EDU575: Elementary Assessment Strategies to Improve Learning

Course Credits:
Course Hours Per Week:

Course Overview

This course introduces the essential concepts and practices of educational assessment from the perspective of an elementary classroom teacher. Candidates will explore the continuum of assessment options including selected-response, constructed-response, and performance assessments as they apply to published assessments, teacher-made classroom-based assessment, current high-stakes assessments, and next generation assessments.

In the course project, Assessment Handbook, students demonstrate mastery of skills and concepts in the context of a handbook that can be used as a reference throughout their teaching careers. Concepts and skills include:

  • Reliability, validity, fairness (absence of bias)
  • Error of measurement
  • Ethical test preparation
  • Assessment accommodations
  • Item analysis
  • Assessment-based grading
  • Selected- and constructed-response items
  • Performance tasks
  • Holistic, analytic, and skill-based rubrics
  • Formative assessment strategies

In Forum discussions, students actively engage in discussions concerning current topics in educational assessment including:

  • Sample assessment items
  • Assessment scoring systems
  • Grading systems
  • Technology systems

Course Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between the following score types: (1) percentile; (2) grade-equivalent; and (3) scale score and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate test preparation practices in the age of high-stakes assessment.
  • Define standard error of measurement, describe how it is related to reliability, and explain why teachers should pay attention to it.
  • Distinguish between the three types of reliability; distinguish between the three types of validity.
  • Analyze possible sources of assessment bias and error and apply techniques to eliminate bias and error.
  • Describe the purpose of an accommodation and apply four types of assessment accommodations for English language learners and students with disabilities.
  • Apply “assessment-based grading” as appropriate based on the strengths and weaknesses of each type of grading system.
  • Write high-quality selected-response (including binary-choice, multiple binary-choice, multiple-choice, matching, and fill-in) and constructed-response (including short-answer and essay) assessment items. Select or create high-quality performance assessment tasks.
  • Analyze test item data (difficulty index, discrimination index, and distractor analysis) to make decisions about student learning and test item improvement.
  • Develop holistic and analytic scoring rubrics for constructed-response assessment items.
  • Develop skill-focused scoring rubrics for performance assessment tasks.
  • Distinguish between formative and summative assessment.
  • Relate formative assessment strategies to classroom applications.
  • Compare current state accountability assessments to next generation assessments. Describe the problems next generation assessments are expected to solve.