Using Classroom Assessment Data to Guide Instruction

Using Classroom Assessment Data to Guide Instruction

Toni P. Johnson (Penn Yan Central School District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8543-5.ch013


It is important that assessments used in a classroom reflect the standards that students are expected to achieve. When this occurs, the data collected can be used as indications of a student's proficiency in a language. This chapter focuses on how the data collected in the classroom can be used to guide instruction. The author begins with an overview of assessments that are available to foreign language teachers. This is followed by information on data collection and analysis. The second half of the chapter focuses on how to use the data to develop lessons that provide all students with the instruction they need in order to be successful in the foreign language classroom. Examples of analysis of authentic data and changes in classroom elements, as well as the need for a mastery mindset, are also presented.
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Assessment has become an unpopular word thanks in part to the number of tests that students are required to take for which the results are often used for teacher accountability rather than to assess student learning. However, assessment does not always mean taking a test, nor is it always synonymous with grading. When used appropriately and consistently at the classroom level, assessment is an important tool in helping teachers to answer questions such as: Did students reach their goals? Can the student apply what they have learned? Does the lesson need to be retaught? What should be included in future lessons? (Sandrock, 2012) By collecting and analyzing data from assessments, teachers are able to determine the answers to these questions. A wider view of assessment is used to determine the individual strengths and needs of their students and provide the instruction needed for them to progress. Using assessment as a tool rather than the source of a grade is somewhat of a paradigm shift for teachers. In order for this shift to occur, teacher candidates need new experiences with assessments. These experiences should provide teacher candidates with opportunities to: 1. learn how to create and analyze appropriate classroom assessments, 2. observe how these assessments are created and analyzed by classroom teachers, 3. implement what they have learned and observed in their own classroom, 4. share and discuss the assessments and data collected with like-minded instructors, classroom teachers, and other students, and 5. develop flexibility in modifying future lessons based on the data. (Graham, 2005) This chapter will focus on the collection and analysis of data from classroom assessments (the creation of assessments is beyond the scope of this chapter) and the changes in instruction that can be the result of the data.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ACTFL: The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages is the national organization that supports the teaching and learning of all foreign languages.

Classroom Elements: Components of a classroom that are important in providing students with a strong learning environment.

Personalized Classroom: A classroom in which instruction, materials, etc. are developed that help meet the individual needs of students.

Instructional Models: The strategies, materials, and organization of a lesson or series of lessons.

Learning Target: Statement that describes what a student is expected to learn or perform during a set period of time (class period, unit, semester, year).

Standards-Based Approach: Assessments and instruction that are based upon a set of standards that are expected to be met. These standards outline the knowledge and skills that students are able to demonstrate as they progress through a course.

Proficiency: The progress made in developing a certain skill.

Data: Information that is gathered from a variety of sources of student work. This information helps to guide the planning of lessons that meet the needs of students.

Success Criteria: Level of achievement on an assessment that a teacher deems necessary in order for a student to have demonstrated the required level of knowledge and/or proficiency.

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