8083 MD5 Dis
Assignment Task Part 2
Respond to two colleagues of 125 words each : as a critical friend, offering additional suggestions or asking questions to clarify information that is unclear. Offer information from your research (cautions, issues, things to keep in mind) as you respond, and answer any questions posed to you.
Assessments are essential when making decisions for the early childhood classroom. Teachers effectively use assessment data to differentiate instruction for their students. For example, teachers are encouraged to use assessments like a letter assessment to determine what letters and letter sounds a student knows to inform instruction, this is extremely important because one size does not fit all. Some students will start kindergarten knowing all their letters and letter sounds, while others may begin the school year only knowing a few. Piasta (2014) explains the importance of letter assessment and assessment data to inform and differentiate instruction. Gullo (2013) states that well-planned assessments can inform instruction and improve programs for the betterment of students.
Assessment data is crucial for planning and differentiating instruction for all students and is also used as an accountability measure. Schools are encouraged to use assessment data to measure student success and compare scores to determine how to better student scores in the long run (Gullo, 2013). The school I work in is part of a framework the county uses to improve language and literacy for our early learners. The school has adopted a phonics and literacy program where the teachers teach a unit and assess students every ten days. The grade level teachers, academic coaches, and principals study the data and make decisions based on student performance. Individual students are looked at and teachers to determine how to help striving students and help develop teachers. The data is reported to the district level, where principals meet and discuss ways to improve scores and better train teachers. The information is also reported to the school board for accountability measures to improve literacy rates. This sort of data-driven accountability is vital to ensure that programs are being used and to make sure they are working.
Data-driven accountability is important for district wide decisions. However, teachers find it difficult at times to use some of the required data to make decisions in the classroom. Teachers should reflect on data collected through authentic assessments, informal, formal, formative, and summative assessments to better understand how to meet the needs of their students.
Gullo, D. (2013). Improving Instructional Practices, Policies, and Student Outcomes for Early
Childhood Language and Literacy Through Data-Driven Decision Making. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41(6), 413–421. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0581-x
Piasta, S. B. (2014). Moving to Assessment-Guided Differentiated Instruction to Support Young
Children’s Alphabet Knowledge. Reading Teacher, 68(3), 202–211. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.1316
Assessment is a critical piece of the education world. Oftentimes, assessment gets labeled as a bad thing due to a negative stigma it gets from state-mandated assessments that many view as a waste of time or not developmentally appropriate. However, those that truly understand assessment know that assessment is done daily in the classroom in both formal and informal ways through formative and summative approaches. Assessment can be used to influence many stakeholders from students to teachers to leaders which helps to demonstrate efficacy and accountability in the learning environment.
In the classroom, assessment should drive quality instruction. This means that teachers should be using assessment to determine the instructional moves they are making These instructional moves should include the enrichment of student learning as well as remediation of student learning based on misconceptions or student learning gaps. Additionally, data collection can help improve the quality of language and literacy instruction and can target teachers’ specific professional development needs (Gullo, 2013).
Outside of the classroom, efficacy and accountability can be demonstrated by administration and support staff by giving them data to make program and school-wide instructional decisions. These instructional decisions can be data-based rather than opinion-based. This data can be used during the accreditation process, during community meetings on the progress of the school/ program, or with district-level officials to display the progress of a school/ program.
Furthermore, making assessment data known to students can help increase student accountability. Students should understand how their learning and assessment data is used to determine their instructional tasks. Helping students to understand this can motivate them to work harder and help teachers get a true understanding of students’ abilities due to students giving their best effort on their work. Motivation for students can help keep students actively engaged in their learning and is often the basis for teachers when creating a lesson that is both meaningful and engaging (Griffith, Bauml, & Barksdale, 2015).
A potential issue that could occur as part of the accountability push is that assessment data could be used negatively toward teachers. When using assessment data to drive instructional practice, the administration must be sure to not make poor assessment results in a glaring issue for teachers to focus on. Administrators must understand that teachers are working tirelessly at their craft and are already reviewing instructional results and practices. Rather, the administration should focus on the positives in assessment and give additional instructional practices for teachers to implement in their classrooms. Lastly, just having data does not “ensure that it will be used to make informed decisions” (Gullo, 2013). It is up to those in leadership positions to use data effectively and appropriately in ways that will drive student progress.
Griffith, R., Bauml, M., & Barksdale, B. (2015). In-the-Moment Teaching Decisions in Primary Grade
Reading: The Role of Context and Teacher Knowledge. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 29(4), 444–457. https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2015.1073202
Gullo, D. (2013). Improving instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes for early childhood
language and literacy through data-driven decision making. Early Childhood Education Journal 41(6), 413-421
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