Formative Assessment for Improving Native American Student Learning and Language Development: A Series of Professional Learning Modules

Welcome to this professional learning series on formative assessment for Native American student learning and language development. This series addresses formative assessment implementation with Native students across content areas. 

Students' prior content knowledge and language development vary greatly from one to another. It is important that instructors know where each student is on their learning pathway, and then target instructional experiences matched to their learning levels and aligned to their cultural context. Students gain greater agency in this process through self and peer assessment. It is only in connecting with students where they are on their pathway, that students are able to progress towards meeting their Learning Goals. With formative assessment, teachers and students have the tools to do this work. 

   

 

How is this program structured?

This professional learning series includes a "pre-module" on working together in a professional learning community, an introduction to formative assessment, and four modules corresponding to elements in the formative assessment process. The elements are:

  • Establishing Learning Goals and Success Criteria
  • Gathering Evidence of Student Learning
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Evidence of Student Learning
  • Taking Pedagogical Action

 

Working Together!


We recommend that if possible, you work through these modules together with peers in a professional learning community (PLC). This PLC can be in-person at your school site, or a video/phone conference-based community, e.g., across rural schools in a district.

Our vision for using these materials involves:

  • Individuals, on their own time, completing one module section at a time. This includes watching the formative assessment video and any additional material, such as classroom videos, reading articles, and completing any handout or protocol activities that go along with the section. To support productive meetings, we’ve included a document on establishing meeting norms below.
  • After completing the section activities, individuals come together and meet with their PLC and discuss:
    • What they’ve learned through the videos and articles
    • Questions that have come up
    • Experiences/reflections related to implementing formative assessment in their classrooms
    • Goal setting for each participant

           Linked below is a sample meeting agenda for these meetings.

  • Additionally, teachers may come together for Video Study Groups (VSG). These are more targeted meetings to provide peer feedback to one another based on video recordings teachers take of their classrooms. To support this effort, we’ve included a sample initial meeting agenda and an agenda for follow up VSG meetings. Additionally, we’ve included an article describing video study groups and how they support teacher learning.
  • Lastly, we have included formative assessment observation protocols to help teachers set their own personal learning goals and to structure peer feedback. These observation protocols are focused on the different formative assessment elements and can be found in the various modules below. They provide a helpful picture of formative assessment practice, in several cases providing additional practical details to support implementation.

Meeting Norms | PLC Meeting Agenda | VSG Meeting Agenda 1 | VSG Meeting Agenda 2 | Learning in a VSG

 

1. Introduction

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Introduction to Formative Assessment

This section provides an overview of formative assessment. In this section, you will be learning about why formative assessment is  important, what each of the formative assessment elements is, and how teachers and students are involved in the context of a collaborative classroom culture.

 

Steps to complete section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete video exit questions. Note: you will be prompted to make a copy of the Google doc before using it. Keep track of where you save your Google docs in the course for later reflection. If you don't yet have a Google account. Click here to get started. 
  3. Review the oratory lesson example.
  4. Complete the Formative Assessment Lesson Reflection which will guide you through a reflection of your current teaching practice. 
  5. Before you implement formative assessment, read the Fundamentals of Learning (FOL) article which will help you structure your classroom in a way that is optimal for formative assessment. This article also lays the groundwork towards shifting the student role to more active participation in learning.
  6. Then review the rubric/observation protocol on classroom culture. Identify two areas of strength and one area that you can work on to increase the collaborative nature of your classroom. This will go a long way towards creating a safe space for student engagement, an element needed for successful formative assessment implementation.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsOratory Example I Formative Assessment Lesson Reflection | FOL Article | Classroom Culture Rubric 

 

2. Establishing Learning Goals and Success Criteria

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1. Learning Goals and Success Criteria: What are They?

This section further explains the relationship between Learning Goals (LG) and Success Criteria (SC). In this section, you will learn about how Learning Goals and Success Criteria are different from from one another, and how they differ from standards and lesson activities. You will also begin to see what they look like in different instructional contexts. Note: when you review formative assessment examples in grade levels or subject areas different from your own, consider how they may apply to your own instructional context.

 

Steps to complete section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the LG and SC examples from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions
  4. Complete the handouts with the Science and Writing examples. 
  5. Check out the classroom video linked below that shows how one teacher uses Learning Goals and Success Criteria to conduct formative assessment with persuasive essays. As you watch the video, consider the student role in creating and using the Success Criteria.
  6. Fill out the video viewing protocol to gain a better understanding of teacher and student practice with formative assessment.

Video Transcript | LG and SC Examples | Exit QuestionsScience Handout | Writing Handout | Classroom Video | Video Viewing Protocol 

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2. Learning Goal and Success Criteria Writing Tips

This section provides seven practical tips for writing Learning Goals and Success Criteria. You will learn about how to write Learning Goals and Success Criteria to optimize student progress, and will have the opportunity to implement Learning Goals and Success Criteria in one of your upcoming lessons.

 

Steps to complete section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Complete the math example handout.
  4. Decide which Learning Goals and Success Criteria are better than others in the Writing LGs and SCs handout. 
  5. Use the seven writing tips to write your own Learning Goals and Success Criteria with the Try it Out handout. Then see how they work in your classroom!

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsMath Handout | Writng LGs and SCs: Questions  | Try It Out!

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3. Sharing Learning Goals and Success Criteria with Students

This section elaborates on key considerations for sharing Learning Goals (LG) and Success Criteria (SC) with students. You will gain skills in supporting students to be active participants in the formative assessment process by engaging them in LGs and SCs. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on your recent lesson where you brought LGs and SCs into the classroom and set new goals for improving your practice.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video. 
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Read through the handout with the kindergarten ELA example, answering the questions at the end based on what you've learned so far about Learning Goals and Success Criteria.
  4. Complete the attached Lesson Reflection handout. In this handout, you will reflect on the recent lesson you taught using the Learning Goals and Success Criteria created in the last section.
  5. Review the Learning Goal and Success Criteria observation protocol/rubric. From the rubrics, select two areas of strength and one area for improvement. This can be a focus for peer feedback in your PLC/video study group.
  6. Finally, read the article, How Students Learn…To Learn, to deepen your understanding of students’ roles in formative assessment.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsELA Handout | Lesson Reflection | LG and SC Rubrics | Article

 

3. Gathering Evidence of Student Learning

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1. Think of "Evidence" Broadly

This section provides an overview of types of evidence, including student talk and student work, and self and peer-assessment. You will also learn about different evidence gathering strategies, such as asking targeted questions and observing.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the Types of Evidence from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions.
  4. Check out the Classroom Video Example linked below that shows how one teacher gathers a range of evidence while students are engaged in collaborative discussions.
  5. Fill out the Video Viewing Protocol to hone your analytical skills with formative assessment.

Video Transcript | Types of Evidence Handout | Exit QuestionsClassroom Video Example | Video Viewing Protocol 

watch video

 

2. Gather Evidence Aligned to Learning Goals and Success Criteria

This section helps you more fully consider whether you are making student thinking visible with your evidence gathering strategies, and whether the evidence you collect about student learning is aligned to the Success Criteria. You will also have the opportunity to plan evidence gathering opportunities in an upcoming lesson. 

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the Alignment handout with examples from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions
  4. Use the Try it Out handout below to start developing your own evidence gathering opportunities.
  5. Then try them out in your classroom!

Video Transcript | Alignment Examples | Exit QuestionsTry It Out!

watch video

 

3. Plan and Strategically Position Evidence-Gathering Opportunities

In this section, you will get to think through when and how to collect evidence while learning is in progress. This will enable you to keep teaching and learning in sync. You will also reflect on your recent lesson where you introduced evidence gathering opportunities into the lesson. Finally, you can assess your current practice using the evidence gathering rubrics and set a goal for next steps.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Complete the Lesson Reflection handout below which will guide you through reflecting on your recent lesson with evidence gathering opportunities planned into it.
  4. We’ve also included rubrics/observation protocols on gathering evidence for you to use in your reflection. Reading through these protocols can help you deepen your understanding of how to implement this stage of formative assessment in your classroom.
  5. Select two areas of strength from the observation protocols/rubrics and one area for improvement. These can be a focus for peer feedback in your PLC/video study group.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsLesson Reflection | Gathering Evidence Rubrics

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4. Capture a Range of Student Responses

This section guides you through the process of conceptualizing how your students will respond to instructional activities, and what these responses tell you about how student learning is progressing. You will learn about three levels of learning: emerging, maturing, and consolidated. This section provides examples of students at the three levels in the context of project-based learning. You will also have an opportunity to analyze different lessons by considering a range of evidence gathering strategies.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the Language Negotiation Example.
  3. Complete the video exit questions.
  4. Read through the Annotated Math Lesson handout which is annotated with the four gathering evidence ideas from this module.
  5. Check out the classroom video example linked below that shows how one teacher gathers a range of evidence while students are engaged in a rollercoaster building activity.
  6. Fill out the video viewing protocol to further support your investigation into formative assessment practices.

Video Transcript | Language Negotiation Example | Exit QuestionsAnnotated Math Lesson | Classroom Video Example | Video Viewing Protocol 

 

 

4. Analyzing and Interpreting Evidence of Student Learning

watch video

 

1. Analyze Relative to the Learning Goals and Success Criteria

This section explains how to analyze evidence aligned with Learning Goals and Success Criteria. You will learn how to go beyond interpretations of "got it" or "didn't get it."

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Check out the teacher example in the Reflecting on Evidence video, where one teacher takes us through her thinking process as she reviews student work and the quality of her students' peer feedback.
  4. Then complete the Analyzing Evidence Handout, where you will reflect on a recent lesson.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsReflecting on Evidence VideoAnalyzing Evidence Handout

watch video

 

2. Compare Evidence to Likely Range of Student Responses

This section supports your understanding of how to use student responses to analyze evidence. It builds off of the earlier section in the Gathering Evidence module on considering a range of student responses. It provides a classroom example with both science and language goals and student responses corresponding to each level. 

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video. 
  2. Read through the Science and Language Example from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions.
  4. Check out the Drama Lesson Plan example below that articulates each stage of the formative assessment process.
  5. Then complete the Try It Out handout that takes you through articulating your own anticipated student responses, using them in an upcoming lesson, and then reflecting on how it went.

Video Transcript | Science and Language Example | Exit QuestionsDrama Lesson PlanTry It Out!

watch video

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3. Use Multiple Sources and In-the-Moment Evidence

This section delves further into two types of evidence. One type is analyzed slowly and will help you understand patterns in the data. The other type is analyzed quickly and will help you respond in the moment to support students as learning is in progress.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the writing lesson example from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions.
  4. Read through the teacher example where she uses in-the-moment evidence to respond to two students with a misconception about their reading.
  5. Then complete the Using Multiple Sources handout which supports you as you look for patterns in the data.
  6. After, reflect on your practice using the analyzing evidence focused rubrics/observation protocols. One will help you reflect on your use of multiple sources of evidence to inform instruction. Another provides additional insight into how to elicit and analyze evidence during extended discourse, as well as how to respond to this evidence in the moment.
  7. Select two areas of strength and one area for improvement based on the observation protocols/rubrics. Use this to set your personal learning goals. This can be a focus for peer feedback in your PLC/video study group.

Video Transcript | Writing Lesson Example | Exit QuestionsUsing in-the-Moment Evidence | Using Multiple Sources Rubrics 

watch video

 

4. Take Account of Students' Prior Knowledge and Experience

This section describes how a teacher's understanding of students' prior knowledge and experience can help inform implementation of the formative assessment process in her classroom, in particular, making analysis of the evidence more accurate. This section will support your development of cultural awareness within the context of a formative assessment practice.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Complete the Prior Experience handout to support you as you consider how your students' cultures and prior knowledge can inform your planning of formative assessment and analyzing evidence.
  4. Then checkout this classroom video linked below where the teacher incorporates peer feedback as a source of evidence in a music lesson.
  5. Complete the video viewing protocol.
  6. Finally, look over the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools to give you a broader perspective on how to make your classrooms responsive to your Native students' cultural backgrounds.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsPrior Experience Handout | Music Classroom Video | Video Viewing Protocol | Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools

 

5. Taking Pedagogical Action

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1. Responding Contingently

This section guides you through responding contingently to students' immediate learning needs, based on ongoing evidence of student learning. It provides several examples of teachers responding to evidence, such as by providing tailored small group instruction, a whole group mini lesson, and individual conferences with personal goal setting.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video. 
  2. Review the responding contingently examples from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions
  4. Complete the Responding Contingently handout that guides you through reflecting on a recent lesson, with the lens of responding to evidence.

Video Transcript | Responding Contingently Examples | Exit QuestionsResponding Contingently Handout

watch video

 

2. Considering the Direction: Looping Back, Staying Here, or Moving Forward

This section delves further into the idea that, depending on the evidence, a teacher may need to revisit past learning, spend more time on the current learning, or continue moving ahead with the lesson as planned. To make this determination, teachers need to be familiar with how learning progresses in their content area. This section explains the role of learning progressions in this process.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Review the learning progression example from the video.
  3. Complete the video exit questions.
  4. Watch the classroom video on how one 4th grade teacher uses a learning progression with self and peer assessment.
  5. Complete the video viewing protocol. Suggestion: review your takeaways with a peer and see if you came to the same conclusions.
  6. Read the article, Learning Progressions: Supporting Instruction and Formative Assessment, to get more accustom with how to utilize learning progressions.
  7. Complete the Building a Progression handout to build your own unit-sized learning progression to support formative assessment implementation!

Video Transcript | Learning Progression Example | Exit QuestionsClassroom Video | Video Viewing Protocol | ArticleBuilding a Progression Handout

watch video

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3. Choosing the Right Pedagogical Strategy

This section supports your learning of a range of strategies that teachers can use to take pedagogical action, such as modeling, explaining, and giving feedback. It elaborates on what each strategy is good for and when it is most appropriately used. You will get the opportunity to try these out in your classroom and determine next steps in your practice.

 

Steps to complete this section.

  1. Watch the course video.
  2. Complete the video exit questions.
  3. Fill out the Try It Out handout to articulate your own set of pedagogical actions you'd like to take in an upcoming lesson.
  4. Then try them out in the lesson. If you videotape your lesson, you can share it with a peer for feedback and discuss it in a video study group.
  5. After the lesson, complete the reflection questions in the Try It Out handout.
  6. Review the descriptive teacher feedback observation protocol/rubric to choose two areas of strength and one area you'd like to improve. If you are asking for peer feedback on your lesson, this is a good tool to use to frame that feedback.

Video Transcript | Exit QuestionsTry It Out! | Descriptive Feedback Rubric

 

 

Additional Resources


Culturally Responsive Instruction for Native American Students

This series provides a framework for instruction that emphasizes experiential, active, and student-centered learning. It supports all teachers in creating culturally responsive instruction for their Native American students. 

 

Formative Assessment in Action

 

The Formative Assessment in Action Spotlight aims to provide educators with resources that support learning about the formative assessment process. The spotlight includes classroom videos that showcase formative assessment in action, and opportunities to deepen learning about formative assessment with video viewing protocols. Educators can use the opportunities to analyze others' practice with an eye towards incorporating new learning into current instructional routines. Note: you'll see some of the same classroom videos that are in this professional development program, plus many more!

CSAI-Developed Curriculum and Instruction Resource Collection

This is a series of resources that assist teachers and those who support teachers to plan teaching and learning of College and Career Ready Standards (CCRS) for all students with a focus on formative assessment.

 High-Leverage Principles of Effective Instruction for English Learners

New college and career ready standards (CCRS) have established more rigorous expectations of learning for all learners, including EL students, than what was expected in previous standards. A common feature in these new content-area standards is their emphasis on students’ use of language to articulate and convey understanding of the content. The heightened role that language plays in CCRS presents new challenges for EL students and their teachers by calling for improved instructional strategies that simultaneously address language and content-area learning.

The purpose of this resource is to provide teachers of EL students with effective, high-leverage learning and teaching principles that can be incorporated into daily instructional plans and routines.