IntelAssessing Projects : Formative Assessment
FET Phase Case Study


Allegories in a Grade 11 Language Class
learners in Cleo Barnes’ English class are about to begin a 3-week project on allegories, answering the Focus Question, Do people say what they mean? Ms. Barnes is an experienced teacher who is deeply committed to heterogeneous language classes. She uses a variety of assessments to differentiate learning so that all learners can be successful. She also believes that to prepare learners for life after school, they must be self-directed learners. Therefore, she plans her teaching to develop independence in her learners.  

Ms. Barnes teaches three FET language classes with several learners who have special needs. She has two learners with severe learning disabilities. Four learners, three in one class and one in another, have moderate learning disabilities. They receive support for their regular course work in a study skills course. Throughout the day, she has an additional eight learners with moderate learning disabilities. These learners receive a minimal amount of support. She has two learners identified as "gifted" who participate in a special program based on their interests in biology and art. Four other learners are at different stages of learning English.

In this project, learners study the concepts of allegories, fables, and symbols while reading and interpreting an allegorical novel in a small group. They then create their own allegory based on some features of those in the books they read. With a small group, they create a website that addresses the Focus Question, Do people say what they mean? The learner websites include their creations along with other relevant information and links.

Preparing for the Learning Exeprience

Through various forms of assessment, including informal observations and standardized tests , Ms. Barnes has collected sets of novels appropriate for a variety of abilities. Learners are generally free to choose a book they like, although in some cases she may discuss alternate choices with them. She encourages all learners to challenge themselves when they select their books.

Ms. Barnes is well aware that many of her learners will have difficulty in post-secondary educational settings without self-direction and management skills. Teaching those skills is a high priority for her. Learners set year-long goals, revising them when necessary, and also set goals for individual projects. These goals generally address reading and writing, along with 21st Century skills, such as collaboration, project planning, critical and systems thinking, and creativity.

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