K-5 Language Arts Curriculum: 3-5 Assessment Design

How are the assessments designed to gauge student progress?

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Curriculum

Type

Online Learning

The curriculum was built using the principles of backward design, meaning that we started by identifying what we wanted students to know and be able to do at the end of each module and then built each unit to intentionally get them there.  This page provides an overview of the assessments built into the Grades 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum.  

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Curriculum

Type

Online Learning

The curriculum was built using the principles of backward design, meaning that we started by identifying what we wanted students to know and be able to do at the end of each module and then built each unit to intentionally get them there.  This page provides an overview of the assessments built into the Grades 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum.  

"Using data with students is one way to shine a light on learning." -Ron Berger, author, Leaders of Their Own Learning

Learning Targets

  1. How do I use the curriculum’s assessments to gather evidence of students’ progress?

Review: 3-5 Module Lessons and Assessment Structure

Review the diagram below showing the summative assessments within one module for grades 3-5.  Recall that each module is divided into three units.  In Grades 3-5, there are two assessments per unit, plus an end-of-unit performance task.

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The modules fully teach and assess all of the ELA standards at each grade level. The format of the assessment varies, from written response to graphic organizers to multiple choice. These summative assessments are on-demand and often mirror a format from previous lessons (e.g., the assessment is a note-catcher similar to the one students have completed previous.)  

Every module has an anchor writing standard- narrative, informative/explanatory, or opinion- and each is taught and assessed twice over the course of the module. Students either write essays- to inform or to express a claim- or they write narratives. As a summative assessment, these writing tasks are independent and on-demand. Sometimes, but not always, these on-demand writing tasks serve as a draft for the scaffolded performance task.

As a reminder, all of the formal assessments are found in the modules; there are no formal assessments in the ALL block.

(Woodfin, L. & Plaut, S. N., (2017) Your Curriculum Companion: The Essential Guide to Teaching the EL Education K-5 Language Arts Curriculum. New York, NY: EL Education Inc.)

Please reflect on the following questions:

  1. Check for understanding: how many assessments are there per module in Grades 3-5? How many assessments would that equal over the course of the year in which you teach four modules?
  2. What questions do you have about the assessments?

Review: Module 1 Assessments

Locate the assessments for Module 1 of your grade level.  The assessments include both the student-facing materials and the answer keys and rubrics for teachers.  If using the open source online resources, you can locate the assessments on ELeducation.org’s website, also linked below. Please note that you will need to create a free account to access the assessments.
As you review the assessments, consider the following questions:

  1. Which standards are addressed across the span of the three units of the module?
  2. What do you notice about the variety of the assessment formats? How do the formats align with the assessment of standards?


Review: Performance Task

Technically, the performance tasks at the end of every module are neither formative nor summative assessments. They are not formative since they come at the end of the module, concluding students’ learning about the module topic and the literacy skills they have built over eight or nine weeks. However, they are also not summative because they are heavily scaffolded to help students create high-quality work, and so are not a strong measure of what students can do independently.

But performance tasks can give you amazingly rich insight into what your students are capable of with support and scaffolding. Consider looking at your students’ performance tasks through the lens of the attribute of high-quality student work: authenticity, complexity, craftsmanship.

Please review the Module 1 performance task for your grade.  As you review the task, reflect on the following questions:

  1. How does this task help students synthesize their learning?
  2. How did the previous assessments and tasks provide scaffolding for students to complete this performance task?

Dig Deeper

  • Assessing Your Assessments for Further Analysis: Use this tool, found at the bottom of this page, from the Your Curriculum Companion text to determine which assessments are optimal for closer data analysis, for example, those that provide data points that can be compared over time, or those that have students demonstrate skills they will need again for future assessments. (see below)
  • Results Meeting Protocol: This tool, linked at the bottom of this page, from the Your Curriculum Companion text can help you and your team analyze data across classrooms and create an action plan to meet student needs. 

Synthesize

For Teachers:

  1. What are your next steps to ensure you fully understand and make the most of the assessments as a resource for gauging student progress (for example, using data to assign levels to students in the ALL block)?
  2. This page focused on helping educators understand and use the assessments. How can you engage students in understanding and tracking their progress so that they become leaders of their own learning

For School Leaders:

  1. How can you support teachers in making the most of their assessment data? Does your school already have grade-level or department data inquiry teams in place?  Can you make use of the Results Meeting Protocol linked below?

Suggested Use

Assessing Your Assessment For Further Analysis

Results Meeting Protocol