[Rasch] online Assessment for Teachers course

Ev Smith evsmith at uic.edu
Sat Sep 12 02:42:20 EST 2009


The University of Illinois at Chicago is offering a 4 credit graduate level 
course covering assessment issues relevant to teachers. This course will be 
offered during Spring of 2010. This course is one offering from the online 
curriculum offered by the College of Education at UIC 

Below is a detailed description of the contents of this course. If you are 
interested in enrolling in this course please contact me 
(<mailto:evsmith at uic.edu>evsmith at uic.edu) for directions on how to apply to 
UIC as an Extramural Student.

We would also appreciate if you would pass along this information to U.S. 
and international graduate students, teachers, co-workers, and any other 
colleagues that may find this online course useful.

If you have any questions please contact Everett Smith at 
<mailto:evsmith at uic.edu>evsmith at uic.edu.

EPSY 553: Assessment for Teachers

Assessment is an integral part of teaching. Teachers use informal and 
formal assessments on an ongoing basis to make decisions about their 
students, evaluate the success of their instruction, and monitor classroom 
climate.  They collect various sources of information through their 
assessment activities; based on their interpretation of that information, 
they determine appropriate courses of action. The typical teacher spends 
about a third of his/her professional time engaged in assessment-related 
activities (Herman & Dorr-Bremme, 1982; Stiggins & Conklin, 1992). Because 
assessment is so critical to the instructional process, learning about 
assessment is essential to learning about teaching.

As a student in this course, you will learn how to design assessments that 
are carefully aligned with educational objectives.  The course will provide 
an opportunity to gain hands-on experience crafting different types of 
classroom assessment instruments to measure a variety of learning outcomes, 
from simple to complex. You will learn how to devise technically sound, 
content valid paper-and-pencil tests that incorporate different types of 
item formats (e.g., multiple-choice, true-false, matching, short-answer, 
completion, essay, interpretive exercises).

You will also learn to craft performance (or product) assessments, as well 
as tools (i.e., checklists, rating scales, and rubrics) to evaluate 
students performances or products.  Working back and forth between your 
educational objectives and the assessment instruments you are building, you 
will discover why it is vitally important to ensure that your objectives 
and instructional activities are closely aligned with the assessments you 
plan to use.

We will take a critical look at the selection and use of standardized 
achievement tests in classrooms today, including commercial achievement 
tests (e.g., Stanford 10, Stanford Reading First, Iowa Test of Basic 
Skills) and statewide achievement assessments.  You will learn how these 
tests are constructed, and you will practice interpreting the various 
statistics included in score reports.

We will discuss test preparationwhich activities are appropriate and 
ethical, and which arent?  As a teacher, how do you decide?  We will 
discuss the need for creating balanced assessment systems that provide 
information useful not only to policy makers but also to other important 
audiences for assessment information (e.g., students, teachers, counselors, 
community groups). What does it take to build a balanced system? How did 
our current systems with their overemphasis on high-stakes test results 
become so out of balance? Why is it impossible for results from a single 
accountability test to meet all assessment users needs for assessment 
information? What is missing in our current assessment systems?

You will learn about assessment bias, why it is problematic, and some 
approaches that test developers (and teachers) can use to screen 
assessments for bias. We will discuss examples of biased assessments, and 
how the inclusion of biased content that is offensive to one or more 
subgroups of students can affect performance.  We will also discuss how the 
inclusion of assessment content that might cause a student to be unfairly 
penalized based on that students ethnicity, race, culture, religion, 
socioeconomic status, gender, urban/rural/suburban background, or other 
characteristics can affect performance. Assessment bias can also show up in 
assessments of students with disabilities and assessments of English 
language learners, and we will discuss how to minimize assessment bias when 
working with these subgroups.

We will tackle the issue of developing defensible grading procedures for 
combining scores from different assessments to arrive at a grade.  You will 
learn about different approaches you can use for assigning grades and 
principles to follow. We will discuss what should (and should not) be 
included in a grade, how to handle grading for cooperative learning, 
grading students with disabilities, how to convert rubric scores to grades, 
and methods other than report cards that you can use to communicate 
assessment results. We will also discuss computerized gradebooks and their 
advantages and disadvantages.

  Finally, we will examine laws and legislation affecting assessment 
programs that teachers need to understand.  What does the No Child Left 
Behind Act (NCLB) require of schools in terms of assessment? What types of 
information does NCLB require states, school districts, and schools to 
provide in annual report cards?  What is adequate yearly progress? What 
happens to schools if they do not show adequate yearly progress? What are 
achievement levels, and why are they important? How are English language 
learners and students with disabilities affected by NCLB testing?  What 
legal issues arise when assessing students with disabilities? How do these 
laws and legislation impact teachers assessment practices?

Everett Smith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology
Director, Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment Lab ( 
Associate Editor, Journal of Applied Measurement ( http://www.jampress.org)
For the Ph.D. in MESA visit 
For the M.Ed. in MESA visit http://education.uic.edu/mesa-med/
For the online M.Ed. in MESA visit http://education.uic.edu/mesaonline-med/
For the certificate in Educational Research Methodology visit 
University of Illinois at Chicago
1040 West Harrison Street
M/C 147
Chicago, IL 60607
Office: 312-996-5630
Fax: 312-996-5651

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