Oser Communications Group

EdTech Show Daily Jan 21, 2015

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E d Te c h S h o w D a i l y W e d n e s d a y, J a n u a r y 2 1 , 2 0 1 5 2 0 TEN TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER ASSESSMENTS FOR MEASURING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT By Nikki Eatchel, Vice President Assessment Services and Professional Services, Scantron Corporation If you are a teacher, administrator, assessment professional or anyone involved in the assessment development process, you know the importance of get- ting it right – effective test questions are the most direct and accurate measure of intended learning outcomes. Quality assessment items drive how reliable and useful the results are in identifying and improving student achievement – the core goal of data-driven instruction. The following tips can help you get more out of your classroom assessments. 1. Focus on the stem. Ensure stems reflect an appropriate level of reading difficulty for the intended grade level of the item and that only information necessary to answer the question is included. Unnecessary infor- mation drives up the reading level with- out adding assessment value. If you use graphics, make sure the image is not con- fusing and that it illustrates the relevant part of the question. Be sure you are fol- lowing proper copyright laws when using images. 2. Provide effective distractors. Distractors should be plausible to stu- dents who have not learned the material. The key phrase to remember is plausible but clearly incorrect. 3. Include various levels of complexity. Bloom, Marzano and Webb offer classifi- cation systems to recognize and identify cognitive complexity. Using assessment items across multiple cognitive levels helps determine whether a student has a basic or complex understanding of a skill. 4. Be sensitive to bias. Being cognizant of stereotypes and bias helps ensure that con- tent is as free as pos- sible from offensive material, allowing students to focus on the skill being assessed. It also helps reduce measurement error caused by lack of familiarity with words or sce- narios that are not critical to what's being tested. 5. Consider text complexity. Include a variety of texts. This helps rein- force the rigor and specifications of applicable academic standards. 6. Allow time to review and edit items. Carefully analyze the content and con- struction of each item, ensuring answer choices are parallel and don't clue the correct answer. Include an independent review of aspects such as age appropri- ateness, bias, sentence structure, vocabu- lary, clarity and grammar/spelling. 7. Be consistent. Make sure items, passages and graphics adhere to the same style and format. Students attach meaning to every aspect of a test item and could be unintentional- ly misled by inconsistency. 8. Identify appropriate scoring. Points associated with items should reflect the relative weight of the skill and cognitive depth you are measuring. If you are including extended response items, provide rubrics to help with scoring. 9. Evaluate the technology need. Not every assessment requires technolo- gy-enhanced items. Sometimes multiple- choice items deliver the best results. 10. Consider how you're going to use results. Think about why you're giving the test. An end-of-unit progress check is different from an end-of-term exam, and a semester final may require still another approach. Developing effective assessments is not easy, but you don't have to go it alone. Scantron's team of assessment experts can provide professional development, consulting and item/assessment develop- ment services to help you transform your data-driven instruction and ensure you get the results you want. For more information, visit www.scan tron.com, call 858.349.9488, email bonni.graham@scantron.com or stop by Room #220E. PROJECT BASED LEARNING: THE GOAL IS YOUR STUDENT'S SUCCESS Educators are continuously seeking bet- ter ways for students to understand math and science (STEM). Aviation has a pro- found use of these subjects when build- ing flight plans. By creating a curriculum that embraces geometry, trigonometry, physics, meteorology, geography, topog- raphy and astronomy, students learn to solve complex problems using multiple math and science disciplines. edustation STEM Lab and edustation Flight Simulators deliver a unique STEM learn- ing platform that is engaging and fun for girls, boys and teachers. In addition to math and science skills, it incorporates researching aviators and writing a paper to support creative writing. The results are impressive. How? edustation K12 Manual. Starting a Flying Club in elementary, middle and high schools is a great way to introduce kids to the application of math and science. Incorporating its STEM Lab curriculum into the school's STEM program advances knowl- edge and embraces the Common Core and Next Gen Science Standards. The edustation K12 Manual comes with each simulator and is designed to teach the non- aviator teacher the basics of flying so there is no need for the teacher to have experience in aviation. The lessons are cou- pled with missions in the flight simulator, so the skill development is progressive. The K12 manual contains lessons with teacher notes for topics to explore. The edustation STEM Lab curriculum is in BETA and with regular updates. The complete curriculum will include a video tutorial for each lesson plan. Using video lesson plans trains the teachers so that the content is presented in a uniform manner that is exciting for the students. The goal is to support the student's math and science curriculum with Project Based Learning. Looking for money? www.edustationEd.com now has a web link to provide schools with Grant Funding partners who are interested in supporting STEM teaching activities. For more information, contact Jay LeBoff at jleboff@gmail.com or 203.527.5747, or stop by booth #1364. being transformed and made deliver- able in digital form. Books, databases and other digital content are rapidly populating the ever-growing list of titles and offerings that Mackin serves. As a company, we know we are at the forefront of this epic revolution, and it is quite exhilarating; but more enlightening is the speed and sheer enthusiasm in which students, schools and libraries are making the transition. Whether it's seminars that we attend or those that we facilitate, the talk, atten- tion and focus is all on digital, and over Mackin (Cont'd. from p. 1) the course of the past several months, that attention has been trained on Mackin. With such longevity in the field of education, and a track record of multiple successes and exemplary cus- tomer satisfaction, there's no company better than Mackin to lead the way into this new frontier. To learn more about Mackin and MackinVIA, visit us online at mackin.com or call 800.245.9540. For more information, visit www.mackin.com, call 800.245.9540, email mackin@mackin.com or stop by booth #518. DIGITAL COOKIE: HELPING GIRLS TAKE A BYTE OUT OF COMMUNITY ISSUES Without question, Girl Scout Cookies are a piece of Americana – right up there with baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. With the launch of Digital Cookie, it's become easier than ever for hungry cook- ie customers to find and buy Girl Scout Cookies. But most people don't realize the Girl Scout Cookie Program is about more than cookies – it's about turning today's girls into social entrepreneurs who give back to their communities. When people buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, they are participating in the largest youth entrepreneurial program in the world; a program that does more than any other to teach girls basic busi- ness acumen and interpersonal skills that will serve them the rest of their lives. And 100 percent of the net revenue earned from cookie sales stays with the local council, so girls can invest it back into their communities in the form of take-action projects that make their world a better place. What's most exciting is that in today's fast paced, high tech world, Digital Cookie is giving girls the skills and the tools they need to expand the concept of their community. By taking the Girl Scout Cookie Program online and adding this digital layer to the essen- tial 5 Skills of goal setting, decision mak- ing, money management, people skills and business ethics, we are also teaching girls the skills of tomorrow – like ecom- merce, online money management, app usage and website management, which will help them vastly expand their reach as social entrepreneurs. Developing digital skills alongside entrepreneurial know-how is imperative in this day and age, and Girl Scouts is thrilled to provide its membership with these fun and educational tools that will help them in school, the workplace and life in general. The Movement is using cutting-edge new techniques and systems to reach, recruit, retain and train the very best adult volunteers. But most importantly, it is using technology to help more girls benefit from Girl Scouting by delivering a fast, easy, seamless and consistent experience that teaches today's girls the skills of tomorrow. So when you buy cookies from a girl this cookie season, whether online or in person, just remember: you may be purchasing cookies from the next Sheryl Sandberg or Sally Ride – some- one who goes on to change our world forever and for better because of the skills she learned, the confidence she gained and the experience she had selling cookies through the ground- breaking Digital Cookie platform as a Girl Scout. For more information, visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie.

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