Larry Ainsworth - Day Two (aka Better Late Than Never)

Life interupted work and blogging for me this past week. You never realize how you are missed until folks say "Hey - where is Day 2 of that workshop?" or send you volumes of emails wondering why you didn't respond to one!!

But I digress!! Larry Ainsworth on Day 2 was just as great as Day 1 but absolutely more of a work session. For folks with a strong background in item writing, rubrics, and the like - it was light on content and heavy on work. For others - it was heavy on content. I am still surprised at the number of educators who don't know what a rubric is!!

Since our Power Social Studies team (my name, not theirs) had already unwrapped our standard and our fearless leader had already culled all the questions that applied to that standard from previous NYS Assessments - we were ready to roll. We thought...

Turns out that the questions that NYS asks on this standard didn't exactly match the content and skills we had unwrapped!!

Now - before there is tremendous shock and outrage - as we talked it through, we realized in part that it is due to the data format. When we selected a Power Standard to unwrap - we selected an upcoming unit for our lead teacher and one that we knew kids had a hard time understanding. It was a standard that is covered frequently on the NYS Assessments (so it met the power standard requirement) but the standard alone (from the core curriculum) did not give us sufficient information to do a good job in unwrapping it!

Here is how we modified the process:

1. After unwrapping the standard for content/skills, we looked at all the test questions that "matched" that standard.
2. We developed a list of "key vocabulary" (which included not only terms but events and people).
3. We redefined the "skills" we had unwrapped to include any from the questions that were not already there (i.e. recognizing point of view in a political cartoon)
4. We created a secondary set of "essential questions" for the unit - that had an answer and were not quite as broad as the ones we created initially (so should probably be called "guiding" questions).

As we moved on to creating our "assessments" we used the old questions for multiple choice (no sense re-creating the wheel) but developed our own DBQ to answer one of our larger essential questions.

The template that guided our work was helpful - but as I said, we took some libterties with it. Particularly in Social Studies - I think we will need to do this in order to get around the breadth vs. depth issues.

Our end product isn't posted for the world to see yet - Erie 1 BOCES is trying to work out some copyright issues - once it is there, I'll be able to share more. And maybe once I have had more than 3 hours sleep - I'll post more!

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