Articulating Outcomes: Thinking Like an Assessor

One of the standards I chose to target was standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2, which states that students must “Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.” After writing several SMART objectives for students to use in order to meet this standard, I know find myself needed to plan formative and summative assessments to gauge if students are indeed on the right track.

To begin, I will start with a short reading comprehension formative task. In this formative task, students will work to fulfill the first SMART objective, which is that “By the end of the unit, students will be able to read a full grade-level text in a 60-minute class, and identify the main points that constitute it.” This formative task will have as an outcome to lay down framework, model how students can write a summary, and what kind of information is expected to be included. The task will be based on a reading from our textbook, Oxford English: An International Approach. Students will begin by researching the words in the word-pool, and look up any words in the scaffolded glossary to prep their understanding. They will read the text aloud with the teacher, and write or highlight key words that are relevant to the text. Following that, students will receive a scaffolded sheet that has a summary outline, but without the content – intentionally left blank for students to fill in. Students will be given a limited amount of time to complete this model e.g. 15 mins, and after, students will share their summaries in a think-pair-share format. Finally, the teacher will share their summary, and students will write notes on their worksheets. This exercise will be done a total of 3 times, with each one gradually becoming more independent (following a gradual release of responsibility approach). To finalize the formative task, students will summarize a different, grade-level, full-length text in the same format, but they will do so independently, and within one class period.

This task is directly in line with the standard, and will allow students to both increase their reading speed and reading comprehension in order to achieve it. If the students can accurately give a summary of the text, and include most or all of the main points, then it will be a good indication that they are both understanding and analyzing the information presented to them.

As a final step in the unit, I will want to give the students a summative assessment, and that will be in the form of a presentation. Students will be given a choice of different fiction and non-fiction texts to read. After choosing one, they will be tasked with reading, analyzing, summarizing, compiling and presenting their reports to the class. The presentation will need to reflect a purely informational perspective, and will have built on language use learned throughout the unit. For example, being able to recognize the difference between “poor” and “low-income” is one way to mark the difference between biased and un-biased language. This goes along with another SMART goal, which is that “by the end of the unit, at least 80% of students will be able to remember 5 out of 7 literary devices, and identify them in a grade-level text.” The assessment can run over the course of 2-3 classes, but will be a clear way to assess if students have understood all of the concepts involved.

This assessment will fulfill the second part of the standard, which is to “provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.” If the students can understand and remember the literary devices they have learned, they should then be able to accurately use them as well.

Both of these assessments fall within the SMART goal guidelines. They are specific in that they clearly spell out what students are required to produce: a summary, and a presentation. They are measurable in how the students identify and use literary devices to mark the main points of a text and their summaries. They are achievable as they are framed within the unit’s timeline. They are directly relevant to reaching the standard as they specifically target both sections of it. Finally, they are time-based as they will be set up to be executed in class, or over the course of 2-3 classes, giving students time to research, analyze and compile their work.

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