Shelby County Schools, KY
June 12, 2020
"How do we develop a process for developing and implementing quality Performance Based Learning and Assessment aligned to our graduate profile competencies, our academic competencies and state standards?"We recognized that the traditional system of assessment as an instrument for accountability has highlighted the opportunity gaps for our low income students, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities. We want to view learning in more culturally responsive ways, and provide access and opportunity for all learners through the transference of learning. Through our learning grant, we sought to refine our assessment literacy as well as have structures in place to increase feedback to students around competencies named in our Graduate Profile. We connected with the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE), focused on learning the Quality Performance Assessment (QPA) framework. We established a team from each school, including a teacher team, an Instructional Coach and an administrator, to learn the protocols for QPA design and assessment. Using QPA Validation and Calibration Protocols, we have a system in place for making sure our assessments are fair, unbiased, and reliable. In order to have equitable learning, our assessment practices must continue to shift from viewing assessment as moments in time to building a culture of continuous feedback and reflection.
In February 2020, as a part of our continuing grantee relationship with ALP, a team from Shelby County Schools attended the first Assessment for Learning Conference in San Diego, California. There we shared the story of our journey, how collaborative partnerships have helps us along the way, and continued to learn alongside other districts who are focused on quality assessment in education.
One of the most powerful statements I heard at the Assessment for Learning Conference was about feedback. To paraphrase, “to give feedback to a student is a way to say I believe in you”. The power of feedback in assessment for learning not only pushes student thinking, but it also pushes students to self-reflect. In my work in Quality Performance Assessments (QPA) this year, one of the most powerful shifts in my thinking has been about conferring and giving feedback during the assessment process. Providing the rubric to students at the beginning of the QPA process allowed not only a specific focus for my feedback to students, but also for students to consistently self-reflect on their own demonstration of learning. This became especially powerful using a single-point rubric in the QPA. The single point rubric allowed students to not only clearly see their areas of growth and revision in the QPA process, but also the areas they were already at or approaching Mastery. This consistent cycle of feedback throughout the assessment process pushed all students closer to achieving mastery of the assessed standards.
As our students from Marnel C. Moorman School reflect on their experiences with QPA, we are hearing similar sentiments:
- “Memorizing versus knowing are drastically different...”
- “My performance can best be assessed when I implement what works for me.”
Drew (sharing how QPA motivates students):
- “Multiple choice can’t show you really know the topic because if you circle an answer, you have 25% chance of getting it right….(QPA)...allows students to choose how to show their learning with ...something that they care about.”
- “I talk almost every day about my project (I did to learn), I never talk about a test.”
- “We didn’t even realize the QPA was a “test”, we LIKE to do it!”
Naomi, on single point rubrics:
- “Looking at a normal rubric is overwhelming, there are THREE examples of how to fail or mess up….”
- How do we scale the QPA process in our schools/district in a systematic way that provides us common, valid and calibrated district academic and PoG competency assessments that help inform and propel the work of our goal of a more balanced assessment system for our district, and possibly for our state?
- How do we continue to deeply develop a culture of collaborative feedback and reflection as a part of assessment for learning?
Join with us, collaborate with us--and in this time of unprecedented change, let's Rethink Assessment--TOGETHER!
It is one step toward a fully Competency Based Learning system.
It is one more step toward equitable education for all students.