Simplifying Life. Simplifying Assessments

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Google Forms

Google forms are one of my favorite tools to make our lives simpler. If I need information, it goes into a form. If I want feedback –it goes into a form. This tool more than any other has allowed me to use so much less paper in my job. I’ve gone from being the queen of piles to super organized because everything curates into excel spreadsheets, graphs, and charts that are easily accessible in Google Drive.

As a teacher, forms gives you so many options. Think, tickets out the door, tickets, in the door, quizzes, and formal summatives. I want the teachers I work with to get technology to do the grading for them if it’s possible. Yes, we do projects and assessments where it isn’t, but if it is, have the technology do it for you! Forms also allows for branching so if a question is missed, it can direct students to the next question you want them to go to.

As a ticket in the door you can have quick data as to where students need to go that day; or, even better, teach students to use the to make decisions about what they need to learn based on that formative data. IDEAL personalized learning. Once students have that information they know they need to sit in the teacher’s group or go to station X, for example.

Go Formative

Another of our favorite assessment tools is Go Formative. The teacher easily creates an assessment. Then this tool allows the teacher to watch a dashboard as students are completing the assessment. Teachers can be circulating around the room as students complete it; or even teaching a small group while another group of students in the class are completing the assessment. It is also one of the most robust online assessments I’ve seen. It has drawing options (yay math teachers) and short response options.

Quizziz

Another favorite of students and teachers is Quizziz. This allows students to work at their own pace while teachers can show a leader board on the front board. This is in contrast to Kahoot! where everyone waits after each question for the entire class. It’s simple in Quizziz for teachers to create assessments, gather data, and use that data for instruction. The students love the memes that appear after each question. It’s the little things, right?

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An Instructional Leader

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As an assistant principal I consider myself first and foremost an instructional leader. When I made the decision to leave the classroom and make the move to administration, one of the strongest pulls for me was this idea of being an instructional leader and leading by learning. If as the instructional leader of a school, I don’t model through learning and I am not the lead learner, I cannot expect my staff to be teacher-learners thus improving the learning for their students. One of the most powerful ways to learn is through highly functioning Professional Learning Communities. Over the past year and a half we have implemented PLCs in my school. These groups have gone to work at tasks like analyzing students’ work, looking at formative assessments and data, creating common formative assessments, and analyzing standards vertically. Their work has grown over this time and teachers talk about how much it now impacts their practice.

Using ongoing data from their common formative assessments has been a change for the staff. Once they give these assessments, teachers chart their students by class and grade level as to those who have mastered the chosen standard, those who are close, and those who need more interventions to master that standard. Working with their teammates and having professional discussions gives them a sense of partnership to determine within these data teams how to get specific students where they need to be. By giving teachers the time, training, and tools to utilize formative assessments in meaningful ways on data teams — as a school we have been effective and impacted student achievement!

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