MIT Developing assessments to quantify makerspace educational value

Lepine, Sierra.

CA

Yorio, K. (2018). “MIT Developing Assessments To Quantify Makerspace Educational Value.” School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=mit-developing-assessments-quantify-makerspace-educational-value

Describes an education initiative between MIT, MakerEd, and various school districts on East and West Coasts to develop and research the efficacy of assessments for Makerspaces and Makerspace projects/learning in K-12 schools. The idea is that makerspaces will be a better educational tool when student learning outcomes are assessed (and that there will be more buy in from teachers, parents, and other educational stakeholders), but that current traditional forms of assessment do a poor job of providing an accurate picture of non-traditional makerspaces impact on student learning. See also the iniative’s website, https://tsl.mit.edu/projects/beyond-rubrics/, for other similar projects and publications on non-traditional educational theory and practices.

I thought this was a really interesting concept, given the fact that makerspaces are an increasingly embraced educational trend, and that traditionally educational administrators and executives seem to value data – particularly quantitative date – as a means of evaluating programs above all else. I would be really interested in seeing what assessments MIT comes up with, what they look like, what they seek to quantify, and how hard or not they are to implement.

DeVos and Assessment

Mackey, Megan

CA

Nobles III, W.P. (2018). Betsy DeVos approves efforts to change English tests in Louisiana. Nola.com. Retrieved from https://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2018/07/betsy_devos_louisiana_tests.html

A short article on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s approval of Louisiana’s new assessments approved through the more flexible Every Student Succeeds Act.

The article describes how Louisiana will experiment with new assessments that use familiar texts with the students rather than randomly selected texts. While this initially seems like a good idea, how will this be standardized?  Will this lead us back to where we were before the Common Core when the quality of a child’s education vastly differed among states? I’m looking forward to following up on the results of this next summer after these new assessments are implemented and scored.

Using TRAILS to Assess Student Learning

Kolling, Kathleen

Curriculum and Assessment

Citation

Owen, P.L. (2010). Using TRAILS to assess student learning: A step-by-step guide. LMC, 28(6), 36-38.

Summary

TRAILS-9 is a knowledge test made up of multiple choice questions for grades 3,6,9, and 12 that assesses students’ knowledge of five information literacy areas: develop topic; identify potential resources; develop, use and revise search strategies; evaluate sources ad information; and recognize how to use information responsibly. It is great for teachers and librarians to use to capture a large amount of information quickly, to collaborate with classroom teachers, assess student learning, revise our instruction, and show evidence of our library’s impact on student learning. 

Evaluation

Using state test scores and TRAILS-9 scores, librarians can build standards-based lessons to bring to teachers, justifying their collaboration with data analyses. I was pleased to see that formative assessments are out there for librarians to use, specifically related to our instruction, and that they’re free! The four age levels available (Grades 3,6,9, and 12), are perfect check-in points for both teachers and librarians to see well students are receiving/understanding information literacy knowledge- midway through elementary school, the beginning of middle school, and the beginning and end of high school. I will definitely present this to my staff this school year.

Librarians and learning: the impact of collaboration.

Gomes, Kathline

Collaboration (CO)

McNee, D. & Radmer, E. (2017). Librarians and learning: The impact of collaboration. English Leadership Quarterly, 40(1), 6-9. Retrieved from: http://cccc.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/ELQ/0401-aug2017/ELQ0401Librarians.pdf

This article, written by a school librarian, addresses the online search abilities of students. The author compares assessment results of students who received cotaught lessons with students who received lessons only by the librarian. The authors found that better assessment results and deeper learning were achieved with coteaching.

I thought it was very interesting that while many of the students had Internet access, many lacked efficient online search skills. This lack contrasted with what teachers might assume, and with students’ own self-perceptions. The author notes that more than half of the students thought they were skilled at internet searching, with no formal instruction. However, this perception did not match with students’ actual abilities. This article is a good reminder of not only the power of coteaching, but also the importance of explicitly teaching these research skills.

Asinine Assessment: Why High-Stakes Testing is Bad for Everyone, including English Teachers

Van Duzee, Alyssa

(CA)-Curriculum and Assessment

Au, W., & Gourd, K. (2013). Asinine assessment: Why high-stakes testing is bad for everyone, including English teachers. The English Journal, 103(1), 14-19. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/24484054?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Assessment is something that puts pressure and undue stress on teachers, administrators, parents, and most importantly, students. This article discusses the idea that assessment actually seems to contradict not only the professional standards that are put forth by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), but also what educators feel is best. The article addresses the history of standardized testing, the validity of it and issues with scoring as well as what research has found to be more effective.

While this article does not specifically mention the library, it does help readers to understand some of the issues that arise when teachers feel this pressure to perform on standardized tests. The reader can infer that one of the reasons teachers may not come into the library is because they feel as though their curriculum is already so “tightly packed” and to come into the library would be adding another thing to their plates. It is then our challenge as teacher librarians to help them understand that we can not only help their students learn, but in doing do also help relieve some of the pressure and ensure that students are achieving at high levels.

Making personalized learning projects possible

Sasaki, Lori

ID

Schwartz, K. (2017, December 4). Tips and Tricks to keep kids on track during genius hour projects. KQED Mindshift. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/12/04/tips-and-tricks-to-keep-kids-on-track-during-genius-hour-projects/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20171210Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzPsREAV

This article outlines one teacher’s advice and experience around Genius Hour, or “20 percent time projects.” The teacher shares anecdotes and examples (including a student video) of the challenges and successes in implementing this kind of student-centered learning.

There is not a comprehensive explanation of the entire project, however the article touches upon various important stages, such as defining the problem, staying organized, and assessment. The tangible tools and tips (with lots of links to resources) for managing personalized learning projects helped to make this kind of learning process seem both inspiring and realistically do-able.