Monday, June 20, 2011

Individualized Formative Assessment with Graphs Galore

I've blogged about this before, but recently I made some essential tweaks and stumbled upon the scientific basis for it from . . . wait for it . . . Marzano.  Bam!  That's right!  Oh yes, I most certainly did!  Get ready, as Tom Fuller would say, to pick up what I'm about to throw down1:

First, credit to Tonya for showing me this originally for use on OAKS, Oregon's state test.

Your students take a test.  In this case, it's a multiple choice test on identifying figurative language in Romeo & Juliet.  You spent a day or two going over the many different types of figurative language Shakespeare employs, using 2.2.1-30, where we first meet Friar Laurence (O'Brien, 1993, p. 156).  Then, you give them a short test on identifying some examples of simile, metaphor, personification, classical allusion, and soliloquy from Romeo & Juliet.

Now, if you're like me, you give your answer key to your student TA and ask her to mark wrong ones and put the total out of 13 at the top.  You just happen to check out Marzano's Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work from the professional development library on the same day.  You get home and sit down with a cup of tea for some easy reading, and get this:

(2006, p. 5)

And you're like "woah, -3% gain in student achievement!  That's not good!"

So the next day, you give your TA the tests again and ask her nicely to write the correct answer next to the ones she crossed off, explaining that it's not her fault, while she rolls her eyes.  Then you pop open Excel, because you want that .70 effect size.

So yeah, a class wide graph of their results.  That's cool.  You know what's cooler?  When every student gets a personalized copy of one of these2:

You know you need to hit simile through classical allusion on your reteach.  This student knows they need to study up on personification first, with a little bit of simile and classical allusion2.  You reteach, grade, graph.  The student gets a new chart that looks like this:

You get a new graph that looks like this:

A 24% improvement on similes, 30% on classical allusion, and 13% on soliloquies.  It feels awesome to know that your students can identify a simile or classical allusion written by the Bard over 80% of the time.  Not bad, but for the third test you know to prepare them by hitting metaphors and personification over the head since you're grading by proficiency, and your student is just a couple points below your required 10 out of 13.

One could use this on more than just multiple choice tests.  Rubrics that were used multiple times throughout the year, like 6-traits, could be charted to show student's growth in writing and areas to improve.

To give you a jump start, here's the blank Excel file - I've left the formulas in so you can see how they work.  I'm also including all the materials I used for this lesson, just in case you want to use it for Romeo & Juliet.

Excel results graph
Figurative Language Study Guide
Figurative Language Test #1
Figurative Language Test #2
Figurative Language Test #3

Works Cited

Marzano, R.  (2006).  Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work.  Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

O'Brien, P., Roberts, J. A., Tolaydo, M., Goodwin, N.  (1993).  Shakespeare set free: Teaching Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth.  New York: Washington Square Press.

1. My here intention is unbridled enthusiasm rather than any sort of pretentious arrogance.  Hopefully that's what's coming across. Go back.

2. The first time you make this in Excel, it does take some time - up to an hour depending on how savvy you are.  But once you have that chart created, you can just adapt it for every test afterwards.  Maybe 30 minutes for data entry, depending on how many sections you have.  I know time is precious, but try it once and go over the results in class with the graphs, and I think you'll see that it's worth it. Go back.

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