CEP 813: CMS Assessment Design with Haiku Learning

Assessments should be used as a way to gauge where students are in their learning and the feedback from the assessments should inform both instruction and learning. However, I think that more often than not educators are forced to give assessments that generally don’t align with their instructional style and fail to provide insightful feedback. Sometimes I feel like assessments are used just to provide some sort of data to parents…to communicate a grade in a way that parents understand, even if it doesn’t serve a purpose for improving teaching and learning. For me, I didn’t understand math until I was in college and was taught to reflect on my learning rather than erase mistakes. Based on my personal experiences, for my online math assessment design, I included both traditional assessment measures and nontraditional assessment measures such as, reflective think-aloud, investigations that require problem solving, reasoning, and proof, and collaborative workspaces.

Through both my screencast and this post I am going to tell you about the assessment I created for 8th grade math students enrolled in a fully online math class using Haiku Learning.

CMS: Haiku Learning

Log-in Link to Haiku Learning Math 8 Course, or you can self enroll using this link and by entering 527L3. Keep in mind, this fully online 8th grade math course is something that I am still designing and working on. It is a perpetual work in progress.

Subject Matter: 8th Grade Math: Pythagorean Theorem Unit (Geometry)

Assessment Location: Unit 6: Pythagorean Theorem; Lesson 1: Assess.

Age/Grade level: 8th Grade

Role of intended student: 8th Grade Math Student

Type of course: Fully Online

CMS SCREENCAST LINK

CMS ASSESSMENT DESIGN/CREATION RATIONALE:

There are several reasons why I chose to use Haiku Learning for my CMS assessment design. First, haiku learning is both effective and efficient: the design is clean, user-friendly, and easy to manage from an instructor and student’s perspective. Haiku Learning also has gradebook and multiple assessment features built into the site making it not only a great platform to teach learn and assess but also to communicate progress and proficiency accurately and in a timely manner to both parents and students.

Additionally, Haiku learning is extremely efficient from an instructors perspective as content is easily embedded and uploaded, as you can see in the videos and the multiple-choice assessment on the site. Moreover, for both teachers and students, there is an equation editor available any time you choose to type, which is key for math students especially in an online environment. Lastly, the calendar, announcements, discussion forum and Dropbox are just a few great features designed in the CMS’s infrastructure that make assigning, collecting and assessing a well-organized process.

For this particular task, the assessments I created are designed to measure whether learners have reached the desired learning outcomes at the end of the first lesson of the Pythagorean theorem unit. Since assessment should inform both teaching and learning, I will show you how the lesson design, activities, and tasks align with the assessment tasks, goals, and standards.

As shown in the screencast, the lesson and assessments are aligned with Common Core State Standards for 8th Grade Geometry and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice. Additionally, I explain how the assessment tools I have created will be used to measure proficiency regarding the basics of the Pythagorean theorem: what it is; why it makes sense; and how to use it.

The Pythagorean theorem is one of the main topics covered in an 8th grade mathematics geometry unit, which is also a standard students will be expected to further develop in both high school geometry and trigonometry. Furthermore, the Pythagorean Theorem is commonly present on standardized assessments such as the M-Step and ACT, and in the ever changing world of standardized assessments, the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications have withstood the test of time, making it a key standard for secondary math learners.

Specifically, for this task, I created three different assessments. For the first assessment, I used the built in assessment creation tool in Haiku Learning. This tool, the equation editor, automatic feedback, and direct link to the gradebook made Haiku learning an easy choice for this assessment. The last two assessments utilize the discussion board tool built in Haiku learning. Again, the discussion board tool has a built in equation editor and also allows students to upload pictures and documents to their posts. Perhaps the most impressive tool, though, is the built in rubric creation tool that links rubrics directly to assessments, discussion forums, and the gradebook, making Haiku learning the best choice for all three different types of assessments I created. In addition to those unique features, the discussion board assessment tool allows for collaboration and stimulates conversation.

These three different assessment tasks are designed to give all learners the opportunity to show they have mastered the skills in the first lesson. By differentiating the instruction and assessments, I believe I will be able to more accurately gauge what students truly know in addition to identifying misconceptions. That is, the multiple choice assessment allows me to check their computation and retention, while the metacognitive problem writing and reflective proof re creation assessments allow me to assess transfer, or each learners ability to apply their learning to new scenarios, in addition to each learners ability to consolidate and connect new learning with old. For example, in the Starbursts Re-Creation Proof assessment, I ask learners to consider using half of a Cheez-It on one side of their right triangle. By posing that question, I will be able to see if learners have made the connection between irrational numbers and the Pythagorean Theorem. Additionally, by having students write and solve their own problems dealing with the Pythagorean Theorem, I can ensure that students understand both the math content and vocabulary associated with the Pythagorean Theorem and how to apply that to new real world contexts.

Taken together, these assessments will accurately and effectively measure whether or not learners understand what the Pythagorean Theorem is, when to use the Pythagorean Theorem, and how to use the Pythagorean Theorem.

REFLECTION ON ASSESSMENT DESIGN AND IMPROVED LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Moreover, after reflecting on this weeks task of using a Content Management System to create an assessment, I feel as though the assessments I have designed align with my instructional design, which I hope stimulates learners’ curiosity, engages them in differentiated tasks, and intrinsically motivates them. By creating a collaborative workspace, students are able to ask questions and participate in interactions between one another.

I’ve also included traditional quizzes and non-traditional performance tasks. In addition to traditional assessments, which students may try to cheat on but I feel are still necessary, the performance tasks allow students to demonstrate what they know and evaluate their own learning through reflection. I tried to balance the types of assessments so that they scaffold learning but also inform teaching and learning in different capacities. For example, the results from a multiple-choice test provide much different information on learners’ understanding than the evidence revealed through reflective posts or performance tasks. I don’t think that one form of assessment provides an accurate measure of students understanding, so I included various forms that allow me to gauge where my students are at and how they are progressing using different approaches. Through this process, students will receive feedback regularly from their peers and me.

  • What went into your choices as you focused on certain aspects of your assessments?   While designing my online math assessments I decided I would take what I have learned thus far in the MAET program about online learning, how we learn and instructional design and combine those factors with the format and design of many of my MAET classes, which are also fully online. In addition to the design, I tried to focus on efficient, yet differentiated presentations of lesson content and assessments that aligned accordingly. This task has proved to be harder than I initially thought it would be. I tried to focus on including both traditional and nontraditional assessment methods that allow learners to demonstrate what they know. So, in addition to multiple-choice-like assessments, I made it a priority to implement performance based assessments, reflective assessments, and collaborative assessments. Regardless of the assessment type, I also focused on providing feedback within and throughout the lessons and assessments. For example, responding to reflective posts or setting up quizzes so learners receive automatic feedback based on their correct/incorrect answers.
  • How will your assessment of your students be a tool to grow your students’ learning? The assessments shown in the screencast are designed to inform teaching and learning. Through immediate feedback on lesson quizzes students are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, that data provides insight to me as their instructor on which areas I need to go back and re-teach. Moreover, the assessments I implemented in each lesson are designed to stimulate collaboration and reflection. This allows me to assess learners understanding on an individual level and within a community. For example, in the third assessment, students are recreating a proof using Cheez-It snacks and posting their findings to the class discussion. They are also writing their own real world problems and providing insightful feedback to their classmates. Through differentiated assessments learners are receiving feedback from multiple sources and are making adjustments in their learning as they progress, which ultimately leads to personal growth. In fact, learners will not only grow by completing the assessment tasks, they will also grow by reading and providing feedback to their classmates and reflecting on the process. Through this process, by providing multiple different methods of assessment in each lesson, I hope that learners are appropriately challenged and stimulated and if they aren’t that the data collected from the various assessments informs my instruction and allows me to make changes.
  • How will students be involved in the assessment and evaluation process? The way students are involved in the assessment and evaluation process differs based on the assessment design. For example, in reflective assessments, students will receive personal one-on-one feedback from me, sort of like the feedback we receive in our portfolio for CEP 813. Based on my feedback and questions, learners are able to modify and edit their posts and assignments. Moreover, in collaborative assessments, students are involved not only by providing feedback to their peers, but also by responding to the feedback they receive from their peers and me. In additional to reflective and written assessments, students are involved in their lesson assessment quizzes based on how they respond to their immediate feedback and score. They should accommodate their study habits based on their performance scores so they can make improvements by the time they reach the unit summative assessment.
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CEP 813 – Module 1 – Annotated Assessment/Evaluation Exemplar

In Module 1: Foundations of Assessment and Evaluation, we were asked to take a critical look at the design of a typical classroom assessment we have used in our teaching profession. The assessment I am analyzing was designed as a summative assessment for an 8th grade math unit on the Pythagorean Theorem. The formatting/sizing of the questions may look funky because I built the test on Schoolnet, an online assessment and reporting system we use in my school district, so it is a digital assessment that I downloaded into a PDF version so you all could see.

Underneath the assessment shown below, you will find my critical analysis of the assessment.

Critical Analysis of Assessment Design:

a) How would I describe the design of this assessment? The assessment was designed as a summative (end of chapter test) for an 8th grade math unit on the Pythagorean Theorem. The assessment includes multiple choice, gridded (type in the number), and open response questions. The assessment is also designed to have at least a two question spread for each of the six skills (3 standards) I assessed.

b) What is the purpose of the assessment? Since it is a summative assessment, it is designed to be evaluative rather than diagnose. That is, the purpose of this assessment is to determine levels of understanding and achievement for each learner and convey that information to them in a transparent way, evaluate the effectiveness of my instruction and assessment design for the unit and make changes accordingly, measure each learners’ progress/improvement on each learning goal (skill in terms of growth and proficiency levels, and make decisions regarding students that need re-teaching and re-assessment before moving onto the next unit. Specifically, the purpose of this assessment is to convey the growth and mastery level of each skill for each student in a transparent way and report/record the achievement levels. The specific learning goals/standards are shown in part (c).

c) How does this assessment align, if at all, with the curriculum standards that guide my professional practice?  The assessment aligns with the Common Core State Standards for 8th Grade Mathematics. There are three standards that align with the unit, which are broken down further into six skills that can be seen in the document shown beneath the standards.

CCSS.Math.Content.8.G.B: Understand and apply the Pythagorean Theorem.

  • MATH.CONTENT.8.G.B.6: Explain a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem and its converse.
  • Skills for standard:
  • MATH.CONTENT.8.G.B.7: Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to determine unknown side lengths in right triangles in real-world and mathematical problems in two and three dimensions.
  • MATH.CONTENT.8.G.B.8: Apply the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points in a coordinate system.

d) What information will this assessment give me about each student? This summative assessment will tell me each students scale score for each skill assessed this unit. That is, I will know the level of understanding each student has in relation to each skill I assessed. I will also look for growth shown throughout the unit. Between smaller assessments covering each individual skill (concept quizzes) and formative assessments in class, the students and I have been tracking their progression throughout the unit. The summative assessment should reveal growth for each student from where they were at the start of the unit, where they were as we progressed in the unit, and where they were when they finished the unit.

e) How do I intend to use the information provided by this assessment? I use the information on summative assessments to tell me which students need to stay after for re-teaching sessions and a re-assessment. Students only re-assess on skills they aren’t proficient in, so they aren’t necessarily retaking the entire assessment. The nice thing about having concept quizzes and formative assessments throughout the unit is that most of the misconceptions and/or gaps in understanding have been addressed before we get to the summative assessment. Like I said previously, the summative assessment is evaluative rather than diagnostic. I typically have a good idea on what students know and how they are going to do before they take the summative assessment. I think the students would agree and say they also have a pretty good idea of how they will perform on the summative assessment. I use the findings from the summative assessment to report progress and achievement to students/parents in a transparent way. Further, I use the data collected on summative assessments to analyze, modify, and improve the assessment. Sometimes the data reveals that I may have a confusing or just plain bad question that needs to be thrown out or rewritten, so I use those findings to evaluate the effectiveness of my assessment, too.

f) What assumptions have I made about whether this assessment will, in fact, give me the information I need about the students who do it? I have assumed that this assessment will reveal accurate results regarding each student’s level of proficiency in each of the six skills. I have assumed that my questions are transparent, accurate, effective, and do not need to be modified. I have assumed that the scale scores I have established are accurate, fair, and represent growth and achievement levels accurately for each learner & each skill. I have assumed that students who practiced the skills and made improvements based on the feedback they received throughout the unit will continue to improve and will show levels of mastery for each skill being assessed. Contrastingly, students who have continuously not completed practice sets, concept quizzes, or participated in formative assessments in class assessments will lack growth in most areas and will not show levels of proficiency for most, if not all, of the skills being assessed. I have assumed that this assessment design will accurately assess all of the skills we have covered this unit. Lastly, I have assumed that the assessment can be easily broken down into the different skills being assessed to show where students need improvement and where they are proficient.

g) What skills have I assumed students have that will enable them to complete this assignment? I have assumed that students can read and work technology, since the assessment is online. I have also assumed that they understand how to use the online assessment and the embedded tools. In relation to the content, I have assumed that, when given formulas, students can perform mathematical operations to either simplify or solve equations depending on the scenario… although I am not sure I would say I assumed that information since this is the summative assessment and I typically have a pretty good understanding of what students can and cannot do mathematically at this point.

h) For whom would this assessment prove difficult? Why?  This assessment will be difficult for students who struggle with application of mathematical concepts and theorems in real world and mathematical scenarios. Moreover, students that struggle with relating mathematical formulas to word scenarios will struggle as several questions require deconstructing text and applying multistep mathematical computations. Students who struggle with graphing will also struggle with the skills that requiring graphing distances in the coordinate plane. Further, students who have not practiced the skills throughout the unit or worked towards improvement based on the feedback they received throughout the unit will also struggle on the summative assessment.

i) Based on my readings this week, are there ways that I can imagine re-designing this assessment so that it’s better in some way? Explain your rationale and justification for your re-design idea(s). I think there is always room for improvement, and after this weeks readings, I definitely think this assessment should be re-imagined and structured to motivate more students to want to do well rather than complete it as a means to an end. I think including a reflective piece or maybe a short answer portion where students write their own problem would be one way I could attempt to improve the design and learner motivation. Another idea would be to include some sort of project or performance task where learners complete the proof of the Pythagorean Theorem using manipulatives. Although, that is already a formative task we do earlier in the unit. I do think that some sort of hands on task would be a way to reach learners who are better at orally explaining what they know or physically showing what they know.

I think that the assessment I made is designed well in relation to the content and skills I want to assess and in terms of the information I hope to get form the assessment. Prior to this point there have been several formative assessments embedded within instruction and feedback has been provided several times daily, so my students have been able to diagnose weak areas and improve them before the summative. Perhaps, instead of giving the assessment online with all of the skills on one test, I could break the summative into six separate assessments so the learner has a clearer understanding of what skill is being assessed, although, reasoning to decide what the actual problem is or what the question is asking and then deciding how to complete the task is an important feature of the design of the summative test that covers all six skills. I think that separating the skills into separate assessments may trivialize the assessment all together. Part of what I am looking for is whether students know when to apply the Pythagorean Theorem or its Converse and whether or not they know which method, formula, and/or theorem they need to complete real world and mathematical tasks.