The Assessment Corner: New FOSS Next Generation Features in the Works!

FOSS Newsletter Staff
March 12, 2018 | Assessment

The FOSS assessment team is excited to announce several new features that will be available next school year (2018-2019). FOSSmap 2.0, Interim Assessment items, and changes to the FOSS Assessment chapter are all coming soon!

FOSSmap 2.0

Thanks to those of you who have stuck with FOSSmap over the last couple of years! Started as a proof of concept project, FOSSmap is stepping into primetime with a whole new system thanks to a partnership with LinkIt. LinkIt is a well-established online assessment delivery and data management system that currently serves approximately four million students worldwide and processes about ten million assessment results annually. FOSSmap with LinkIt will provide a reliable online assessment system.

With this move, there is a suite of reports, including many of the most popular from the original FOSSmap system such as: Code Frequency (an at-a-glance look those concepts at which the class excelled and those that were problematic); Class by Item (narrative reports that detail what individual students know or need to work on); and Student by Item reports (similar to the Class-by-Item reports for students and parents rather than teachers). Many of you will be happy to know that we are bringing back Class-by-Level reports, which provide a profile of students and the progress level at which they are performing. In addition, new reports will enable you to sort items by NGSS standard; and the system is set up so that administrators will be able to partner with teachers to view assessment results for data-driven conversations about student and class progress.

FOSS Interim Assessments

Another new component of the assessment system available next fall is called interim assessments. These assessments directly target specific NGSS performance expectations. They are not primarily designed to provide diagnostic information for daily instruction using FOSS curriculum. Rather, they are generic tasks on which students should be able to perform effectively, given any curriculum used to teach the NGSS. FOSS interim assessments can provide students with practice for state or district tests. Interim assessments can be given after students complete instruction focusing on a particular performance expectation, or they can be administered at the end of the year for program evaluation, especially when a state or district test is not given at that grade level.

These interim assessment tasks begin with a scenario that students read to set the context for a set of questions students will answer. Generally there are four open response questions for students to answer. As these tests evolve over the coming years, we plan to develop interim assessments for NGSS, grades 3 through 5, using a variety of context-setting scenarios, including performance tasks, videos, and possibly online simulations similar to our FOSS virtual investigations. These assessment tasks will evolve as we continue to learn more about 3-dimensional testing designs that are currently being developed by states that have adopted the NGSS.

Early testing of these items has shown that one effective use of these assessments is for formative purposes. For third graders, we suggest that you might use these assessment tasks as a teaching/learning experience. For example, support students by reading the task context scenario aloud, and allowing the class to work through the task questions together. You provide the support and encouragement students need, short of providing answers. After students complete the tests, use them formatively, like an I-Check, to evaluate students’ progress and to provide self-assessment activities to help students improve their test taking skills and knowledge expression. In fourth and fifth grades, students take these tests under conditions more like those they will face with state and district tests, still keeping in mind that the purpose of these assessments is to introduce students to these more complex assessment tasks in a way that supports a growth mindset.

FOSS Assessment Chapter Changes

Also important to know, we have divided the Assessment Chapter into two documents: the Assessment Chapter (which is printed in each FOSS Investigations Guide and will continue to be) and the Coding Guides (which will be available for download only on FOSSweb; there will be no hardcopy print version). Assessment masters will also be updated frequently on FOSSweb. The reason for making this split is simple. Assessments need to be constantly updated as we learn more about student learning and how our items can best provide evidence of that learning. By making these documents more fluid, we can continue to provide users with the most up-to-date versions of assessment items and coding guides. Starting next fall, whenever you start a module or course, be sure to check FOSSweb for the latest versions of these documents.

Needless to say, we are very excited about these new developments. We hope that you will join us with enthusiasm and continue to provide us with feedback about what is working and changes you would like to see.