IntelAssessing Projects : Formative Assessment
FET Phase Case Study


Learners Stories: Junie's and Tony's Goals
After a brief introduction to the project, learners look through their portfolios and identify areas of strength and weakness to focus on during the project. Learners are encouraged to create goals that stretch their abilities and help them succeed in life as well as in the language class.

Junie, a learner with severe learning disabilities, works with her teacher to identify three goals that she wants to work on during the project:

  • I will share my ideas with the other learners in my small group.
  • I will explain more of my reasons when I am writing.
  • I will bring my own materials to class every day.
Tony, a learner with moderate learning disabilities, writes the following goals:
  • I will pay attention to my schedule and do a little bit of work on my project every day.
  • I will think of as many ideas as I can before I decide on one.
  • I will think carefully about the end of my writing.
  • I will follow through on my responsibilities in my group. 
Periodically throughout the project, learners look over their goals and reflect in their journals about how well they are doing. Ms. Barnes provides guidance on how to give specific evidence for their conclusions.

Reading an Allegorical Novel
After learner groups have selected the novel they are going to read, they must schedule their reading so they can participate fully in class activities. Learners with disabilities receive partially completed checklists along with instructions on how to divide the reading into manageable chunks. Since learners in Ms. Barnes’ classes are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, learners are given slightly less scaffolding for these checklists than they received with the previous project.

The focus of this project is to build the skills necessary for interpreting allegories. Therefore, Ms. Barnes collects information about how her learners are thinking about their books in a couple ways. She has learners write their questions and thoughts about their reading in journals, which she examines every few days. She also takes notes on learners’ thinking processes while they discuss their reading. The following sample table reflects the critical-thinking skills used by one group of learners while discussing the novel Lord of the Flies:

    Blake Melody Kim (moderate learning disabilities)
Makes connections with personal experiences to draw conclusions Excellent Doesn’t really use own experiences, seems detached from the book Made one comparison
Revises inferences/conclusions with new information Not seen Good Not seen
Provides specific examples from the book to support opinions Just used one example for all conclusions Good Only vague references
Comprehends events accurately Used personal experiences too much in interpreting the book Good None—may not be reading the book

Ms. Barnes makes some hypotheses from this short observation, which she checks against information from other assessments, such as journal entries and informal interviews. She decides to do a short mini-lesson on providing textual support for interpretations, because that problem appeared in several of her observations. She meets with Kim individually to discuss her reading schedule. She asks Kim’s parents to help her keep up with her reading.  

Throughout this part of the project, Ms. Barnes collects data about her learners’ literary interpretation, self-direction, and collaboration skills. She uses what she learns to provide individual and group feedback, plan teaching, and record information for support supporting the learners with special needs. A final essay exam gives her information about her learners’ literary interpretation skills that she uses when planning future projects and when working with individual learners.

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