Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Meaning in Literature Grades 6-8
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

About Making Meaning in Literature: A Workshop for Teachers, Grades 6-8

Individual Workshop Descriptions

1. Introducing our Literary Community
2. Encouraging Discussion
3. Going Further in Discussion
4. Diversity in Texts
5. Student Diversity
6. Literature, Art, and Other Disciplines
7. Assessment
8. Planning and Professional Development
9. Starting in September...

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Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection
Ongoing Activity

Additional Reading


"One of the things that I really find valuable... with assessment is having the kids... reflect on their goals. What goals did you meet? What goals did you not meet? Why did you not meet these goals? What could you do next time... to meet those goals? What goals are you going to set...?"
Flora Tyler
6th Grade Teacher, Picacho Middle School
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Few aspects of education pose knottier problems for teachers and students than issues of assessment and evaluation. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, it is helpful to distinguish between them. Some educators are using the terms informal and formal assessment to make the same distinction.

Assessment means looking at what students can do in order to determine what they need to learn to do next. That is, assessment, whether of individual students or an entire group, is done to enhance learning and inform instruction. Typically assessment is holistic, often recorded anecdotally, via checklists, or simply as "credit" or "no credit."

Evaluation occurs after a concept or skill has been taught and practiced, and is recorded via a grade or scaled score, indicating the level of achievement or degree of competence a student has attained. Graded writing assignments, test scores, and report cards are common examples of evaluation.

A particular mechanism might serve as a tool for either assessment or evaluation, depending on how it is used. Written work, a performance, or even an objective test could be used either to assess student capabilities to determine further instructional steps, or to provide a quantifiable evaluation of performance.

Effective instruction is directly linked to thoughtful assessment and evaluation. As effective teachers develop curriculum, they are conscious of the ways in which both they and their students will assess progress and developing understandings. Assessment becomes an organic component of classroom instruction, and evaluation in such classrooms is designed to target the specific knowledge, skills, and understandings identified by curricular standards, presented via explicit instruction, and practiced as students develop mastery.

In Workshop 7, teachers focus on issues of both assessment and evaluation as they discuss both theoretical concerns and practical strategies for responding to student efforts.

For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our Support Materials.



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