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Teaching is the Core Grant work continues

May 28, 2015—Guilderland Central School District has been working to implement the action plan developed through the Teaching is the Core (TiTC) grant, a $399,946 grant from the New York State Education Department that aims to support improvement of assessment practices in regional schools. Through the grant, a consortium of 12 districts, led by Capital Region BOCES, is collaborating with Learner-Centered Initiatives consulting group to review and improve testing practices in participating districts.

District teams have conducted reviews of current district assessments, learned to develop high-quality assessments and scoring rubrics and created action plans to begin to implement improved testing practices. Information about this process can be found here.

On March 5 and 6, district teams participated in all-day professional development, focused on the creation of high-quality tests and consistent scoring rubrics and how test results can be best used to meaningfully inform instruction.

Later in the month, consultants from eDoctrina met with district teams to review the capabilities and use of the software system, which can be used to streamline curriculum planning and learning goals, support meaningful analysis of student assessment data and implementation of targeted interventions.

All consortium districts, including Guilderland Central School District met individually with LCI consultants in early May to review and strengthen the district action plan [view the action plan - pdf]. In June, districts will collaborate through peer review sessions to share feedback on plans and address challenges and successes of putting them into action.

Ongoing professional development will continue throughout the month of June, including further exploration of scoring rubric design and the creation of multiple choice questions that meaningfully assess student learning.

The TiTC grant period concludes June 30; however, the knowledge gained through the grant will allow Guilderland Central School District to sustain the ongoing review and improvement of testing practices to strengthen instruction and student learning.

Michael Piscitelli, Supervisor of Math, Science and Technology for Guilderland High School remarked, "The Guilderland teams have learned a lot about performance based assessments from going through the grant design and review process. The teams of teachers have designed the performance task, the directions for teachers to implement, and the scoring rubrics. Each team has conducted Level 0 testing where other teachers executed the performance task as if they were students. The feedback from their experiences has helped to identify problems and areas needing edits. The teams have made these revisions and plan to implement the performance tasks next school year. Beyond the design of these specific tasks, the teacher teams have learned much about assessment design which can be shared with their colleagues and can lead to assessment changes throughout the district."