Instructional Action Planning Cycle

ribbonThe intense focus on student achievement has put a spotlight on equity among schools, classrooms, students, and teachers. Districts of all sizes share the goal of ensuring that every student achieves.

Setting up a meaningful assessment-instruction cycle is the foundation of student achievement. Students benefit when formative assessment is used to provide feedback on their performance, so teachers can adjust teaching and learning.1 Knowing where every student is at all times is essential to academic achievement. So what information do you need? And how often do you need it? Well, that depends.

Formative Assessment
The very nature of formative assessment means that it is ongoing and informative. Using in-class assignments or simply listening in on group discussions are considered formative assessments when they are used to adjust or inform instructional decisions. Collecting a summary statement after a lesson in the form of an exit ticket is another way to gather formative data. The exit ticket can also be quantified by sorting the responses into broad categories such as “shows understanding,” “some understanding,” “no understanding,” and used to adjust instruction.

Summative Assessment
Summative assessment can take on a more formative look when the goal is twofold: benchmark growth towards standards mastery and those results will be used to inform instruction.2 Benchmarking standards mastery means creating criterion-referenced assessments.

Technology makes creating these tests easy when the computer-based assessment (CBA) contains a rigorous bank of easily identified standards-based questions. An item bank that attends to cognitive rigor is essential for selecting multiple questions for each standard being tested as is robust reporting. Look for reports that disaggregate data by

  • standard and substandard;
  • individual student; and
  • class, school, and district.

Analyzing results in a formative way, such as item analysis, can lead to timely grouping and instructional decision making. Item analysis is an effective way to

  • identify individual student strengths and weaknesses;
  • spot learning trends across classes, schools, and district;
  • group students for remediation or intervention; and
  • provide appropriate professional development.

Setting up a schedule to measure how well students are learning standards is a good way to also ensure that achievement is occurring in all classrooms. Many schools opt for a quarterly or semester approach; the frequency will depend on how often you want to take the pulse of learning in a more formal way.

Conclusion
A focused effort to assess student learning and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to inform instruction means striking a balance between formative and summative assessment. Regularly collecting and using information from all types of assessments for data-informed instructional decisions leads to improved performance of all students.

Looking for a classroom program to that is top ranked by users and offers formative and summative assessments and data to elevate classroom instruction? Measuring Up Live, rated over 85% in customer satisfaction and has a 90% rating for quality of items and assessments, is a state-customized digital program that offers assessment and adaptive practice options for teachers and students. Use the library of assessments or build your own with an extensive item bank that ranks items by difficulty and cognitive level. Measuring Up Live is the go-to program that offers a solid choice when implementing data-driven instruction that supports student achievement.
To learn more about Measuring Up and how it helps students build standards mastery, visit us at masteryeducation.com today!

1Ten Steps to Equity in Education. January 2008 Policy Brief. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from www.oecd.org on 6/4/18.
2What is the difference between formative and summative assessment? Eberly Center. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved from www.cmu.edu on 6/4/18.

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