Sunday, October 27, 2013

NAfME Pre-Conference Day Two

What another incredible day!!! Lots of great information was shared, plus practical examples and opportunities to put the info to use.

On a side note, some of the presenters used for us to interact... pretty cool stuff!

Here is the basic summary of the topics and discussions today:

Introduction to the Workbook - Kelly Parkes, VA Tech
What IS evidence of student achievement?
How do we collect and track the data?
School systems are being asked to implement a "one size fits all" system
The NAfME Workbooks are available for general music and school ensemble focus.
The need for these workbooks is outlined on the NAfME website.

Workbook in Detail:
Divided into: Introduction, Use, Sample Forms, Opportunity to Learn, References, Resources, Comparison Chart (between Workbook, Danielson, Marzano, and McREL)

**Designed to be used by an evaluator with a music background, or to at least bridge the gap between music educator and a non-music evaluator

Largely based on Danielson - the task force believed Danielson best fit the needs of music educators and modeled the language while substituting music learning expectations and examples

The purpose of the Workbook is for Professional Development.
The task force is working with a vendor to make it web-enabled.

Guided Group Evaluations 

Karen Steele (principal in Towson) & Rebecca Wilhelm (middle school band teacher)

Criteria for Evaluation Section of Workbook:
1. Supporting Structures - use the NAfME Opportunity-to-Learn Standards (appendix 1 or online) to outline to admin what is or is not available in the building
2. Curricular Goals and Measures - separated into Creating, Performing, and Responding
3. Professional Practice - refers to the Domains, can adapt to any model the district uses
4. Additional Program Expectations and Collective/General Measures

Practical Evaluations - Glenn Nierman
We watched 2 video examples and used the tools as practice (2c & 2d for an "opera" general music lesson for 8th grade; 3c & 3d for "rodeo" general music lesson for 2nd grade)

Practical Student Outcome Assessments - Scott Shuler & Johanna Siebert
We watched two video examples of lessons and discussed pre-observation, evidence collection, and post-observation.

Threats to Quality Content Supervision

  • "Fine Arts" leadership consolidation - instead of "Music"
  • Loss of content-specific supervisor positions
  • Narrowing of preparation programs for non-arts teachers and administrators - no time to take arts-related courses

5 Key Attributes of Effective Teachers
  1. Content expertise
  2. Content-specific pedagogy
  3. Generic pedagogy
  4. Personal qualities
  5. Professional dispositions
School admin can only speak to 3, 4, and 5; the music expert can focus on 1 and 2.
Content-Expert Supervisors can provide more detailed input to teachers and are better prepared to address those 2 key areas. They can provide feedback/evaluation on content-specific teacher standards and content. They can compare classroom content to curriculum, apply generic rubric domains with contextual understanding, and prescribe and identify appropriate PD for teacher growth.

Consequences of Content Leadership Void:
  • Irrelevant district PD
  • Lack of support/guidance for budget, curriculum, assessment, teacher growth, and professional participation (conferences, boards, etc.)
  • Loss of statewide leadership
Strategies for Filling the Void
  • Outside expert consultants (MEA network of expert retirees, university faculty trained in the state system)
  • Shared supervisor (multi-district)
  • Regional network (county)
  • Trained peer coaches
Advice for Music Teachers
  • SMART goals
  • Learn and leverage the system - educate yourself on the rules/procedures, use the system to improve, set clear outcomes, link goals to opportunities for PD
  • Measuring growth - select an issue, focus on a subgroup, focus the SLO/Measure, and focus the PD
  • Video record - both when not being observed and during observations, preferably from both perspectives (back of class and front of class)
Possible Pretest Strategies
  1. Complete entire Final Assessment: benefit = exact comparison, challenge = unfair/upsetting
  2. Complete One Pre-Task from Final Assessment: benefit = exact comparison, challenge = limits scope
  3. Complete easier Final Assessment: benefit = adjusted to current ability, challenge = how to compare scores (factor in difficulty)
... and 2 more that I did not catch; I will update once I receive the PPT files of these presentations.

What Are the Next Steps? - Mike Blakeslee
Continuously collecting comments and improvements
New editions will be released yearly, including digital versions (from Innovate School Music)

Thus the Pre-Conference was brought to a close. I feel... enlightened and empowered. I have gained insight and information to be shared with music colleagues and administrators in my county. I feel that I can advocate for myself and my music education profession in a much more informed manner.

And I feel I can conquer the world! No, wait... I'm getting a little carried away. Perhaps just conquer this new phase of teacher accountability :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

NAfME Pre-Conference Day One

By some miracle, my school district (county) saw fit to provide grant money so that I could attend the NAfME conference in Nashville, TN. Woohoo! Or should I say, Yeehaw!

So here I am at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel having just finished Day One of the Pre-Conference focused on Teacher Evaluation and Student Assessment... both hot topics in education, but particularly in music education.

I am battling very slow WiFi, so I am not sure when/if this post will upload.

The day opened with remarks from NAfME President-Elect Glenn Nierman and NAfME Deputy Executive Director & COO Mike Blakelee.

Why Focus on Teacher Evaluation Now?
  • ESEA (NCLB) is up for reauthorization
  • Research has proven that teacher efficacy directly impacts student achievement 
  • Race To The Top has put greater emphasis on evaluation, assessment, and accountability.

Based on the three items above, there are two primary concerns:

  1. Are we teaching to look good and not to do good?
  2. How do we collect data on student growth?

Mike also introduced the "Workbook" which we will tackle in depth during the sessions tomorrow:

Workbook for Bulding and Evaluating Effective Music Education

  • Section 1: Supporting Structures
  • Section 2: Curricular Goals & Measures
  • Section 3: Observations
  • Section 4: Other Outcomes

Next up was Beth Cummings from Polk County, Florida.

Polk County (Florida) Performing Fine Arts Assessments Project
This project is funded by RTTT to create summative and formative assessments of individual achievement, instead of group achievement (such as in ensembles).
The assessments focus on Responding, Performing, and Creating Music.

Although there are MANY benchmarks for each course (200-350), assessment items attached to only the benchmarks that can be best assessed in the classroom and are essential to learning.

Those creating the assessments wanted to reflect what is important to the classroom teachers.

Performing benchmarks are combined into tasks divided into Prepared (time to practice), On Demand (sight-reading), and Creating (improvise); rubrics for each type

All Responding assessments are on computer! 30-40 minutes total (30%)
Performing assessments are no longer than 15 minutes (70%)

CONCERN: When can we test since the students are already facing lots of testing?

NOTE: There is a website, however the slow WiFi will not let me test the links prior to posting. I will update when I have a more reliable connection.

Doug Orzolek presented Research, Issues, and Trends in Teacher Evaluation

Doug's Categories of Teacher Evaluation

  • Linked to student outcomes (SLOs and assessments)
  • Linked to observations
  • Linked to self-assessment and reflection
  • Linked to all three (multifaceted evals)
From MET (Gates Foundation):
External observations are a good ongoing check for internal bias.
Observers should be trained in observation and should always be done by more than one observer.
The more lessons and observers, the higher the reliability of the evaluation.
1/3 each student survey, observation, and reflection combined for the evaluation yields the highest reliability (.76)

Danielson "Framework for Teaching" is reliable, especially since it encourages reflection and self-assessment, however the tool needs to be adapted and changed to be music ed friendly.

David Hawley presented recent changes in SmartMusic in relation to student assessment.
  • Added a new Rubric scoring option; rubric is teacher-created
  • Added a mic check prior to playing
  • Click on errors to see corrections, as many takes as they want
  • Added an open response assignment option utilizing NotePad
  • Added state standards

RTTT Teacher Evaluation 
Dru Davison presented the TN Fine Arts Student Growth Measures.
Since current assessment options (MAP, SLO, teacher-created or district-created assessments) were not applicable, the solution is a flexible but rigorous portfolio, demonstrating student work and utilizing peer review)

System Requirements:

  • 5 evidence collections (sampling) - teacher choice reflective of course load
  • Collection shows evidence of student growth in 3 out of 4: Perform, Create, Respond, Connect
  • Self-scored, then peer review
  • Built in secondary peer review for instance of disagreement
Challenges to creating the system: must be time efficient, must account for limited tech, must account for inequity of resources/class time/curricular support, must have a fair peer review system, and must move towards standards-based instruction

The Gladis Project created a cloud-based evidence collection tool which allows for double-blind peer review and accepts a variety of formats.

After a lunch break, we were presented with the correlations between Music Literacy and Common Core by Amy Charleroy & Johanna Siebert. These were too numerous (which is a good thing!) to list here.

The NAfME Immediate Past-President, Scott Shuler, then teamed up with Richard Wells.
Re-Imagined Standards, Student Assessment, and Teacher Evaluation
Common Music Assessment Project
Why? Transferable, Consistent Quality, Reliable, Credible
"If the teachers can't score [the assessment,] it is not of any use."

Core Arts Standards & Cornerstone Assessments -
  • Public Review - December 2013
  • Final Version - March 2014
Creating, Performing, & Responding (Connecting is embedded) - CPR+
Cornerstone Assessments are designed to provide models of quality assessments and to generate student work to illustrate standards.

The Connecticut Department of Education created a website with tons of examples for teachers regarding student assessment. Select "Task Search," select "Music" from the drop down menu and keyword search "CTCAA."

Lynn Tuttle then emphasized the wide variations between states on meeting federal requirements of teacher evaluation. If 68% of the teaching workforce (in Arizona) are teachers of "non-tested" subjects; why are we then held accountable to assessments that we do not directly impact?

The final session of the day was a presentation by Chris Woodside who outlined what NAfME has been working on in the policy sphere on the National level. He also discussed the "Groundswell" advocacy tools available on the NAfME website.

Overall, the day was highly informative and the presenters provided valuable information on the background of the evaluation and assessment movement. I look forward to tomorrow and being able to get "hands-on" with the tools NAfME has created for music teachers.