2002 Conference Proceedings

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Assessment: Key to Diversifying Instruction

Suzanne Feit
IntelliTools
sfeit@intellitools.com

Accurate assessment is important in evaluating what students know, their mastery of new material, as well as their ability to apply concepts learned. Too often, however, grades become the sole basis for evaluating student performance. While grades may have statistical value, they do not provide teachers with the information they need to modify or pace instruction to meet the needs of individual students. They don't help teachers answer questions such as:

How well are students incorporating what they've learnt into their daily work?

IntelliTools has found that student portfolios are one of the most valuable methods of gathering information about students in order to diversify instruction. By examining case studies, participants will explore how information gathered from various portfolios can be used to develop diagnostic profiles and to assist in future planning.

One system facilitates gathering and interpreting information

IntelliTools has designed a system for portfolio creation that is featured in many of our products including - the tools in the IntelliTools Classroom: IntelliTalk II(r), IntelliPics Studio(r) and IntelliMathics(r) - and IntelliKeys(r) USB.

Groups and Users

Participants will learn how the system of Groups and Users functions. A Group is any collection of students. A classroom teacher using IntelliTalk II or IntelliPics Studio may want to organize Groups by subject areas such as math, social studies and language arts. A teacher using IntelliMathics might set up Groups based on various math skills. Within each Group, folders are created for individual students. Students can naturally belong to multiple Groups.

As students work on an activity, they automatically save their work into the appropriate folder. For each entry there is a comment field to record observations related to that particular activity. These can be a reminder to repeat the activity or to modify it, a note about the student's behavior while doing the activity, or a flag to contact the parent or other professional.

The best tool to teach a particular concept

The tools that make up the IntelliTools Classroom can be used to reinforce or enhance learning in different ways. A student struggling with a writing activity in IntelliTalk II might benefit from a more interactive presentation of the same content using IntelliPics Studio or IntelliMathics. For example, graphics depicting "under," "over," "in" or "out" can be moved around in IntelliPics Studio, classified by attribute in IntelliMathics, and used in context in IntelliTalk II.

The portfolio system is also used in Balanced Literacy(tm). The program follows a carefully orchestrated sequence of skills and students' responses to the various reviews are recorded. The program records the number of tries to get the correct answer as well as the wrong answers given. Teachers can readily see if a student is simply guessing or if there is any logical pattern to their incorrect responses.

The right access settings

Providing proper access to the computer is also important. IntelliKeys USB uses the same portfolio system as the Classroom tools to save IntelliKeys USB settings for individual students. Rather than having to reprogram IntelliKeys USB each time it's used by a new student, settings can be opened directly from the set-up screen menu.

Summary

In the course of the workshop, participants will learn how various types of assessment contribute to successful instruction. They will also gain a greater understanding of how different tools can be used to reinforce and adapt content. Participants will receive a demo CD featuring the products discussed.


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