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INTRO

Hey everyone! My name is Zach Boness, and I’m 28 years old. I teach at Bluffs Middle School in
Scottsbluff. I’m married to an amazing woman, Nicole, and have three fur babies. In my free time I like
to walk, spend time with my dogs, and work out. I went to college at Briar Cliff University and Chadron
State. I had the opportunity to play college basketball at both places which was a great experience. I
ended up graduating from Chadron with a degree in secondary education. I have taught for 4 years. The
first two years I taught in Gering Public Schools. Last year changed to teach at Bluffs Middle School in
Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

My passion is in coaching and teaching. I also enjoy Husker football and all levels of basketball. I
honestly feel like I have never worked a day in my life, because I enjoy teaching. Taking time to build
rapport with students is the most important part to teaching, in my opinion. If you take the time it will
eliminate a lot of battles that can take place down the road. I’m taking this course so I can get a better
understanding of what it takes to be an administrator in education. There are so many layers that entail
education, and the more I learn the better teacher I can become. I currently live in Gering, Nebraska.
I’m excited to take this course because I enjoy education. Chadron State has a great program for
education so when I had the opportunity to get back into college I was excited. Happy to meet
everyone!

CH.1

There is quite a bit that is covered in this chapter and is the framework, in my opinion, of what this
entire textbook will be about. So it is important that we, as educators, are able to get a firm
understanding of what this chapter is going through. The word assessment is a word that every educator
has heard about, and has their own understanding of it. School districts are judged on their assessment
scores. This is a major way that state and federal governments are able to monitor that growth of
students. School districts are compared to other districts to see where everyone stands.

The cartoons drawings within this textbook are great. The cartoon drawing, on page 4, gives a great
example of how some people feel when people outside of the school district different aspects of
schools. It has 6 people on the outside of a school analyzing the school in a different way. Some feel that
this is pretty excessive. There are so many different aspects that go into a successful school, but the
main aspect that the government focuses on is National High Stakes Assessments.

This concept is very frustrating for some educators within our school district. The reason for the
frustration there is because it makes the educators focus on teaching to the standardized assessments
instead of the needs of the students. When looking at it this way I feel that it can handcuff teachers.
Another part of chapter 1 that is discussed is the purpose of curriculum. For students to be successful
educators have to focus their curriculum to match with the educational assessments given. If these two
don’t match then it can be a struggle for students to have success on assessments.

Another key topic that stood out to me is educational effectiveness. This concept ties in with how
successful students do on assessments. If your students struggle on their assessment it is an indicator
that the effectiveness of the education the students were given on that topic wasn’t good enough. This
would show and allow teachers to go back and reteach that topic. On page 10 it has a visual organizer
that shows the line of effectiveness that starts with students and goes all from the school members to
the citizens that live within that school district. This goes to show that there are so many different
aspects that can play a vital role in the students test scores.

The last key topic that is in this chapter is educational leaders. The definition of educational leaders is
someone who impacts the assessment and the curriculum within that school. The people who fall in this
category are administrators and team leaders for grade levels. It is important that there multiple people
how impact this instead of just one. This allows for multiple perspectives and improves the chances that
students will have a better opportunity to have success within the classroom.

The last key point from this chapter is the two assessment emphasis. The first emphasis is understanding
the proper and improper use of test results as an indicator of educational effectiveness. There are
multiple factors that play a part of analyzing test results. It isn’t until you answer these questions that an
educator can then fully analyze the test results. An example of this in my experience is last year when
we gave the NWEA test. Our superintendent decided to have us give the NWEA test for the third time
that school year right before we were about to go on summer vacation. At this point the students were
checked out and our scores were lower. Before a teacher analyzes and thinks they weren’t as effective it
is important to point out the timing of the test. In my opinion if the test would have been given earlier
the scores would have been better. The motivation level of the students at that point was low. The
second emphasis is that once an educator analyzes the data it can lead to better classroom instruction.
With assessments it will show strengths and weaknesses. Once the weaknesses are pointed out,
educators can then focus on them.

CH.2

After reading chapter 1, I found chapter 2 very informational. The chapter goes into what’s covered in
the textbook and if it ties into content standards. The one key aspect that is discussed on page 24 is how
it discusses the frustrations of teachers. There are so many district-required or state mandated tests
that the educators have to teach to that it leaves very little time to actually teach. This can be a big
frustration for educators since they have to teach to these mandated tests, and if they don’t they risk
the chance of their students struggling. There aren’t enough school days for teachers to feel confident in
having all students be mastered in the content standards for the NCLB assessments. This is a key aspect
when administrators and educators pick textbooks for their classes. The goal is to get a textbook that
meets both sides of the issue.

One key aspect from the chapter is content standards. Content standards are the knowledge and skills
that teachers want their students to learn. The goal is to have the content standards and actual teaching
align so educators don’t feel handcuffed by teaching to these national high stakes assessments. Content
standards also vary from performance standards which measure the level of proficiency that students
are supposed to master.

The next key aspect to chapter 2 is analyzing the data from the district-required and state mandated
tests. Two key terms that are taught are relative and norm-referenced interpretation. Both terms
compare the test scores to other students who took the test. It is important to see where your students
stack up to other schools within the state and nationwide. The terms that go with analyzing are
percentile and raw score. This allows students to be ranked. It is important that educator understand
how to read the data from the assessments so they can help the students improve in their educational
career.

The last topic in this chapter is the three different assessments which are cognitive, psychomotor, and
affective assessment. Cognitive measures intellectual and the knowledge of a student. A psychomotor
assessment measures the students’ small and large muscle skills. Last, affective assessment measures
the attitude, interest, and values of the student. Each assessment is unique in its own way, but allows
educators to get a better understanding of the student. The key to this chapter is aligning textbooks to
content standards, and being able to analyze the data from the high stake assessments.

Ch.3

Chapter 3 covers some very important information that is covered. The first aspect to this chapter fully
understands what helps analyze assessments. Assessments need to be analyzed to make sure they are
helping the students. The key terms in this chapter that relate to this are reliability, validity, and
instructional contribution. Reliability and validity measures if the test gives back proper feedback on
students and if the feedback can be trusted. The most important of the three is instructional
contribution. This analyzes to make sure that the educator is testing the students on what they are
being taught within the classroom. This keeps the teachers accountable for aligning their class time to
assessments. When this is done correctly it is very beneficial to all involved.
Another key topic in chapter 3 is when the United States had a movement back in the 1970’s. All of this
led to No Child Left Behind. Schools were not being held accountable for making sure that all students
were receiving the proper education and they were receiving funding from the government. So what the
government did was assigned a nationwide test that would analyze how well students were doing at all
schools. This would make it more transparent for all involved, and hold schools more accountable. This
looks great on paper, but there were some flaws with NCLB. In a way NCLB handcuffed teachers and
made them teach to the test instead of teaching to the needs of the students.

The last key topic in this chapter is the relationship behind testing and teaching. Teachers need to assess
what is being taught in their class. This usually aligns with all teachers. The key aspect that sometimes
gets overlooked is going back and re-teaching. This means that if students do poorly on a test, or part of
a test, it is important that the educator takes time to go back and reteach that topic to further help the
students understand their mistake. Without this concept it is hard for students to learn from their
failures within a classroom.

CH.4

There are some important concepts to understand when analyzing this chapter. Validity is a key one.
Validity is refers to the accuracy of inferences that are based on the student’s performances. If the test
actually assesses what it needs to and the scores are showing what they need to show. It would be very
frustrating to administer a test that its validity is poor.

One form of validity is content-related. This measures and focuses on evidence for the test to make sure
the content that is supposed to be tested is being tested. If the test isn’t assessing what it needs to then
it defeats the purpose of administering the test. Another form of validity, that I find interesting, is
criterion-related validity. This form compares how well they do on the test to their actual grades within
the classroom. If a student who has a 4.0 and struggles a lot of the assessment might make the educator
analyze if the test was done correctly.

Construct validity, according to the text, is the most comprehensive form of validity. The two other
forms, content and criterion, help build evidence for construct validity. All the data that is collected is
constructed to analyze the validity of the test. This is called construct validity. The last main topic of this
chapter is consequential validity. On paper the purpose of consequential validity looks great. The book
goes against consequential validity because of the social consequences the test can make. There is so
much pressure on a student to do well on the test that in their mind they feel that their whole future
rides on it. That can’t be healthy, and there has to be other ways to measure students learning ability
without the added social consequences.

CH.5

Reliability is a very important aspect to assessments. The test needs to be consistent in what it is
measuring. If the test is unreliable then there is no purpose for giving it. There are different forms of
reliability which are stability reliability, alternate-form reliability, and internal consistency reliability.Each
one analyze a different aspect of reliability such as the consistency overtime, analyzing a student taking
the same assessment twice, and checking the internal consistency.

If assessments aren’t reliable then there is no purpose of giving them. At that point the test needs to be
critiqued and changed to make it reliable. I have given tests in the past that after I gave them I found out
that they weren’t very reliable so I had to changed them so they were. That is part of growing as an
educator. Learning from your mistakes to make assessments beneficial to all of the people involved.

CH 6.

The main topic in this chapter is test bias. This is very important to understand because it can play a vital
role in analyzing assessments. Assessment bias can be based on a multitude of things. An example
would be on how the test was administered. This is why when teachers administer a national
standardized test teachers have to read word for word the instructions to the test so there isn't any
assessment bias. There are two ways also to identify if there is any bias and those are based on
judgement and empirical analyses. Judgment review would be the one that I would most likely use to
analyze any bias.

The next part of this chapter focuses on how to identify test interpretation and test administration. Test
administration can be fixed because it is based on how the administrator explains instructions before
the assessment. Having all teachers read word for word the instructions will help alleviate most bias in
that aspect. The last part of the chapter discusses ELL students and how to help them with high stakes
assessments so they can flourish instead of struggle.

CH. 7

This chapter is very interesting because it deals with bell curves. It is important to understand bell curves
when you are taking time to analyze national high stakes assessments. This allows for cutlines to be
made and who is above, meeting, or below the 50th percentile.

I also learned that are multiple techniques to interpret scores. I was aware of percentiles, grade-
equivalent scores, standard scores, and scale scores. During professional development days our
administrators would show and explain these to us. The ones that were new to me were normal curve
equivalents, stanines, and item-response theory.

The last key point from this chapter deals with the four criteria that are used to analyze the quality of
the test normative data. These include sample size, representativeness, recency, and description of
procedures. The only one I was aware of before was sample size. The rest of them were new to me and I
found very informative on how these all are vital in being able to analyze the normative data. If we can’t
understand the data then there is no point in giving these assessments.

CH. 8

There is a lot of great information within this chapter that is discussed. The first key aspect that is
discussed is what is assessed can be circumscribed. Testing is important because it allows for teachers to
infer what the student knows, and if the student has a firm grasp on the subject matter. There a multiple
test-delimitation techniques that can be used. The list consists of test-item specifications, test
specifications, two-way grids, content/skill listings, and assessment descriptions. The one that I’m most
familiar with is content/skill listings and assessment descriptions. I honestly use both of these test-
delimitation techniques when creating my assessments. It allows me to see exactly what I’m testing and
gives me the best opportunity to match my curriculum to my assessment.

The next key point in this chapter discusses how test-delimitation documents can impact instructional
improvement. The whole purpose of high stakes testing is to push students and teachers to improve. If
teachers are being held to these high stakes tests it challenges the teachers to improve their teaching
skills so it can impact the students they are teaching to do well on these high stakes assessments. I can
relate to this since these tests challenge me to make sure that I’m meeting the needs of these students
so they are best prepared to do well on these assessments. At the same time it can be frustrating for
teachers since they have to teach to these high stakes assessments instead of teaching to the needs of
the actual student. I know that I can relate to that frustration.

The last key point to this chapter points out that teachers are trying hard to prepare their students for
these high stakes tests. The higher the stakes the more motivated the teachers are to best prepare their
students. The motivated teachers go out of their way to utilize these assessment descriptions to
implement them within their teaching curriculum. If students can be comfortable with different aspects
that are on the tests it will allow them the best opportunity to get the best possible score they can.
Another aspect that I have used is that high stakes tests, such as the NESA, are on computers. What I
have done to get students use to technology is that I have created all of my tests to be on computers.
This allows students to get use to taking assessments on computers so it can increase the opportunity
for them to do the best they can on high stakes testing. Sometimes adding technology can cause anxiety
so if we can get students use to technology it can alleviate that aspect of it.
Ch. 9

Chapter 9 gives great insight to creating educational assessments. The first key point that comes from
this chapter is the difference between selected-response and constructed-response test items. I will
admit that I need to add more constructed-response items within my tests. This is, in my opinion, the
most valid way to see that students fully understand the information they are being tested on. My
assessments typically consist of selected-responses. When I do have constructed-response test items
they come in the way of essays and papers that I have students write.

Another key aspect to chapter 9 that is discussed is avoiding certain weaknesses to all writing test items.
This means avoid unclear directions, ambiguous statements, unintended clues, complicated syntax, and
difficult vocabulary. All this can lead to educators not fully getting reliable feedback to their constructed-
response item. I have learned that by not giving clear directions can really screw up students. It seems
like this generation struggles with not being told exactly what to do. If there is any grey area they freak
out.

Another key aspect to this chapter is binary-choice items. I honestly don’t use these on assessments
because in my experience these don’t get reliable feedback on student’s knowledge. Most students
guess and I have seen that teachers, in my past experience, tend to trick students on binary-choice
items. I don’t try to trick my students so I typically stay away from these.

When it comes to matching items I typically use these on quizzes and assignments that allow me to get
feedback on if the students understood that information that was presented to them. It is a different
way to gain knowledge and students typically enjoy doing this form of an assignment. The same goes for
multiple choice items. When I use multiple choice items they are typically on their assessments. I really
try not to trick my students with the wording of questions which allows me the best feedback to
understand if the students retained the information that was presented to them in the chapter.

Ch. 10

Chapter 10 opens up some key points and ideas that educators need to analyze when creating their
assessments. When educators are deciding between selected response questions and constructed-
response questions there is a lot that needs to be asked. What is the purpose of that question? There
are pluses to each questions, as well as, negatives. With constructed-response questions they tend to
allow for higher level cognitive outcomes compared to selected-response questions. This makes
complete sense, because students will have to explain their answer so it pushes the student to think at a
higher level to be successful on the question. Sometimes selected-response answers don’t push the
ability of students. The book does discuss that by how an educator constructs the selected-response
answer it can lead to a higher level of cognition. A negative that educators can come across for
constructed-response answers is that it takes more time to grade, in my opinion, which can deter them
from having more constructed-response assessments. This is why I feel some teachers stay more with
selected-response questions. They are easier to grade. I feel that tests should utilize both constructed-
response answers and selected-response answers.

The important aspect of short-answer items is that I can make students give concise responses to
questions. It can allow for a higher cognitive analysis from the student in some instances too. The key
thing is that the teacher has to be skilled in how the question is constructed. Also another important
aspect to questions is the dreaded essay question. Students typically aren’t fans of essay items. Even
with that being stated essay items can really allow teachers to fully see what the students understand
on the topics being tested. There is no guessing when it comes to essay questions because students
have to have a firm grasp on the information to construct an essay. The best teachers that I have had
use all four forms of questions in their tests. This is an area that I personally need to grow in. Sometimes
I get stuck in creating tests that are only selected-response so I need to make sure that I’m adding other
dimensions to my assessments.

CH. 11

Chapter 11 points out some interesting points throughout the chapter. The main point to this chapter is
performance assessment and how it can be used effectively. This is very unique in the fact that most
students aren’t used to doing performance assessments. When students are given tests they are
typically where they have to pick the correct answer. Performance assessments require students to
perform a task to receive their grade on the assessment. With teaching social studies I feel like I would
have quite a few options that I could use to install a performance assessment. One that comes to mind is
having my students reenact something that took place within our history.

Another part of the chapter is discussing the quality of rubrics. Rubrics can be very effective when they
are created correctly. An example of when I would use a rubric in my class is when students give
presentations. Students want to know what I will be looking for and how they will be graded. So rubrics
can be beneficial to students. The one key component is that the rubrics are made to the grade level and
to that specific classroom.

Portfolio assessments are another form of assessing students, but in a different manner. Instead of
giving an actual assessment the student has to bring a portfolio full of the work they did in the class all
year to show what you did. Also it shows organization and it shows all that you learned throughout the
course. I think portfolios can be beneficial, but I feel that they aren’t the most effective way to see what
the students know. I personally have never given a portfolio assessment and probably never will.

CH. 12

The purpose of chapter 12 is the improve test and the test items that are on our assessments. It is
important that we, as educators, keep improving throughout our years. There are two major strategies
that are used to improve test items are judgmental approaches and empirical. The judgmental approach
deals with the educator reading and analyzing the test items. After that the educator needs to use their
best judgment. The way that educators employ the judgmental approach is by congruence with the
curricular aim being assessed, adherence to the tenets of good item-writing, content accuracy, and the
absence of bias. What really helps me use the four areas to help with the judgmental approach is by
analyzing assessments from previous years. I see which questions that students struggled with and I use
my best judgment to fix or get rid of the question.

The empirical approach is based on analyses of students’ actual responses to test items. The
empirical approach focuses on the p value. The p value gives a lot of information to the teacher who
created the test. The lower the p value meant that the test question was more difficult. The higher the p
value meant the easier the test question. There could possibly be 3 reasons why the p value was low.
The first would be that the item is difficult. The second is that the item content was poorly written or
done in a confusing manner. The last is that the item itself is confusing or otherwise defective. All of
these can be adjusted by the educator. In the past when I noticed that the p value was lower I would not
count the question against the students if the question’s difficulty was my fault. Both approaches can be
very beneficial for helping improve the questions. As educators it is important that we adjust our
questions and make our assessments better.

CH. 13

There are some pretty intriguing aspects to chapter 13. The affective domain deals with students’
attitudes, interests, and values. This is pretty important because if you get the interest of the student
within your classroom it makes everything else easy. An example would be that students in my class get
very interested in dramatic aspects of history such as wars and murders. If we discuss a war the interest
level really peaks so it helps students retain the information that is being presented to them especially in
the long term memory. The way to assess affective domain is by analyzing the information that students
are giving you. Ask and listen to what your students are interested in. Then if it is possible try to
implement certain aspects of it. This shows students that you care about them, as a whole, and allows
you to build rapport with them.

The way that affective targets should be assessed is based on self-reporting. When going through a
lesson I can self-reflect to see how attentive the students are and if they are engaged. That is a great
tool to use to help understand if I’m peaking their interest, and if I’m not then I will have to readjust that
lesson for the future to help get the interest of the students who are involved. Also like I stated earlier
one aspect I can utilize is that I can infer. When we discussed wars and murders in history I inferred that
that interested them without asking because of the peak in interest that came from the lesson.

CH. 14

Chapter 14 discusses different aspects of assessments. For a test to be effective there are different
aspects that need to be analyzed. These include the purpose, time allowance for test, the basis for
responding, the method that students use to make responses, guessing, and the way that the scores are
weighted within the assessment. All of these need to be analyzed before and after the test to improve
for future assessments. Also while giving the test it is important to not doing anything during the test to
skew the results. I find this last part very important. I try not to talk much and I keep the assessment
routine in my classroom the same. It decreases the stress levels in my classroom.

The next part of the chapter discusses how different parts of the test should be scored. An example
would be how some parts of a test should be worth more than other parts. Short answer and essays
should be worth more than multiple choice or true/false questions. This makes sense because the level
of difficulty from true/false to an essay. Students who have a firm grasp on a question will be able to
write an essay compared to someone who doesn’t. True/false questions have a higher chance of
students guessing and getting it correct. I try to differentiate my assessments so there are different
types of questions within the test.

Another form of assessments is performance standards. Are students able to perform something
correctly. An example that I use this is when I have students create a PowerPoint and present it to the
classroom. A big part of their grade is their eye contact and voice. Students have to perform well or else
they will struggle with that grade.

One of the important parts to this chapter is collecting evidence of instructional effectiveness. The way I
utilize this is when I collect assignments and quizzes. When I grade these I’m able to see what parts of
the lesson students understood and didn’t understand. This evidence that I collect I use to help with
future lessons and what I need to reteach. Some different grading approaches that are described are
called relative grading, absolute grading, aptitude grading, and hodgepole grading. Every teacher grades
their own way which is fine as long as students understand expectations. The most important thing is
not to feel guilty for giving a student a specific grade. I agree with that statement because teachers
don’t give grades. Students earn grades.

CH. 15
Chapter 15 gives some great insight on some important issues in assessments. The first key point talks
about why accountability tests are significant these days. I know our administrations puts a big push on
high stakes assessments and that we are preparing for them with our students. This is because the
federal government monitors and wants to make sure that our students are getting a quality education,
in their eyes. In my opinion, this looks great on paper, but can also be detrimental to the education of
our students. Instead of teaching to the needs of our students we have to teach to the high standards
assessments. This can be very frustrating. If schools don’t do well on these tests it can impact funding
for the school.

The next key point is that traditional standardized and standard-based assessments are instructionally
insensitive. There are a multitude of reasons why these are insensitive, but the key component is that
the results are biased and validity is poor. Since these assessments are vital it is important that the
assessment is sensitive to the students.

According to our text book the aspects that make an assessment sensitive is that it measures only a
reasonable number of genuinely significant curricular aim, provides clear, teacher-palatable descriptions
of what we assess, and reports results in a fashion that allow teachers to be effective and reteach the
areas that need help. If a test meets these then it will allow teachers to be able to successfully test the
areas that need to be tested. In my experience I have adjusted and changed my tests to make them
more sensitive. Not all my tests are, but it is my goal to get them all this way.