Follow the steps to create useful performance data

  1. Identify an important learning outcome for all students to gain during an instructional cycle. Important learnings are the skills and/or content all students must learn during this instructional period. This learning should build on the past, while moving students toward larger learning goals. Important learnings are called many different names, use what works for you.
  2. Identify the standards, including skills and concepts, that make up this learning. Prioritize or rank the standards, including skills and concepts, by importance and difficulty to learn. This will help you decide on a focus for instruction, and assist in creating summative, diagnostic, and formative assessments. Elementary teams, or any team that plans together, should look across content areas for skills, concepts, and opportunities that support the intended learning.
  3. Design a summative assessment to measure the intended learning outcome. The type of assessment will vary based on the desired outcome. An idea would be to create a performance task with embedded formative experiences that work to help students learn and adjust during instruction, leading up to an individually completed final task. This method provides scaffolding opportunities during instruction, without the need to ‘teach to’ or over-prepare students for summative success.
  4. Create a diagnostic assessment to gauge student preparedness for the learning cycle. If you have identified important and difficult standards, along with the skills or content in those standards, it may be wise to include only those on the diagnostic. Standards with skills that historically are easier for students to grasp, or have recent performance data to analyze, can be left off the diagnostic. Recent performance data or work-product will help diagnostic decisions, and reduce the diagnostic length. Look for ways to get the best diagnostic with the least amount of time and effort.
  5. Develop an instructional flow, along with lesson ideas for the intended learning. This will move actual learning closer to intended learning. As you develop the instructional plan, anticipate reteach or intervention points based on important or complex skills and concepts. You can adjust the flow once you have some diagnostic data, subtracting in some places and adding in others. In some cases, the team may have slightly different flows as student population will vary. The end goal remains the same, even though specific classes have slightly different instructional flows.
  6. Create formative checkpoints to measure learning during instruction, inform intervention or reteach decisions, and gauge effectiveness of instructional methods. If you use the idea of a performance task with multiple steps, look for parts of the task that can be used formatively to help students move closer to the intended learning target.