Formative Assessment and Rubrics

Wylie and Lyon (2013) talk about three questions to ask when using evidence to adjust instruction (formative assessment):

1. Where are we headed? Standards, unit goals, lesson targets and success criteria.

2. Where are we now? Tasks and activities, questions, self-assessment to show evidence of learning

3. How to close the gap? Descriptive feedback so students know what to focus on to show evidence of reaching the success criteria at the lesson, unit and standards level.

Where we are headed needs to be clear at the year long standards level and in the unit level and the lesson level. Students should always know where they are headed long term, over the next few weeks, and today in the given lesson.

As teachers we need to be constantly thinking about how this lesson services the unit which services the standard and how they are all lined up to ensure the student reaches mastery. As we move from the success criteria on the standards rubric to the unit level and lesson level we get more and more specific on the success criteria based on what students need to learn so they can show evidence of standards mastery.

Year long standards rubric may say that students need to write one paragraph about the similarities and one paragraph about the differences between two texts. Then units focus on teaching the specifics of the hamburger structure in paragraphs and at the unit level success criteria may be more specific on this. Finally, at the lesson level focus on what a paragraph is or how to choose good evidence and the learning target will show what students need to learn and this level of success criteria. Each unit and lesson have success criteria but they are all in service to the year long rubric for standards mastery.

As a school, focus on each level at a time. Get consistent as a school at the standards level so there is clarify on where the school is headed at the year long level, the units and lessons may not be aligned. Then navigate the lesson-unit-and standards level success criteria as you move forward.

There are no rules on how navigating the standards-unit-lesson level success criteria. Navigating the three levels of standards to unit to lesson will vary depending on the subject, standard, unit and lesson. As a school focus on, for both teachers and students, clarity of where you are headed. Together, you can focus on student mastery at all levels of the standards. 

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