Assessing Student Learning with the End in Mind

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Strong implementation of Wit & Wisdom® relies on using curriculum-based assessments to inform instruction. Every assessment provides important information about what students know and can do. This month, we focus on the End-of-Module Task and how teachers can continuously improve their understanding of assessments through preparation and student work analysis—which ultimately leads to stronger instruction.

The End-of-Module (EOM) Task is the hard-earned finish line at the module’s completion. On this summative assessment, students demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a writing task rather than a skills-based reading assessment. When teachers understand exactly what the finish line looks like—and how students can successfully cross it—they can better support students in developing strong knowledge and literacy skills throughout a module.

How can teachers plan and instruct with the end in mind? Here are three ways to deepen Wit & Wisdom EOM Task practices:  

1. Plan to spend time on Step 3 of the Module Study Protocol. Studying the module design before teaching it leads to stronger instruction. Step 3, Examine the Module’s Writing Tasks and Assessments, helps teachers unpack the knowledge and skills students need to demonstrate on the EOM Task. Many teachers find that the T-chart created in this step helps build understanding of what students should know and be able to do by the end of the module.

Here’s how a Grade 1 teacher might break down the knowledge and skill expectations for the Module 4 EOM Task

Knowledge Skills
  • Identify many of the common elements in all the Cinderella stories 
  • Understand that people admire others for a variety of reasons 
  • Understand admirable character traits such as being honest, hardworking, forgiving, and kind 
  • Understand how a character’s actions show a character trait 
  • Know what an opinion is 
  • Describe the character traits of each Cinderella 
  • Describe one of the Cinderella characters 
  • Collect textual evidence to support an opinion about one Cinderella 
  • Write an introduction 
  • Write an opinion statement 
  • Give reasons to support an opinion statement 
  • Write a conclusion statement that reinforces the opinion statement 
  • Use the conjunctions and, or, but, and because 
  • Capitalize the first letter of a sentence 
  • Capitalize proper nouns and names of characters 
  • Use ending punctuation 
  • Write in complete sentences 
  • Refer to the Word Wall to spell tricky words correctly 


Some teachers post the T-chart in the teacher workroom, so when they gather for planning, they can refer to this list throughout the planning and instruction of the module. Keeping the knowledge and skills chart on full display helps teachers as they prioritize and prepare instruction.

2. Look for the connections between the module assessments. Wit & Wisdom assessments form a coherent narrative about what students should know and do throughout the module. When teachers build strong knowledge of the EOM Task, they can more easily identify how a Check for Understanding—one of the daily, formative assessments—provides a step toward success with the EOM Task.

For example, in Lesson 19 of Grade 1 Module 4, students write a conclusion statement for an opinion paragraph. The paragraph students read responds to the question “Which illustration in the story Adelita taught you the most about the character Adelita?”  

Wit & Wisdom Grade 1 Module 4 Lesson 19 Check for UnderstandingWith a deep understanding of the knowledge and skills built during the Module Study Protocol, teachers can quickly observe a few strong connections to the EOM Task:

  • students think about how we learn about characters in a book,
  • students focus on building the skill of writing a conclusion statement, and
  • students receive an opportunity for low-stakes writing practice long before the EOM Task.

When teachers see the connections between a Check for Understanding and an EOM Task, they can respond in real time to students’ learning. Understanding how a lesson-level formative assessment connects to the final summative assessment clarifies the look-fors in student work. This understanding of the connections between assessments also influences pacing decisions because when to slow down or speed up in response to students’ learning becomes more obvious.

3. Practice continuous improvement by analyzing students’ completed EOM Tasks. Student-work analysis can inform future instructional decisions. And analyzing student work also helps teachers strengthen module implementation in the next year.  

By collaboratively analyzing student work with grade-level colleagues, teachers can identify trends in students’ learning that reflect the module design and teachers’ individual instructional choices. Team reflection can also lead to a deeper understanding of strong evidence of student learning.

Here's a quick post-module protocol for analyzing students’ work with a grade-level team or a coach:

  1. Before meeting, each teacher should select two EOM Task responses that exceed expectations, two that meet expectations, and two that do not yet meet expectations.  
  2. Individually evaluate each student response by using the Criteria for Success, the writing rubric, and the Appendix C sample response.
  3. Compare evaluations.
  4. Analyze discrepancies among evaluations, striving to reach consensus about how to evaluate student work.
  5. Discuss specific positive feedback you could offer to each student.
  6. Identify possible next steps to support students.
  7. Reflect on takeaways from the module instruction and reflect on what led to students’ successes or challenges. Make notes for future years of implementation.

Summary

To help students cross each module’s finish line, teachers must deepen their preparation, seek connections among assessments, and carefully analyze students’ performance. When teachers thoroughly understand the knowledge and skills students should demonstrate on the EOM Task, the Learning Goals and tasks presented throughout a module become much clearer.

Additional Resources for Leaders

Are you an instructional leader seeking more support to build systems for preparing effectively and analyzing student work? These resources can help:

Topics: Assessments Featured Planning Analyzing Student Work