Educational Information is About to Change
1. Focus of the workshop
Despite an expanding interest in educational assessment and evaluation, teachers have not been given the skills and tools they need to carry out assessment and evaluation in a way that is useful for practical everyday decision making. The current initiative to apply the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides both opportunity and challenge to develop the methods needed to give teachers sound information on which to base the ongoing improvement of curriculum and instruction. This workshop will introduce participants to the fundamental concepts and skills that teachers will need to design and carry out assessment and evaluation activities related to the Next Generation Science Standards.
2. Outline of the workshop and instructional strategies
Part I, The Fundamentals of Educational Assessment and Evaluation (20 min): Through the lens of an experiential classroom activity called Cubes & Liquids participants will see how this activity exemplifies how to assess six core capabilities that are critical to success in the STEM disciplines, and its implications for assessment and evaluation related to the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will see how to decompose educational events to reveal the essential elements of educational processes, in particular the nature and purpose of assessment and evaluation. Participants will then be given concrete examples of concepts and techniques essential to building and carrying out assessment and evaluation activities with a particular focus on how information on student attainment over time can support program evaluation and improvement.
Part II, From Standards to Valued Outcomes (25 min): Participants and Presenters will work together, using an actual NGSS standard, to develop practical learning goals, and begin to identify ways to elicit evidence of student attainment of those learning goals.
Part III, Conclusion and Summation (5 min): Q&A. How can these professional capabilities be developed further?
3. Learning Objectives
a) The workshop is built around 12 learning objectives fundamental to the understanding and practice of educational assessment and evaluation.
b) The capabilities underlying these objectives are what teachers and educational specialists need to systematically address the question of “What was learned?” in a way that effectively supports daily educational practice.
4. Follow up
A follow up Forum on NGSS assessment and evaluation will be set up at the Forum for Educational Arts and Sciences. Workshop participants will be invited to enter a portal at that site where, under the supervision of the presenters, they will pose questions, share reports of their efforts to realize the content of the workshop, and carry on conversations with the presenters.
Session participants are also invited to visit the ACASE exhibitor booth, Educational Science in Action, if they would like to continue the activities and conversations begun at the workshop session.
5. Appeal to STANYS Membership
The workshop can be of interest to the full range of STANYS membership. The building of practical, valid and reliable assessments that support actual instruction related to NGSS standards is currently the most critical challenge facing these standards. If practical assessments can be developed that teachers actually use to monitor the attainments of their students’ progress on NGSS based objectives, a key component for success will have been put in place. Heretofore educational research and evaluation has relied on high-stakes, norm-referenced tests which do not provide the information needed for informing instruction and program improvement. Consequently, in addition to teachers, many educational specialists lack the foundations needed to build practical and useful assessments. Assessment is in essence the application of scientific investigation to answer the questions “What has been learned and how well?” Science teachers and those who have responsibility for the preparation of science teachers have a special contribution to make to developing a scientific approach to this question. The workshop aims at introducing those responsible for teacher preparation and professional development to the fundamentals underlying practical assessment and evaluation.
6. Presenter’s Expertise/Experience in the Topic Area
Paul Zachos, PhD currently serves as Director of Research and Evaluation for the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science and Education (ACASE), an independent association of scientists and teachers. He is a 30+ year veteran in the field of educational assessment and evaluation. He has provided services in these disciplines to individual teachers, schools, school districts, state and federal agencies and private industry. Paul delivered an online course for science teachers at the University at Albany, organized around an earlier version of these same learning objectives, for the Astrobiology Teachers Academy, a NASA NAI funded project of the New York Center for Astrobiology.
Monica De Tuya currently serves as Director of Programs and Operations for the Association for the Cooperative Advancement of Science and Education (ACASE). She spent over 10 years in the classroom at the elementary, middle, and high school level, certified in both special education and biology. She has experience as a consultant and resource room teacher for a charter school in Albany, New York as well as experience teaching Earth Science, Living Environment, and General Science at the Neil Hellman School of Parsons Child and Family Center, also in Albany, New York. She holds an M.S. in Secondary Education and is currently a Doctoral student in Information Studies at the University at Albany. Her research interests center on developing professional capabilities in educational assessment and evaluation; and creating value in organizations through information sharing and the development and measurement of training effectiveness.
7. Pertinent Reference List
Brown, Peter C., Roediger III, Henry L., & McDaniel, Mark A. (2014). Make it Stick. The Science of Successful Learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Doane, William E. J., Rice, Rebekah R., & Zachos, Paul. (2006). Knowing When You Don’t Know: Supporting teaching and learning using a new generation of tests. The Science Teacher, 73 (4).
Inhelder, Bärbel, & Piaget, Jean. (1958). The Growth of Logical Thinking. From Childhood to Adolescence. (A. Parsons & S. Milgram, Trans.). New York: Basic Books, Inc.
Johnson, Mauritz. (1977). Intentionality in Education. Albany, NY: Center for Curriculum Research and Services, State University of New York at Albany.
Lampert, Magdalene. (2001). Teaching Problems and the Problems of Teaching. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Zachos, Paul, Hick, Thomas L., Doane, William E. J., & Sargent, Cynthia. (2000). Setting Theoretical and Empirical Foundations for Assessing Scientific Inquiry and Discovery in Educational Programs. The Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(9), 938-962.
Zachos, Paul & Doane, William E.J. (2017) Knowing the Learner: A new approach to educational information. Shires Press, Manchester Vermont.