Saturday, May 23, 2015

Janet Jans Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment for the 2015 Technology Cohort, Hopdina

The Edina Public school district is moving toward the systematic use of Mastery Connect as a multipurpose tool for teachers.  It will be a grading and standards based platform where teachers can house assessment tools that are linked to specific state standards.  It will show individual and group data, allow teachers to use common assessments, and provide another platform for teachers to connect with professionals in their community and across the globe.

Listening to the Mastery Connect videos has given me new insight into what the program will allow, and also more questions about how far the district is going to take this product in the next few years.  I wish it had music as a specific content area to search for assessments within the learning community.  Content searches are limited to four core curricular areas with all other areas simply lumped under an 'other' category.

Finishing the Mastery Connect tutorial videos left me feeling very overwhelmed at the depth of the program and the high learning curve I envision for most teachers.  I'm wondering about the time needed to work with large numbers of students and family information that hopefully will be automatically downloaded.  There are so many facets of the program; it appears to combine standards, assessment tools and records, grades, and TIES type information.  
Tackling this project would be good for PLC work since it would piggy back on the common assessment work begun this year.  Our PLC is dedicated to focusing on the MN Music Standards as seen in the Edina Music Standards and Benchmarks.  For this course, I added Socrative theory quizzes to two of my trackers for choir in Mastery Connect.  I should try to add the composition projects with rubrics soon to the World of Music class.  I also did a search in the district and in my community for assessments already available.  Unfortunately, the first one was a reading about why music is not important in schools!  Searches are not always fruitful!!

Much of our work as a team in the SV vocal department this past month was related to upcoming summative assessments:  concerts and final tests.  Each grade level group is working toward these end of the year culminating activities.  We have been designing programs and writing tests, starting at the end and working our way backwards.  
We have made a determined effort to support students in their review for the final test by re-evaluating the written resources provided to them.  Students will also have access to websites that will provide different visual examples and alternate explanations of music theory.  
This year we have looked carefully at the platform for assessments.  Reflections for choirs are being given on paper rather google docs as in the past, with the intention of encouraging actual writing skills.  Tests will be available both on paper and in Socrative.  We have noticed that some students do not perform as well using technology and are curious to see if offering a choice will increase test scores.  
More study, work, and direction from the district will be necessary for our PLC to determine how to fully incorporate Mastery Connect.  I have questions about the World of Music class can link our use of with Mastery Connect.  Many of our assignments directly related to the standards are not in a word document or google form but are found in our community.  Linking assignments, assessments, and student data from other platforms to Mastery Connect will be a necessary step in making this a feasible tool for middle school music staff. 

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