Let me just say that I really don’t know what I’m doing.
Except, I kind of do…..
I’m just not always confident in what I do.
I started summer vacation with a list of things I wanted to get done. I had three that were biggies. I got two of them finished. The third I have worked on almost every day, and yet it has been the hardest to accomplish.
Do you have tasks that you spend more time thinking about them rather than doing them? That’s how it has been for my idea to create a simple, but strategic assessment plan.
In my state, all teachers are evaluated with some of their evaluation stemming from how they respond to student achievement and plan for student growth. Including librarians. I am always very quick to say that (so far, as I can tell) we are not being evaluated based on “did they pass?” but on how we use assessment and knowlege of students to plan for instruction. Which is what we’ve all been doing since we left school with education degrees. Right?
Except, that gets tricky, doesn’t it? I assess my students. I evaluate their skills. But a lot of those
assessments are only based on observation. Some assessments are rubrics. Others are exit tickets. Some are graded assignments.
I asked my principal, “how do I take all of that and put it together so that I can show student growth?” “Should I be using one consistent type of assessment? Should I always use exit tickets or students’ ratings of their own learning so that I can show growth over time?”
My principal appreciates the diversity of assessment strategies I include in my lesson plans. But, it still remains a challenge to succinctly express what they have learned in my library domain. I decided to work on that.
My thought was two fold. 1. Simple is best. I wanted to create a series of assessments that can be done fairly quickly and don’t require a lot of testing. 2. I wanted each assessment to be able to fall onto a rating scale.
If I take a student response to an ‘interview’ question and can rate it on a scale of 1 to 4 of “did they get it?” and then also use an exit ticket and the SAME rating scale can I then put it into a chart and say “80% of my students have mastered this skill”???
I sure hope so because this is my plan! I started with Kindergarten. I brainstormed six areas of skills that Kinders often focus on in fixed (and flex) library classes. For each, I’ve thought of a few ways to assess “do they get the essence of this skill?” so that it can be recorded on a grid or spreadsheet.
Several of the assessments are simply interview questions. If you want to know that your Kindergarten students are being successful at choosing books they like, then ask them. For me, that’s one of the primary goals for Kindergarten. It meets that ‘Grow’ AASL Learning for Life Standard 4. We often teach our students about fiction and nonfiction books to meet the ‘Think’ Standard (#1) as they begin to find and use resources for themselves. I created fiction and nonfiction book covers to quickly assess if a student can use the cover to identify a book as fiction or nonfiction. You can also ask the student what their book is when they check it out. Assessment does not need to be time consuming. I think it just needs to be strategic.
I really contemplated making my Kindergarten package available completely free. To be frank, this is my plan for THIS year. I haven’t tried these yet. But I think they’ll help someone. (Maybe?) I would rather test it out, but that’s a year from now. And I don’t want to wait if someone else can find value in it. Which is why I think it should be free. It’s kind of a prototype. But, at the same time, I put a lot of time into creating fiction and nonfiction book covers, author and illustrator cards, curiosity cards, and parts of a book diagrams. So I’ve split my package into two parts. You can download my entire Kindergarten Library Assessment plan for free with the list of assessments, the class recording sheets, and a sample of the tools. The complete tool set will be sold separately.
Because Kindergarten is done, I’m releasing it out into the wild!! First through Fifth grades are still being tweaked. I plan to have them online by the end of September. They include similar topics: choosing library resources, using the catalog, ready references, choosing resources, features of nonfiction text, notetaking, source citation, plagiarism, searching for information online and some others! I’ll probably update the Kindergarten plan at that time. I want to get AASL standards added on to everything as well as CCSS where they fit.
Someone tell me I’m not crazy…..