Authentic and Adaptive Assessment

Last course, I was in the planning process for a completely new type of professional development at our school. Since then, we've developed the course and have almost 40 instructors involved in our Coaching Partnership, which focuses on helping instructors set PEERS goals while pairing them with an instructional coach.

An important piece of planning this course was figuring out how to authentically assess our instructors in the program. We have 2 "summative" assessments, a few formative assessments, and a few co-planning sessions between teacher and coach.

Our first summative assessment - setting their PEERS goal - occurs in August. Our instructors are working on this piece now. They need to set a PEERS goal by the end of the month. To prepare for this, we had the participants complete a brief survey, asking them to identify 2 domains (homepages, grading, discussions, live learning sessions, and communication) where they felt like they excelled and 2 domains where they felt like they could grow to jumpstart their thoughts. Then, we met with the group synchronously in late-July. During this session, we discussed a PEERS goal and gave them a goal-setting "worksheet" to help guide their brainstorming. We also had them look at their results from the self-assessed Online Teacher Profile. Finally, we had a discussion assignment where they had the ability to look through other participants' courses as a "fishbowl walkthrough" since online instructors rarely get to see others' classrooms.

Once they've done these things, they are able to use their goal-setting "worksheet" to set their PEERS goal. After they have a draft of their goal, they post the goal in a goal-setting discussion where the cohort participants can interact and give constructive suggestions to each others' goals.

Lastly, the teacher will co-plan with their coach. In order to "scale up" our small-scale professional learning, we took a page out of our previous KSU personalized learning courses and are allowing them to submit a video walkthrough/explanation of their goal and their proposed method of reaching the goal. Then the coach and teacher can work asynchronously to hammer out a final goal and plan.

This asynchronous approach preserves everyone's valuable family time, since most of our teachers work in face-to-face classrooms during the day and keeps the co-planning session from becoming a gate-check that holds up the teacher.

By the end of August, the teachers will post their PEERS goals in our observation platform, KickUp, where all instructors post their professional goal(s) for the year.

We have a few other co-planning sessions during the year to allow the coaches to check in with their teachers and their progress towards their goals. Before each meeting, the teachers self-assess by using their optional goal-setting "worksheet" to help them check in with themselves and their progress ahead of meeting with their coach.

Finally, at the end of the year, the teachers will create an artifact to demonstrate their progress towards their goal throughout the year. We have a powerpoint template for them and they can record a Gallery Walk presentation and share it with their peers in a discussion. They don't have to use the template, but it's there to guide them if they need it. We also have an example in the course, so they can have an idea of where they are trying to go with their Gallery Walk.

By the end of April, the teachers can use their Gallery Walk video or powerpoint or other evidence to serve as their official artifact demonstrating progress towards the goal in KickUp.

I love this professional learning course because we've tried to customize it at every turn. Each teacher is working on a goal that they've chosen, including the instructional strategies. The work that goes into this course helps them improve the success of their students, so it's something they're doing while they are teaching instead of in addition to their teaching.

The coach is continually formatively assessing the instructors through the discussions and co-planning sessions. The "real" summative assessments are the goal posted in KickUp in August and the artifact(s) posted in KickUp in April.

At the end of the course, the teacher will have created a portfolio of their progress towards their goal in the form of co-planning sessions and discussions, even though only the final Gallery Walk is submitted in KickUp.

Throughout the course, the teachers can demonstrate their progress towards their goal using whatever method they prefer. We have provided some examples and templates as a starting point. It is important to note that instructors are not required to "meet" their goal - we simply want them to demonstrate progress towards the goal. This allows the teacher to set more authentic goals because it removes the worry about whether they will actually meet their goal or not. At the end of the year, they can choose to continue with their goal next school year, or decide that they've made enough progress and choose to work on something else for the next school year.


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