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MSP News: Performance Assessments

March 8, 2018


NEWS IN BRIEF


MSPnet Academy
1. Upcoming Webinar - RSVP Now! Cultural, Cognitive, Experiential, and Attitudinal Influences on Computational Thinking Development
Date: March 14, 2018 at 3:00 PM (EDT)
Presenters: Steven Moore and Roxana Hadad
To learn more about the STEM+C projects presenting this webinar, view their project videos in the Details Below.
2. Missed Last Weeks Webinar? - View the Recording & Join the Discussion! Challenges in the CS Classroom: Perspectives from Students with Learning and Attention Disorders
Join presenters Sarah Wille and Amy Cassata for a follow-on discussion to their webinar, Challenges in the CS Classroom: Perspectives from Students with Learning and Attention Disorders. This discussion will only run until March 14th, so post early. For those who could not attend, the recording of the webinar is now available to view.

New in Library
1. "The Promise of Performance Assessments: Innovations in High School Learning and College Admission," Roneeta Guha, Tony Wagner, Linda Darling-Hammond, Terri Taylor, Diane Curtis, Learning Policy Institute, January 2018.
2. "Developing and Measuring Higher Order Skills: Models for State Performance Assessment Systems," Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute, March 2017.
3. "In Praise of Assessment (Done Right)," Kim Marshall, Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018.
4. "Three Key Questions on Measuring Learning," Jay McTighe, Educational Leadership, February 2018.
5. "Putting Assessment Back in the Hands of Teachers," John R. Troutman McCrann, Educational Leadership, February 2018.
6. "Mission Possible: Measuring Critical Thinking and Problem Solving," Doug Wren, Amy Cashwell, Educational Leadership, February 2018.


DETAILS BELOW


MSPnet Academy
1. Upcoming Webinar - RSVP Now! Cultural, Cognitive, Experiential, and Attitudinal Influences on Computational Thinking Development
Date: March 14, 2018 at 3:00 PM (EDT)
Presenters: Steven Moore and Roxana Hadad

Description: Two STEM+C Projects (Evaluation of a Model Spatial Thinking Curriculum for Building Computational Skills in Elementary Grades K-5 (Spatial STEM+C) and Assessing Computational Thinking in Maker Activities (ACTMA)) will give short presentations of their work (see descriptions below), discuss similarities and challenges between the two projects and take questions from the audience.

Attempting to Level the STEM Playing Field with Spatial Thinking Training in Elementary School
Presented by Steven Moore from Evaluation of a Model Spatial Thinking Curriculum for Building Computational Skills in Elementary Grades K-5 (Spatial STEM+C)
Spatial thinking skills are highly predictive of success in entering STEM fields such as computer science, engineering, biomedicine, environmental science, and geoscience. Spatial thinking training interventions in middle school, high school, and college have been shown to be effective in helping students develop stronger abilities and succeed in gatekeeping STEM subjects. Such training may improve students' STEM success by strengthening their computational thinking and mathematics skills. Since 2015, the NSF-funded Spatial STEM+C project has been exploring strategies for bringing such interventions to students earlier in their educational careers. In a comparison-group study, the project implemented spatial thinking activities with K-5 students at a local elementary school in concert with spatial thinking, computational thinking, and mathematical assessments. The goal was to identify how computational thinking and mathematical performance were influenced by the spatial thinking interventions. In this presentation, I will present preliminary results regarding the spatial thinking abilities of our study population; how such abilities varied by gender, grade level, participation in out-of-school activities, and other factors; and whether the spatial thinking interventions influenced students' computational thinking abilities and mathematical performance.

Computational Thinking, Making, and Cultural Responsiveness
Presented by Roxana Hadad from Assessing Computational Thinking in Maker Activities (ACTMA)
In this presentation, we will examine an 11-day summer program for a diverse group of high school students that focused on developing physics knowledge and skills in a makerspace. Students learned about electricity, conductivity, circuits, and sensors, all while incorporating computational thinking (CT). In order to be responsive to the students’ cultural experiences, they were asked to share elements of their identity through “show and tell”, collecting data on how they spend their time, asset maps, and other hands-on physics-based activities. From an analysis of observations, interviews, notebooks, and artifacts created by the students, we will discuss how valuing student identity and building community can highlight how CT and physics affect students’ lives. This work has important implications for acknowledging the role and importance of culture, prior knowledge, and interest in the development of CT skills and the design of both formal and informal learning environments for youth underrepresented in computing and STEM.

To learn more about the STEM+C projects presenting this webinar, view their project videos below.

Spatial STEM+C: Developing Computational Thinking & Math Skills in Children with Spatial Puzzles, Games, and Building Toys, Steven Moore, Mary Moore, Julieta Perez, and Gary Scott, Spatial STEM+C, STEM for All Video Showcase, May 2017.
 
Assessing Computational Thinking in Maker Activities (ACTMA), Roxana Hadad, ACTMA STEM+C, STEM for All Video Showcase, May 2017.



2. Missed Last Weeks Webinar? - View the Recording & Join the Discussion! Challenges in the CS Classroom: Perspectives from Students with Learning and Attention Disorders

Join presenters Sarah Wille and Amy Cassata for a follow-on discussion to their webinar, Challenges in the CS Classroom: Perspectives from Students with Learning and Attention Disorders. This discussion will only run until March 14th, so post early. For those who could not attend, the recording of the webinar is now available to view.

Webinar Description: Efforts to expand K-12 computer science (CS) education opportunities across the U.S. include the new AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course, designed to attract a wide range of learners and broaden participation in the study of CS. An important step in diversifying participation in CS broadly involves understanding the range of challenges students face in the CSP course, and finding ways to address those challenges to support learning for all. Such work is especially critical for increasing participation of students with learning and attention disorders, who are underrepresented in STEM fields. This webinar describes findings from an NSF-supported study exploring ways educators and curriculum developers can make CSP more accessible for these students who learn differently. The study, carried out by education researchers at Outlier Research & Evaluation at UChicago STEM Ed, University of Chicago and expert practitioners at the Wolcott School (a college-preparatory school for students who learn differently), documented the learning experiences and challenges of twelve students enrolled in the 2016 - 2017 CSP course, using Code.org's CSP curriculum. During the presentation, researchers will share specific aspects of the course that students noted as especially challenging, and students' identified reasons for those challenges. We will close by sharing some strategies educators can use to make CSP more accessible for this student population.


New in Library
1. "The Promise of Performance Assessments: Innovations in High School Learning and College Admission," Roneeta Guha, Tony Wagner, Linda Darling-Hammond, Terri Taylor, Diane Curtis, Learning Policy Institute, January 2018.

"This new study looks at the use of performance assessments for both K-12 learning and college admission, placement and advising. The study is the first research produced through Reimagining College Access, a national initiative of the Learning Policy Institute and EducationCounsel that for the first time brings together K-12 and higher education policy and practice leaders to recognize and foster high-quality K-12 performance assessment systems."

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33395


2. "Developing and Measuring Higher Order Skills: Models for State Performance Assessment Systems," Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute, March 2017.

"This report discusses four models for integrating performance-based components into assessment systems, all of which have been used successfully at scale in states and nations around the world. It also discusses what is needed to assure validity, reliability, and comparability in the use of such assessments. These models--which can also be combined in various ways--include:

-- Performance items or tasks as part of traditional 'sit-down' tests.
-- Curriculum-embedded tasks that are implemented in the classroom during the school year, assessing more complex sets of skills.
-- Portfolios or collections of evidence that aggregate multiple tasks to display a broad set of competencies in multiple domains or genres.
-- Comprehensive assessment systems that include traditional sit-down tests, curriculum-embedded tasks, and portfolios and exhibitions leading to a student defense, each serving distinctive complementary purposes."

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33396


3. "In Praise of Assessment (Done Right)," Kim Marshall, Phi Delta Kappan, February 2018.

"High-stakes testing gets a lot of criticism, for good reason. But, when done right, assessment can be a valuable tool for educators and students. Kim Marshall describes how different types of assessments can improve learning by revealing learning problems in real time, improving student retention through the "retrieval effect," and enabling teachers to leverage peer instruction. They can also be used to promote a growth mindset by giving students ways to see and monitor their own progress. Conversation with schools will more easily shift to learning results and prevent knowledge and skill gaps as teachers collaborate around assessment results and school leaders become more aware of where students are."

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33397


4. "Three Key Questions on Measuring Learning," Jay McTighe, Educational Leadership, February 2018.

"To gauge different types of learning, we need a broader collection of measures, with a greater emphasis on authentic, performance-based projects. Educators, policy makers, parents, and others interested in improving the way we measure learning in today's schools need to examine three essential questions: 1) What really matters in a contemporary education? 2) How should we assess those things that matter? 3) How might our assessments enhance learning that matters, not just measure it?"

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33398


5. "Putting Assessment Back in the Hands of Teachers," John R. Troutman McCrann, Educational Leadership, February 2018.

"John R. Troutman McCrann, a math educator and teacher leader at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York City, writes that teachers' autonomy to design and assess student learning has been siphoned away. In this article, he makes an argument for why assessment should be left in the hands of those who know students and standards best--teachers--and provides recommendations to school leaders to implement meaningful, teacher-created performance assessments."

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33399


6. "Mission Possible: Measuring Critical Thinking and Problem Solving," Doug Wren, Amy Cashwell, Educational Leadership, February 2018.

"The authors describe how Virginia Beach City Public Schools developed a performance assessment that they administer to all 4th graders and 7th graders in the district. Wren and Cashwell describe lessons learned about creating good performance tasks and developing a successful scoring process, as well as sharing tools connected to this performance assessment system."

MSPnet Location: Library >> Teaching and Learning
http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/33400