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A Teacher's Guide to Classroom Assessment: Understanding and Using Assessment to Improve Student Learning

ISBN: 978-1-118-11333-2
288 pages
April 2011, Jossey-Bass
A Teacher


A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment is a comprehensive guide that shows step-by-step how to effectively integrate assessment into the classroom. Written for both new and seasoned teachers, this important book offers a practical aid for developing assessment skills and strategies, building assessment literacy, and ultimately improving student learning.

Based on extensive research, this book is filled with illustrative, down-to-earth examples of how classroom assessment works in classrooms where assessment drives the instruction. The authors present the Classroom Assessment Cycle—Clarifying learning targets, Collecting assessment evidence, Analyzing assessment data, and Modifying instruction based upon assessment data—that demonstrates how one assessment action must flow into the next to be effective. Each chapter details the kinds of assessment evidence that are the most useful for determining student achievement and provides instruction in the analysis of assessment data.


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Table of Contents

Figures, Tables, and Exhibits ix

Foreword xiii
Ken O’Connor

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xxi

About the Authors xxiii

Introduction: Assessment for Classroom Learning xxv

1. Understanding the Varieties of Assessment 1

Part One Clarifying Learning Targets 13

2. Unpacking Standards and Benchmarks 15

3. Defining Student Expectations 31

Part Two Gathering Assessment Evidence 43

4. Understanding and Selecting Assessment Methods 45

5. Written Product, Portfolio, and Project Assessments 63

6. Designing Quality Classroom Assessment Tasks 77

7. Creating Useful Scoring Guides 93

Part Three Making Sense of Assessment Data 111

8. Tracking and Analyzing Results 113

Part Four Linking Assessment to Instruction 129

9. Revising Feedback and Instructional Plans 131

10. Using Assessment to Motivate Students 159

Part Five Related Assessment Factors 175

11. Rethinking Grading Practices 177

12. Challenges of High-Stakes Assessment 197

Conclusion: An Appeal for Change 213

Appendix: Reflection and Discussion Questions 219

References 229

Index 237

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Author Information

Susan M. Butler, PH.D. is a faculty member in teacher education at Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida. Formerly, she was senior program specialist in classroom assessment for the Assessment, Accountability, and Standards program of the Regional Educational Laboratory housed at the SERVE Center, University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Nancy D. McMunn is project director for classroom assessment for the Assessment, Accountability, and Standards program for the Regional Educational Laboratory housed at the SERVE Center, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Both authors are former classroom teachers.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Pilot-tested in numerous districts and teacher education programs.
  • Features step-by-step instructions for creating quality performance tasks.
  • Includes sample scoring guides, rubrics, and other assessment tools.
  • Helps teachers in analyzing student work and other assessment data.
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"At a time when educational reform on a global scale calls for understanding of assessment practices that enhance student learning, this guide should be in every teacher’s hands, in every administrator’s mind. Some books merely provide information for educators; this book changes behaviors."
--Helen M. Parke, manager, research and development, Cisco Learning Institute

"This book is an excellent tool for any educator or school system whose mission is the success of each of their students. Status quo will no longer do, and educators will find useful information, suggestions, and motivation in a very usable, easily understood manner. The authors have addressed problems of assessment and evaluations and different learning styles superbly."
--Eva C. Martens, president, Fairview, Oklahoma Board of Education

"A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment requires teachers to re-examine how they plan for and use assessment in the classroom."
--Carla Lovett, mentoring resource teacher, curriculum and instructional services, Bay District Schools, Panama City, Florida

"This book shows the teacher, by example, how to use assessment to improve the quality of learning for each individual student on a daily basis."
--Deanna B. Gooden, parent of a home-schooled child in Georgia

"Butler and McMunn provide both a compelling rationale for changing classroom assessment and a clear model for doing so."
--Glenda Carter, associate professor of science education, North Carolina State University

"In an environment of high-stakes testing, the most effective educators understand that assessment should aim to improve both learning and teaching. Thanks to the experience of veteran educators Nancy McMunn and Susan Butler, teachers engaged in implementing standards-based curriculum can use this book as a guide to demystify assessment and make it a part of a comprehensive instructional plan in every school. Tests teach; what we learn from them depends on our existing knowledge of their purposes and uses in our classrooms. This book should be considered a primer for all educators wishing to implement exemplary programs of instruction."
--Judy M. Couey, director of curriculum and instruction, Mississippi Department of Education

"What a powerful book to bring an understanding of assessment to the classroom teacher. This book is a must-read for any educator ready to ‘bump up’ their practices in the classroom."
--Hope Reagan, educational consultant and former teacher, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

"Steeped in theory and research, A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment translates research into proven classroom strategies that will help any classroom teacher improve student learning. It is a must-read for educators facing state and/or federal accountability."
--Patricia Schenck, district office administrator, Bay District, Panama City, Florida

"A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Assessment reflects the authors’ years of experience and understanding of how to relate powerful research and conceptual ideas into clear, accessible language. This book combines both the best research in assessment with practical applications, models, and explanations that teachers can use in classrooms."
--Jan Williamson, former North Carolina department of education language arts and educational consultant

“In this how-to guide for classroom teachers, McMunn and Butler offer sound, easy-to-understand ideas for designing good assessments at all grade levels. Their experiences and examples from both elementary and secondary classroom instruction make their work practical and simple to understand."
--Jane Bailey, director of teaching and learning, Petoskey, Michigan

"A real how-to book. Educators involved in the day-to-day routine of a classroom—teachers and those who observe them—finally have a ‘go-to’ guide for how to use assessment to make instructional decisions."
--Karen Charles, researcher and developer, RTI, International

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Related Websites / Extra

http://www.serve.org/Classroom-Assessment.aspx" target="_new">SERVE Center (Southeast Regional Education Lab)Learn more about assessment in the content areas from SERVE research.
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