The Department of Education from the Keystone State supported unique opportunities for Pennsylvania educators to showcase excellence in curriculum and assessment at the SEADAE Assessment Symposium in Grapevine, TX, in November of 2016. These sessions highlighted work that has been done over the past 4 years to support student achievement that can be linked to teacher evaluation protocols in Pennsylvania, as well as providing down-to-earth practical application models to assess student achievement of academic standards.
Middle school art teacher Stacey Miller, of Middletown PA, presented a session titled “Assessing Growth over Three Years: a Middle School Art Model.” Stacey wrote the SLO model that was used to train ALL PA teachers in writing SLOs. Her session expanded the concept of assessing growth within a three year time period, based on a common middle school practice in PA of providing art for 45 continuous days a year during each year of the middle school experience. By using common themes and related art projects, Stacey demonstrated how growth toward achievement of the standards can be better assessed over a three year time period. Stacey and her administrator have agreed that this is an appropriate model to be used for the SLO component of her teacher evaluation. Stacy also provided a lesson plan to support teaching a component of the SLO model.
Retired high school teacher and department chairman Melissa Gallagher, of Carlisle PA, presented a session titled “Assessment in a Choice, Voice, Challenge Environment.” Melissa’s presentation demonstrated ways in which real life challenges can be expressed through visual art, and that subsequent artistic products provide unique opportunities for assessment of arts standards. Offering students choice and voice in solving challenges encourages students to demonstrate achievement of standards on more robust levels.
PA’s SEADAE representative O. David Deitz provided a session titled “Design, Build, Review: a Quality Assurance Toolkit for Creating and Scoring Performance Tasks.” This presentation was an arts-focused component of a larger assessment literacy training that Deitz developed to support quality implementation of teacher-built assessments used as part of the SLO process. Unique to the session was a series of review tools that teachers can use to reflect on the quality of assessments that they personally (or at the department level) have built to assess student achievement of the standards.
Prior to attending the Assessment Symposium, Miller, Gallagher and Deitz presented these sessions to each other, honing and refining the presentations so that the three would have a common link relating to specific assessment of standards. Although these presentations are built by PA educators, they are easily adaptable to other state or national standards.
The Assessment Symposium continues to provide Pennsylvania with a wealth of ideas and processes toward improving curriculum and assessment of the arts for all Pennsylvania teachers and students!
O. David Deitz
Arts Consultant to the Department of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market St., 8th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126