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Designing from the Ground Floor: Alternate Assessment on Alternate Achievement Standards

Part VI: Desigining the Content Linking Chart and Supporting Documents: Content Linking Tools

The Purpose of Part VI

Outcomes for Part VI: Content Linking Tools

  • Define assessment terminology used in linking process
  • Use "tools" to build common understanding among stakeholders about appropriate instruction/assessment content
  • Provide professional development materials that link to grade-level content
  • Identify content for instruction & assessment
  • Produce a Content Linking Chart

Alternate Assessment - Alternate Achievement Standards Development Site Map

  • Articulate policy guidance
  • Define assessment effective practice
  • Define population to be assessed
  • Define a theory of learning for assessed population
  • Review and articulate academic content standards
  • Use tools to evaluate content
  • Produce a content linking chart
  • Consider alignment procedures

The content linking document will be helpful for:

  1. in-service and pre-service training for teachers,
  2. parent information,
  3. individual student planning,
  4. school improvement processes, and
  5. developing the assessment plan.

Part VI focuses primarily on the process for designing a content linking document and offers participants a foundation to developing and thinking about an assessment plan. We will revisit important terminology as all stakeholders will need to be familiar with these terms to complete the content linking document and to successfully think about the assessment plan. We will then think about creating professional development materials that link to grade-level content and finally produce a content linking chart. Our site map indicates the activities that will take place in this section.

This section deals almost equally with the cognition and observation vertices of the assessment triangle as it focuses primarily on designing a content linking document as it offers a foundation to thinking about an assessment plan for the state (identify content for instruction and assessment).

Trainer Note: We will walk participants through a set of steps designed to select content and write the initial descriptions of the achievement standards. Participants will work in small grade-level groups that include both general and special education teachers as well as content experts in reading and mathematics. Each team will draft a set of curriculum/assessment maps and evaluate each standard for use in the content blueprint.

 

Integrated system of standards and assessment

  • Content standards
  • Curricula and pedagogy
  • Achievement standards
  • Assessments
  • Instruction
  • Reporting
  • Evaluation

Hansche (1998) suggests that effective practice in assessment should result in an integrated system of standards and assessments. The essential elements in such a system are content standards (i.e., what students should know), curricula and pedagogy (i.e., how they should be taught), achievement standards (to what degree of proficiency), assessment, instruction, reporting and evaluation.

The Assessment Plan should…

  • Identify content
  • Identify a coherent assessment structure
  • Define initial achievement standards
  • Define the assessments and the administration procedures
  • Define the inferences and reporting structure
  • Evaluate technical quality

Purpose

  • For the purpose of THIS module (Part VI: Designing the Content Linking Document), we will:
    • complete the first step of the assessment plan (Identify Content),
    • being thinking about how the rest of the design will be built on the foundation of the identified content, and
    • ensure a COHERENT assessment system as a foundation for the other steps in the assessment plan.

An assessment plan should identify the content of the assessment, a coherent structure, define the achievement standards, define the administration procedures, reporting structure, and finally evaluate the technical quality of the assessment instrument. We recommend that an alternate assessment plan be designed by a stakeholder group of professionals in measurement, special and general education, as well as parents or other significant participants. The plan for alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards should be built on linkages to the grade-level content then the other elements can be addressed more fully. For the purpose of Part VI: Designing the Content Linking Chart and Supporting Documents, we will complete the first step of the assessment plan which is to identify content. We will then begin thinking about how the rest of the assessment plan will be built upon this foundation to ensure a coherent assessment system.

We want to model alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards against this integrated system of standards and assessments. Therefore, we must develop assessments that identify and link to content standards, align with the curricula materials, as well as define reasonable but challenging achievement standards that will result in better student outcomes and improved instruction.

Revisiting Terms

  • Term 1: Academic Content Standards
  • Term 2: Grade Level Content Standards
  • Term 3: Academic Achievement Standards
  • Term 4: Alternate Assessments on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS)
  • Term 5: Alignment (of Content and Achievement Standards)
  • Term 6: Appropriate Challenge
  • Term 7: Technical Quality
  • Term 8: Universal Design

Revisiting Terms

  • Why?
    • We are revisiting terms because these will be necessary to clearly understand and effectively use the content "tools" in order to produce the content linking chart.

It is extremely important to revisit particular terminology within this section to help build a common understanding among stakeholders about instruction and assessment. We are revisiting these terms in order to clearly understand and effectively use the content "tools" to produce the content linking chart.

Academic Content Standards

Term 1: Academic Content Standards

  • Define what students are expected to know and be able to do
  • Contain coherent and rigorous content
  • Encourage teaching of higher order skills
  • Must be grade-specific or may cover more than one grade if grade-level content expectations are provided for each of grades 3-8.

(Peer Review Guidance, April 2004, p. 2)


Term 1: Examples of Academic Content Standards in Reading

  • Read a variety of print and non-print text to obtain new information.
  • Read and understand a variety of materials.
  • Read narrative and expository text aloud with grade-appropriate fluency and accuracy and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression.

Term 1: Examples of Academic Content Standards in Mathematics

  • Students develop number sense and use numbers and number relationships in problem-solving situations.
  • Identify patterns and apply pattern recognition to reason mathematically.
  • Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic representations.

Academic content standards define what students should know and be able to do and are often grade or grade/band specific for grades 3-8. Examples of content standards from language arts and mathematics are provided. The purpose of this workshop is to assist states in defining and linking their content standards in reading and mathematics for alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to appropriate grade-level content.

Grade-Level Content Standards

Term 2: Grade-Level Content Standards

  • Each content standard must be articulated to identify the learning outcomes/expectations at each grade level.
  • States have many different names for these expectations such as benchmarks, objectives, performance indicators, etc.

Term 1: Examples of Academic Content Standards in Reading

  • Read a variety of print and non-print text to obtain new information.
  • Read and understand a variety of materials.
  • Read narrative and expository text aloud with grade-appropriate fluency and accuracy and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression.

Term 1: Examples of Academic Content Standards in Mathematics

  • Students develop number sense and use numbers and number relationships in problem-solving situations.
  • Identify patterns and apply pattern recognition to reason mathematically.
  • Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic representations.

Access to ALL

  • All students should have access to and make progress in the curriculum based on grade-level content standards.
  • All assessment options should be linked to the student's grade-level content standards.

All students should have access to and make progress within the curriculum based on enrolled grade-level content standards. At the same time, all assessment options should be linked to the student's grade-level content standards.

Academic Achievement Standards

Term 3: Academic Achievement Standards

  • Answer the question "How good is good enough?"
  • Must be aligned with grade level academic content standards
  • Description of achievement levels (e.g., basic, proficient, advanced)
  • Description of rationale and procedure used to determine levels (standard setting)

Term 3: Academic Achievement Standards (cont.)

  • Academic Achievement Standards have:
    • Performance Levels – levels of achievement
    • Performance Descriptors – description of skills and knowledge necessary to meet each performance level
    • Exemplars – samples of student work at each performance level
    • Cut Scores – scores that separate the performance levels

Term 3: Academic Achievement Standards (cont.)

  • The NAEP achievement standard descriptors provide:
    • ONE example of how to describe "how good is good enough" in the grade level content,
    • are NOT alternate achievement descriptors, and
    • provide a good reference example.

Achievement Standard Descriptions of NAEP Grade 4 Reading

Basic

Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth-graders, they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences.

Proficient

Fourth-grade students performing at the Proficient level should be able to demonstrate an overall understanding of the text, providing inferential as well as literal information. When reading text appropriate to fourth grade, they should be able to extend the ideas in the text by making inferences, drawing conclusions, and making connections to their own experiences. The connection between the text and what the student infers should be clear.

Advanced

Fourth-grade students performing at the Advanced level should be able to generalize about topics in the reading selection and demonstrate an awareness of how authors compose and use literary devices. When reading text appropriate to fourth grade, they should be able to judge text critically and, in general, to give thorough answers that indicate careful thought.

 


Achievement Standard Descriptions of NAEP Grade 4 Reading

  • Achievement level descriptors define how good is good enough to be called "proficient" at the 4th grade, vs. basic or advanced.
  • NAEP 4th grade item map shows how achievement descriptors portray actual skills a student must show at each level (ALL the items reflect what students in fourth grade are learning).
  • NAEP examples can build understanding of the elements needed in your performance descriptors.

NAEP Reading Item Map (Advanced)

  • 360
  • 352 Extend relevant information to make an inference (CR)
  • 350
  • 340
  • 330
  • 322 Explain causal relation between pieces of text information (CR)
  • 320
  • 319 Use metaphor to compare story characters (CR)
  • 310
  • 301 Describe character's changing feelings and explain cause (CR)
  • 300
  • 294 Provide and explain an alternative ending to a story (CR)
  • 290
  • 286 Provide alternative title and support with story details (CR)
  • 280
  • 270 Explain author's use of direct quotations (CR)
  • 270
  • 269 Use character trait to compare to prior knowledge (CR)
  • 268  Advanced     

NAEP Reading Item Map (Proficient)

  • 266 Provide overall message of story (CR)
  • 262 Explain author's statement with text information (CR)
  • 260
  • 257 Discriminate between closely related ideas (MC)
  • 255 Make inference to identify character motivation (MC)
  • 250 Retrieve relevant information to fit description (CR)
  • 250
  • 245 Provide a cause for character's emotion (CR)
  • 240 Identify explicit embedded information related to main topic (MC)
  • 240 Provide text-based lesson (CR)
  • 240
  • 239 Identify main theme of story (MC)
  • 238  Proficient            

NAEP Reading Item Map (Basic)

  • 232 Retrieve text details to make a comparison (CR)
  • 230 Use prior knowledge to make text-related comparison (CR)
  • 230
  • 226 Recognize main reason that supports idea (MC)
  • 221 Recognize meaning of specialized vocabulary from context (MC)
  • 220
  • 214 Retrieve text details to provide a description (CR)
  • 213 Provide text-based inference (CR)
  • 210 Recognize text-based inference (MC)
  • 210
  • 208  Basic             

Academic achievement standards are summary descriptions of how well a student should demonstrate proficiency in a content domain and is often described in at least three levels (e.g., Basic, Proficient, or Advanced). Slide 20 is an example of the NAEP 4 th grade reading achievement standards descriptors. Achievement level descriptors define how good is good enough to be called "proficient" at the 4th grade, vs. basic or advanced. By looking at examples of the corresponding 4th grade NAEP item map of the kinds of skills that a student must show at each level, you can see how the achievement descriptors fit the actual skills of students on tests - but ALL the items reflect what students in fourth grade are learning. These examples can help your stakeholders build understanding of what your proficiency descriptors should describe.

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