Monday, October 20, 2008

Task Force on Assessment and Accountability

At last week's CATS Task Force meeting included a PowerPoint from consultant Doris Redfield who looked at Writing Portfolios over time. Various recommendations were presented. Here are some bits and pieces.

Robert Holland (2007): Problems with large-scale portfolio assessments:
  • Failure to yield reliable comparative data
  • Large differences in the way teachers implement portfolios
  • Differences in the opportunities given to students to revise their work
  • Variations in the degree of assistance that students receive from peers, parents, teachers, and other sources
Elizabeth Dick, 2008 (writing and literacy expert)
  • Maintain the writing portfolio assessment as part of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS).
  • Emphasize the need for district and school leadership to ensure that the writing portfolio procedures outlined in 703 KAR 5:010 and in Part 1 of the Kentucky Writing Handbook are being implemented and that teachers’ professional growth plans and performance evaluation documents address appropriate expectations for writing instruction. (LS)
  • Consider ways to hold students more accountable for their writing performance (HS end-of-course? Graduation? In-class grading practices?)
  • Continue to support increased state funding of the eight Kentucky Writing Project sites which provide teaches across grades and content areas with quality professional development through the month-long Summer Institutes, Saturday Mini-Conferences, and Advanced Institutes. (I)
  • Consider a course in writing instruction as a condition for teacher licensing in Kentucky. (I)
  • Provide writing cluster leaders, who serve as instructional leaders in their schools, with more instructional support and professional development opportunities. (I)
  • Provide schools with more specific writing portfolio audit feedback and more tools for ensuring accurate portfolio scoring. (I; could be an assessment issue if portfolio writing remains in the accountability system).
  • Schools must be encouraged to analyze students’ working folders across grade levels and accountability grade portfolios annually. (Program evaluation issue?)
Kentucky Association for Assessment Coordinators (2008)
  • Any assessment that limits opportunities for learning is a mistake.
  • We believe that, if educators focus on teaching for learning, the accountability systems and test scores will take care of themselves.
  • Issues of greatest importance include:
  • Resolve the writing portfolio issues (see KAAC’s 2004 position paper and
  • Expand the use of on demand writing (at grades 3 through 12 will increase
    more effective writing opportunities – discuss Elizabeth Dick’s point).


Richard Innes said...


The link to Redfield’s PowerPoint doesn’t work.

That’s too bad. Perhaps the most pertinent report is one Redfield discussed briefly that you failed to mention by Dr. Dan Koretz on the problems with the Vermont portfolio program.

Koretz actually did a series of reports on Vermont’s program, available in the reports section of CRESST Web site for those interested (Google CRESST, then go to the reports tab and search for “Vermont Portfolios”).

Anyway, Koretz found lots of validity issues with portfolios. Eventually, Vermont agreed and dropped them.

The Principal said...


I was trying out Google Docs and apparently messed it up somehow. I'll take another shot at it tomorrow; then readers can see the whole thing as I intended.

Thanks Richard.

The Principal said...

Hummm. Try again.

It loaded right up for me this morning.

Richard Innes said...

Still not working. Google Docs says I am not authorized to view this file.

If you can get access to it, please advise.