How to Create Assessments for The Common Core

Here’s how to create new formative assessments to measure complex student comprehension

assessments-common coreThe rigors of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) ask today’s educators not simply to measure students’ factual knowledge, but instead to accurately assess students’ critical thinking. With such a major transition from multiple-choice testing, it’s important to know how to create assessments for these 21st-century standards.

“The most important question to ask at the onset of assessment creation is: How might we develop and use rich tasks to focus on those outcomes that matter most, and make school more relevant and engaging for learners and teachers?” explained Jay McTighe, consultant and author of the new Lumibook, Core Learning: Assessing What Matters Most, during a webinar hosted by the School Improvement Network.

McTighe emphasized that the aim of the new standards is autonomous transfer, or student comprehension and understanding of concepts, rather than facts.…Read More

Seven steps to implementing critical student skills

Stakeholder buy-in is critical when it comes to achieving desired student outcomes and policy changes.

Administrators and educators know they must integrate higher-order thinking skills into teaching and learning if today’s students are to compete on a global scale. But school leaders sometimes struggle with exactly how to weave such skills into the curriculum.

Now, steps for successful integration of four key skills are outlined in a new book by Ken Kay and Valerie Greenhill, both of EdLeader21, a professional learning community for 21st-century educators.

Dubbed the “4Cs,” the four skills—critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity—are skills that will help every student prepare for and succeed in “the citizenship and economic challenges of the 21st century,” Kay and Greenhill say.…Read More

How classroom games can help build reasoning skills

Students can discuss different strategies and probabilities by playing simple games.

While most students enjoy games, even the simplest kind—such as tic tac toe—can help children develop important 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and mathematical reasoning, experts say.

During a webinar hosted by edWeb, Sarah DeLeeuw and Patrick Vennebush from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics demonstrated how basic games can help students become more engaged in math lessons.

Many rudimentary games give students a chance to make their own decisions, reflect on those decisions, and talk about strategies with their peers, the panelists said. In addition to promoting communication skills, students can learn from one another and explore different ways to play games.…Read More

New test measures students’ digital literacy

Certiport's new <i>iCritical Thinking</i> Certification helps higher education instructors gauge students' abilities.
Certiport's new certification exam helps instructors gauge students' 21st-century skills.

Employers are looking for candidates who can navigate, critically evaluate, and make sense of the wealth of information available through digital media—and now educators have a new way to determine a student’s baseline digital literacy with a certification exam that measures the test-taker’s ability to assess information, think critically, and perform a range of real-world tasks.

The test, iCritical Thinking Certification, created by the Educational Testing Service and Certiport, reveals whether or not a person is able to combine technical skills with experiences and knowledge.

Today’s students need to be able to think critically and effectively solve problems while using technology, Certiport explains—going beyond simply searching for information. They also must evaluate the legitimacy of the information, put it in context, and then apply problem-solving and decision-making skills.…Read More

Three-fourths of professionals believe the internet makes us smarter

A survey of web users and professionals found that a majority of them believe the internet is making us smarter, InformationWeek reports—although some critics believe internet use is zapping our critical thinking skills. The web-based survey of nearly 900 prominent scientists, business leaders, consultants, writers, and technology developers found that three out of four believe the internet “enhances and augments” human intelligence. In addition, two-thirds of the respondents said the internet also improves reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge. The survey was conducted by the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University in North Carolina and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The poll was motivated by tech scholar and analyst Nicholas Carr’s 2009 Atlantic Monthly magazine cover story, entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In a response to the survey, Carr stuck by his original argument that the internet shifts the emphasis of people’s intelligence away from meditative or contemplative intelligence and more toward what he called “utilitarian intelligence.” “The price of zipping among lots of bits of information is a loss of depth in our thinking,” said Carr, who participated in the survey. Other participants disagreed, such as Craig Newmark, founder of Craigs’s List, who said people use Google as an adjunct to their own memory. Respondent David Ellis, a professor at York University in Toronto, said that instead of making people stupid, Google was reinforcing intellectual laziness among people satisfied with the top 10 or 15 listings from search queries…

Click here for the full story

…Read More