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Common Assessment - Professional Development Training


Participants Create Quality Assessment Questions




The PA Core Standards foster in students the ability to solve problems, analyze text, synthesize information from multiple sources, compare and contrast viewpoints, and use evidence from text to support arguments and conclusions. Developing these skills, and preparing for their assessment, can be enhanced by a testing regimen that includes the use of common or “local” assessments — interim instruments created by teachers and administrators that measure short- and long-term progress, allowing teachers to adjust instruction and inform students about their strengths and weaknesses at every step along the way.

Key to the use of common assesssments is skill in writing reliable and valid test questions, also known as assessment items, that probe a range of abilities and require increasingly higher order thinking.Through an understanding of Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and the PA Core Standards, OnHand Schools delivers customized professional development to prepare teachers for writing high quality multiple-choice and constructed-response assessment items spanning Webb’s DOK paradigm that can be used to differentiate instructions, prepare students for interim or benchmark assessments, and provide students with practice in responding appropriately to the content and concepts tested by PDE.

Participants engage in an interactive session that includes:

  • Measuring their own assessment items against strict criteria for validity and reliability
  • Working with peers to arrive at consensus about the appropriateness and quality of assessment items
  • Training in the use of the OnHand Schools EdInsight suite of data management tools, with a focus on the Assessment Builder
  • Exercises that focus on the underlying syntactic and grammatical conventions to which exemplary assessment items should adhere
  • Activities that provide skill in the construction of assessment blueprints that in turn guide the design and construction of common assessments

Participants create:

  • Assessment items that require students to transfer their learning to new situations and problems through the use of higher-order cognitive skills
  • High-fidelity assessment items requiring critical abilities as they will be used in the real world, rather than through artificial proxies
  • Assessment items that are instructionally sensitive and educationally valuable
  • Valid, reliable, and fair assessment items that accurately evaluate students’ abilities, appropriately assess the knowledge and skills they intend to measure, are free from bias, and are designed to reduce unnecessary obstacles to performance that could undermine validity
  • Assessment items that have positive consequences for the quality of instruction and the opportunities available for student learning

Associated EdInsight System Tool: