Welcome back, everyone. I’m thrilled that you continue to join me as I dig deeper into the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES). My goal is to examine the difference between the top two categories in our state’s teacher evaluation tool. When we understand this difference, then we can begin to transition towards a personalized learning environment that empowers the students in our classrooms.

In TKES, assessment is divided into two separate sections. The first section is Assessment Strategies. This standard evaluates how teachers decide which assessments to administer to students. The second section is Assessment Uses which evaluates what teachers do with the information that they gather.

In order to personalize learning for our students, we must have a clear vision of how our assessments are going to reflect current and relevant learning. We also need to consider how we will transfer ownership of these assessments to our students, so they might begin to utilize self-assessment and see its value.

In TKES, assessment is divided into two separate sections. The first section is Assessment Strategies. This standard evaluates how teachers decide which assessments to administer to students. The second section is Assessment Uses which evaluates what teachers do with the information that they gather.

In order to personalize learning for our students, we must have a clear vision of how our assessments are going to reflect current and relevant learning. We also need to consider how we will transfer ownership of these assessments to our students, so they might begin to utilize self-assessment and see its value.

## Performance Standard 5: Assessment Strategies

*The teacher systematically chooses a variety of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment strategies and instruments that are valid and appropriate for the content and student population.*

Performance Level III envisions a teacher utilizing multiple assessments to attain a clear picture of students’ understanding. Diagnostic assessments work to give teachers information as they begin to plan where to begin. Formative assessments then help to make students’ learning visible so that teachers can make decisions on how to adjust their instruction. And finally, summative assessments provide teachers, parents, students, and stakeholders with an overall picture of the extent to which students met final curricular outcomes.

In the above paragraph, the teacher is seen making all decisions that surround assessment. This is an example where we see assessment as something teachers do “to the child” as characterized in Level III. If we want assessment to be something we do “with the child," then we must explore ways to personalize the process. One way to begin this process, as it is defined in a Level IV, would be to ask yourself two questions.

In the above paragraph, the teacher is seen making all decisions that surround assessment. This is an example where we see assessment as something teachers do “to the child” as characterized in Level III. If we want assessment to be something we do “with the child," then we must explore ways to personalize the process. One way to begin this process, as it is defined in a Level IV, would be to ask yourself two questions.

- “How valid is an assessment made by someone who has never worked with my students?”
- “What do my students learn when I am the one using assessment to monitor and reflect on their learning?”

## Choosing Assessments vs. Developing Assessments

*“I can develop assessments for my students by ____________________ so they can take assessments that are current and relevant to the learning inside of the classroom."*

The act of choosing an assessment implies that we are pulling from premade pieces that were developed in the absence of our students. This is a common and effective practice when we are assessing lower level thinking skills such as what children remember or understand within different content areas. When we assess higher-levels of thinking such as application, analysis, evaluation, or creation; then a child’s process might vary wildly from student-to-student.

Think of all of the variables that might go into a classroom where children are learning a task such as determining author’s purpose. There could be three different teacher modeled strategies that children are choosing from to execute this task. There could even be strategies that children have shared that they developed on their own or with partners that their teacher hasn’t even considered. This is only limited to the strategy! Now consider students who are selecting their own materials (real world resources) to apply their strategies. You might have one or more groups reading novels as book clubs, while another group of students compare articles from the internet, and two or three students reading independently amongst different genres. Now, where are we going to find an assessment that will measure the collective understanding of determining author’s purpose in a classroom like this? The answer is simple. We will need to develop one.

Think of all of the variables that might go into a classroom where children are learning a task such as determining author’s purpose. There could be three different teacher modeled strategies that children are choosing from to execute this task. There could even be strategies that children have shared that they developed on their own or with partners that their teacher hasn’t even considered. This is only limited to the strategy! Now consider students who are selecting their own materials (real world resources) to apply their strategies. You might have one or more groups reading novels as book clubs, while another group of students compare articles from the internet, and two or three students reading independently amongst different genres. Now, where are we going to find an assessment that will measure the collective understanding of determining author’s purpose in a classroom like this? The answer is simple. We will need to develop one.

## Monitoring and Reflecting on Academic Progress

*“I can transfer ownership of assessment by ______ so students can monitor and reflect on their own learning."*

In order to take this one step further, we could include our students in this process. Developing assessments alongside students provides them with an authentic opportunity to monitor and reflect on their academic progress. This process is characterized as Assessment AS Learning. Assessment as Learning, “focuses on students and emphasizes assessment as a process of metacognition (knowledge of one’s own thought processes) for students.” By implementing this type of assessment into our classroom, we empower our students to, “become adept at personally monitoring what they are learning, and use what they discover from the monitoring to make adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes in their thinking” Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind (41). In other words, we are engaging them in the process by transferring ownership of assessments. This aligns with our goals for personalizing learning because it helps to facilitate a student’s ability to internalize the process of self-evaluation. |

When personalizing instruction, we strive to place assessments in the hands of our students. This allows students to make decisions based on co-constructed assessment criteria. This is why this practice doesn’t fall into the Assessment Uses standard. The teacher has not yet assessed the student. The students become owners of the assessment process. This type of assessment also provides the entire community with a common language as goals are set, conferences are had, and revisions are made.

For example, a child sits down to explain the extent to how well they can use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions (5.NF.1). They begin by solving a problem given to them by the teacher. Then, they refer to a rubric that lists the criteria for each level of understanding. The student sees that solving the equation correctly while showing their work is considered a Level III. In order to receive a Level IV, they read that they must also compare their process to a non-example, or misconception. The student now returns to their notes and searches for common misconceptions when adding and subtracting fractions. Finally, they return to their work and synthesize this information to complete the problem at a Level IV.

This is what it looks like when the heavy lifting of learning is placed in the hands of the child. Children owning this process is what we want because we know the person doing the work is the one doing the learning.

For example, a child sits down to explain the extent to how well they can use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions (5.NF.1). They begin by solving a problem given to them by the teacher. Then, they refer to a rubric that lists the criteria for each level of understanding. The student sees that solving the equation correctly while showing their work is considered a Level III. In order to receive a Level IV, they read that they must also compare their process to a non-example, or misconception. The student now returns to their notes and searches for common misconceptions when adding and subtracting fractions. Finally, they return to their work and synthesize this information to complete the problem at a Level IV.

This is what it looks like when the heavy lifting of learning is placed in the hands of the child. Children owning this process is what we want because we know the person doing the work is the one doing the learning.

## An Interpretation

Once again, I must reiterate that this blog series is an interpretation. I am learning more and more about the process of personalizing learning everytime I struggle to put actions into words. I am so happy that you continue to join me as I attempt to make sense of this work. I am humbled that you are here on behalf of your students. Thank you for everything you do for our children. I appreciate each and every one of you. Please, let me know what you think of the series so far. I would love to hear from you.