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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Assessment, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 77
1. The Joys, Wonders, and Challenges of On-Demand Writing: Assessment Strengthens Writers Blog Series

I'll be honest. I actually love on-demand writing assessments.

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2. Record Keeping- Why and How: Assessment Strengthens Writers

We teachers keep all kinds of records and notes- attendance records, records of the books our students read, records about math concepts mastered, and spelling words missed. Yet, many of us struggle to… Continue reading

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3. Helping Parents See Progress Through the Process

As learners ourselves, we know students need a supportive culture where taking risks, asking questions, and understanding the value of the process is omnipresent.

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4. How to Assess Students’ Digital Writing – Ideas from Troy Hicks’ New Book

In Assessing Students’ Digital Writing:Protocols For Looking Closely, Troy Hicks and a team of forward looking educators have given us lenses through which to appreciate and evaluate the type of digital creativity that students seem adept at...

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5. What Does it All Mean? Really?

Sometimes the place we land isn't where we belong, it is merely a place to pause before the real destination.

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6. Looking at Student Writing

Comparing two writing samples may be as effective as scoring using a rubric

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7. Instant Minilesson Follow-Up

A strong active engagement, and a routine for informally assessing student work during the minilesson can give you the tools you need to be sure that no student leaves the meeting area completely confused.

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8. Getting to Know Your Writers: Three Assessment Ideas You May Not Have Considered

Sometimes it takes a little extra research to get to know kids in order to inspire them. How do you get kids to pour their little hearts out onto the page, if they feel like you barely know them at the start of the year?

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9. Making the Most of Pre-Assessments

 We spend a week or so sharing stories, and building excitement for writing stories. We hand out notebooks with fanfare, and writers happily personalize them. They brainstorm ideas for stories they could write.… Continue reading

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10. An End of the Year Writing Check

At the end of the school year, we are often faced with pages and pages of student writing. Most of it may have gone home already, but now is a great time to… Continue reading

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11. Ending a Year of Teaching Writing with a Group Reflection

One thing I love so much about being an educator is the cyclical nature of the school year. The beginning of the year brings promise, renewed energy, and a certain mania. The middle… Continue reading

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12. Ending a Year of Teaching Writing with a Group Reflection

One thing I love so much about being an educator is the cyclical nature of the school year. The beginning of the year brings promise, renewed energy, and a certain mania. The middle… Continue reading

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13. What’s An On-Demand?

On-demand assessments allow us to check and see, rather than speculate, on what kids already know and can do. Then we can make well-informed choices about what to teach.

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14. October Means Fall Leaves, Halloween, and Summer Reading?

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

We often think of autumn as a time with cooler weather, changing leaves, and upcoming holidays on the horizon.  This October our thoughts are not only on all the fun fall has to offer, but the opportunities the upcoming summer season can provide.  Our library staff is currently assessing our summer reading services and evaluating the reasons behind why we do what we do.  During this autumn, we will examine many of the logistical aspects of our summer reading plans to ensure we offer the very best program for children and their families.  What plans does your library have to alter your reading program once summer rolls around?

What’s In a Name?

For many years, our Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center in North Carolina has referred to our months of summer reading programming as our summer reading club, or more informally as SRC. During the summer, we offer many special programs and also have the opportunity for children to be read to or to read independently to receive prizes during the summer.   This year we are evaluating the name of our Summer Reading Club to see if it best suits our library’s mission and goals.  Should we consider these special events to be part of a larger summer reading program, or do we consider our summer reading extravaganza to be a club that our young members can join?  In some library systems, SRC refers to a summer reading challenge where library staff asks participants to take a more active role in setting their own reading goals. What name do you give to summer reading in your library system?

The Art of Measuring

Perhaps you measure the success of your program by the number of library visits a child makes over the summer or the overall circulation figures within your children’s department.  Maybe you encourage your young participants to read so many minutes or a certain number of books, or your library encourages children to set their own individual reading goal. In the past, we tracked how many hours children read as a marker of success as children received different prizes for reaching each predetermined goal set by library staff. We are now considering providing an option where participants can set their own reading goal after they finish our traditional reading program.  Additionally, we are examining the incorporation of an Every Child Ready to Read component where young children may participate in family activities with their parents or caregivers to enhance their summer reading experience. How do you plan to measure the success of your program this summer?

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

(Image provided by Thinkstockphotos.com)

A Plethora of Programming

Programming is essential to the value of our summer reading club.  In addition to our regularly scheduled story times, we offer various special programs and events to draw in large crowds during the summertime.  Some of these programs feature interactive art or science components while other events may feature special speakers, guest programmers, or costumed characters. This year we are discussing the idea of offering special mini-festivals at our various locations.  These festivals would incorporate some individual differences to distinguish the festivals from one another and to encourage customers to attend festivals at more than one location; this special programming would be tailored to meet the needs, interests, and resources available at our individual library branches. These festivals would also increase the opportunities staffers have to work with one another from our various branches.  Providing mini-festivals in addition to our regular programming could very well create a new opportunity for us to enhance our summer reading schedule.

We are still in the beginning steps of our summer reading plans for 2015.  There is so much value in assessing how we can maximize our summer reading experience for children and their families when June arrives. As we consider how we will name our summer reading events, measure our success, and examine some options for innovative programming, it is exciting to think of all the options ahead for an amazing summer reading experience. What new summer reading plans are you considering?  Sharing your thoughts may spark new practices or programs in other libraries.  Please add your ideas to the comments below!

0 Comments on October Means Fall Leaves, Halloween, and Summer Reading? as of 1/1/1900
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15. Conversations About Standards-Based Report Cards: Do Your Students Know How They’re Doing?

And with November, comes report cards.

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16. Using Assessment Tools to Teach Transference

Valuable lessons can be learned when an assessment tool designed for one genre is used to assess another.

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17. Aim Higher: Some Tools For Mid Year Assessments

At the end of this week, the  second marking period will officially come to an end for many of us, and so will the first half of our school year.  This is the… Continue reading

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18. 30 Days of Teen Programming: Project Outcome & Field-Based Examples of Measuring Outcomes of Young Adult Services

YALSA’s recently updated Teen Programming Guidelines encourage the use of evidence-based outcome measurement as a means of developing meaningful programs for young people. The Public Library Association - through its latest field-driven initiative, Project Outcome - is also working to assist with librarians’ efforts to capture the true value and impact of programs and services. At ALA Annual 2016, PLA will launch Project Outcome, designed to help any programmer measure outcomes beyond traditional markers such as circulation and program attendance. Instead, Project Outcome focuses on documenting how library services and programs affect our patrons’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors. It will help librarians use concrete data to prove what they intuitively know to be true: Communities are strengthened by public libraries and patrons find significant value in library services.

Lessons from the Field:  Skokie (IL) Public Library

At Skokie Public Library, we participated in the pilot testing of Project Outcome in the fall of 2014 by administering surveys for 10 different programs. The surveys were conducted online, on paper, and through in-person interviews. In one example, teens attending a class about biotechnology were interviewed using a survey designed to measure outcomes for “Education/Lifelong Learning.” Participants ranked the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with statements measuring knowledge, confidence, application, and awareness. Results showed that 85% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they learned something helpful, while only 43% agreed or strongly agreed that they intended to apply what they just learned. The results demonstrated some improvement in subject knowledge, information that can be useful for advocacy. But it also revealed that there’s room for growth in ensuring program participants understand how they can apply what they’re learning. In an open-ended question asking what they liked most about the program, teens mentioned the chemical experiments conducted during the program. This type of data is something that we can pay attention to when planning future programs.

In another example, we surveyed teens participating in a program titled, “Slam Poetry: Are We So Different?” Since this program was part of a community-wide initiative to discuss how race shapes our lives, we asked questions to measure the impact on participants’ knowledge, awareness, and application. 83% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more knowledgeable about the issues of race and racism in the community, while 67% agreed or strongly agreed that the program inspired them to take action or make a change. This type of outcome measurement goes much deeper into measuring the true influence of a program than simply recording the number of attendees.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to experiment with different Project Outcome surveys while also exploring other techniques. For long-term engagement, we are developing in-house digital badging systems. We prototyped a simple badging game for Teen Tech Week that provided data about the preferences of our teen patrons (see report). Not only do badges tally how many people are participating, they illuminate user behaviors on a granular level. Badges also make different opportunities throughout the library more visible and help teens track their progress toward mastery of a skill or subject.

Whether through Project Outcome or alternative techniques, evaluating outcomes is a fluid process. We’ll keep experimenting because the information we’re gathering is helpful for advocating for the library and improving what we’re doing so that we can have a greater impact on the people we serve. What we're learning confirms that the library plays a crucial role in teens’ lives, which is why it is so important to use outcome measures to make an even stronger case for funding, partnerships, adding staff, and garnering community support.

If you are interested in learning how to enroll in Project Outcome once it launches, please sign up for ongoing updates at http://www.ala.org/pla/performancemeasurement or contact Emily Plagman, Project Manager with PLA at eplagman@ala.org.


For more information about Skokie Public Library’s use of outcome measures, contact:

Amy Holcomb (aholcomb@skokielibrary.info)

Amy is the Experiential Learning Librarian at Skokie Public Library and coordinates the BOOMbox and participates in other STEAM initiatives for learners of all ages.

Richard Kong (rkong@skokielibrary.info)

Richard is the Deputy Director at Skokie Public Library and helped implement the pilot testing of Project Outcome.

Shauna Masura (smasura@skokielibrary.info)

Shauna is a Young Adult Librarian at Skokie Public Library and facilitates a wide range of events and services for teens.


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19. Evaluate to Advocate!

As National Library Legislative Day approaches, we must all be ready to answer the question that hangs over meetings with representatives who are lobbied daily for fiscal and political support:

Why? Why care about library services for and with teens?

It can be difficult for us, who regularly see the fruits of our labors in the smiles, small steps and cool projects our teens generate to encapsulate our stories into sound bites and elevator speeches that resonate with policy makers. Lets make it easier.


During the month of April, YALSA’s Advocacy Support Task Force has been using #Act4Teens to tweet out tips to help members reach this month’s featured Advocacy Benchmark:

Collects evaluative data to envision teen services.

In order to share our stories with congress members, local policy makers and stakeholders, we must be able to say what difference we are making in our communities. To do this, we must know what are goals are, and how well we’re accomplishing them.

YALSA’s new Teen Programming Guidelines provide us with the steps to achieve this, starting with identifying the unmet needs of teens in the specific community, through designing programs to address those needs to evaluating those programs.

Teen Programming Guideline #10:

Engage in youth-driven, evidence-based evaluation and outcome measurement.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re going to be burdening your teens with even more standardized tests. The point is to assess the program, not the students. The outcome for any particular program or service might be an “improvement or expansion of knowledge, skills, confidence, attitude, or behavior” (TPG#10.2).  For instance, one desired outcome for a Teen Homework Center might be that students increase their desire to learn for pleasure. A strategy to reach it might be to have tutors and library staff who help students connect their assignments to a personal interest, for instance, memorizing math formulas by putting them to music in the recording studio. A quick survey or interview with the students will help assess if the students have a more positive view of assignments as opportunities for new learning projects. Tallies might show that the longer students have been members of the Homework Center, the more self-driven questions they ask mentors and tutors or the more books they check out for personal reading. All of this helps assess how your strategies are working, and provides you with an excellent, and meaningful sound bite to use in advocacy efforts, such as:

75% of teens who participate regularly in the library’s Teen Homework Center demonstrate an increased desire to learn for pleasure.

Throw this info into a quick video with the math song, and show some data about how reading and learning for pleasure is one of the greatest indicators of future success, and you have yourself a pretty impenetrable argument in favor of library services for and with teens.

This is, of course, just one example. Increasingly, libraries are using outcome measures to provide this type of evaluative data, not only for advocacy efforts, but also to achieve best practices. The following articles and guides provide a framework for how you and your library can evaluate to advocate:

"After School Programs." YALSA Wiki. Accessed April 28, 2015. http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/After_School_Programs#Determining_.26_Measuring_Outcomes

Andres, Heidi. "Working with Outcomes: A Worthwhile Challenge." Young Adult Library Services Online. January 11, 2015. Accessed April 28, 2015. http://www.yalsa.ala.org/yals/working-with-outcomes-a-worthwhile-challenge/

Genett, Johannah. "Measuring Outcomes for Teen Technology Programs."Young Adult Library Services 13, no. 1 (2014): 25-29. http://yalsdigital.ala.org/i/405469-vol-13-no-1-fall-2014/26

Kepple, Sarah. “Intentionally Backwards, the Future of Learning in Libraries.” Young Adult Library Services 12, no. 1 (2013): 33-37. http://leonline.com/yals/12n1_fall2013.pdf

"Making the Case." American Library Association. November 7, 2008. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/toolkit/makingthecase


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20. What Do You See?

We see what we choose to see when we look at student writing.

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21. Where Do We Go Next? Use a Checklist!

Do your on-demand writing samples go into a folder or do they help you plan your next steps?

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22. Slow and Steady

Nicole Frederickson, a middle school teacher, doesn't believe in diagnostic writing assessments at the beginning of the school year. Find out why she builds a community of writers before she assesses her students.

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23. Scoring On-Demand Assessments

Nothing truly teaches you like rolling up your sleeves and doing something. I came away with five realizations as a result from scoring K - 8 narrative on-demand assessments by myself.

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24. Slice of Life in the classroom: How to rubric and grade our project

Launching our yearlong Slice of Life writing challenge is an exhilarating experience for my sixth graders. None of them have done any type of digital writing, and the very idea of posting a… Read More

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25. Slice of Life in the classroom: How to rubric and grade our project

Launching our yearlong Slice of Life writing challenge is an exhilarating experience for my sixth graders. None of them have done any type of digital writing, and the very idea of posting a… Read More

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