)Math: EQAO, various diagnostics, InitialMathematics Assessment Tool for English LanguageLearners, Grades K – 8All of the above: Ontario Curriculum Exemplars
why academic testing?standardized measuretakes out classroom variableslooks at specific skills and abilities, so you can compare abilityand achievementenables you to choose specific strategies that target theappropriate areas, and use the student’s strengths to improveachievementdoes NOT provide a ‘label’ for the studentpaves the way for further testing
PPVTPeabody Picture Vocabulary Test, version 4 (2006)It is an untimed test of verbal vocabularyGood for a quick estimate of a student’s verbal abilityor aptitude: can be done in 20-30 minutes, or lessGreat for students with reading or writingdeficiencies: easier and more accurate, because it’sbased on pictures
WiaT-II or -IIIWeschler Individual Achievement TestReading, Writing, Oral Language, and MathTwelve subsections: Word reading, Readingcomprehension, Pseudowords; Alphabet writingfluency, Spelling, Sentence composition, Essaycomposition; Listening comprehension, Oral readingfluency; Math problem solving, numerical operations,math fluency
When you need to know moreTalk to your SERT! Growth Plans In-School Team Academic (and other) testing IEP IPRC process