Product of the March 23 PLC Meeting Ms. Marti Guerra wrote a letter in which she explains the dynamics of the meetings and its results.
We have been working on developing rubrics for our levels at the PLC meetings. This has been an excellent learning experience for me. Although I am familiar with rubrics I had not developed my own rubric for tests or exams I give to my students.
Working together with instructors who teach our level, we first developed rubrics for CORE Writing Standards. That proved to be a challenging task, since there are so many writing tasks appropriate for this level. But with trial and error and application (testing) we were able to construct specific rubrics to test our students on specific writing tasks.
We Tested 10 Questions
For Beginning ESL 1 we used 10 sentences for students to rewrite by correcting spelling, punctuation and subject/verb agreement. One instructor had the students write their own sentences instead of giving them incorrect sentences to correct; however, we used the same rubric to correct the sentences. We did not correct our own students’ tests, but exchanged the tests with other instructors in our group to see if we would get the same points. We found that the rubric worked well, since the points assessed were much the same, give or take a few points.
Other levels of ESL assessed
Besides testing the rubric among instructors in our own level, we also exchanged tests with other levels, i.e., Intermediate 2 and Beginning 2. We were given the rubrics they had written for their level, and we graded the students’ work using the appropriate rubrics. The rubrics proved to be helpful, since our points were similar to what their points were. We found the Beginning 2 rubrics a bit problematic and we discussed this with some of the instructors.
I discovered that a few of my sentences needed to be written—they were unclear and could be corrected in more than one way, which would cause different points to be assessed depending on the sentence constructed. I will rewrite these sentences so that there can be only one way to rewrite the sentences correctly.
We encourage everyone to come and join us and work with us to continue to work on CORE Writing Standards. We usually meet every other Friday, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
ESL Instructor, Beginning 1
There were twelve teachers present at our meeting on March 23rd. Debbye Karaffa led the meeting. We got right to work in our leveled groups discussing the classroom experiences we have been having with the writing rubrics that we are developing. Each group tested the current version of their rubric with authentic student writing samples. Then, to further test the rubrics, we shared them with other levels along with the students’ writings, to see if the rubrics were clear enough to the teachers to be used and to get similar score results. Each level group sought clarification and gave feedback about the rubrics to their authors for further revision.
The PLC Meeting was held on March 2, 2018 at Centennial Education Center. There were 12 Teachers in Attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to develop and refine our writing rubrics by ESL Level. The rubrics will be used in writing portfolios that ESL Teachers will begin to use during the Fall, 2018 Semester. The PLC Teachers met by level, and completed the writing rubrics that they had begun designing at the previous meeting. Most teachers decided to create rubrics that included a 1-3 or 0-3 evaluation scale along with specific categories for checking for grammar, mechanics, and composition skills (such as unity, organization, and development of ideas). The rubrics for Beginning ESL Teachers were developed for word to sentence and for Intermediate Teachers, for sentence to paragraph level writing. The PLC instructors decided to give a new writing assignment to their students, and to bring some copies of the students’ writing to the next PLC Meeting. The teachers would then use the newly-developed rubrics to norm and evaluate the student writing among the members of the ESL level groups. From the norming process, teachers will learn how to better revise the rubrics, increasing their effectiveness before the rubrics are used with the writing portfolios in Fall 2018. (more…)
At the February 23rd Meeting of the PLC, there were 14 teachers present. Mr Rob Jenkins was unable to attend the meeting due to a presentation he was making at another school district. In his absence, Debora Karaffa served as his highly effective replacement. Debbye asked for teachers to report on their experiences using the formative assessments. After many successful reports, the teachers watched a video created by Rob Jenkins on creating writing rubrics. The video provided many useful hints for the teachers to use when making their rubrics. After watching the video, teachers met by ESL level with their colleagues to create the rubrics. The rubrics will be used to evaluate a writing portfolio that each teacher will keep of the formative writing assessments that the students will write during the semester. Some groups were able to finish their rubrics, while others were at least 50% completed. All groups promised to type their rubrics to bring to the next meeting on March 2nd, 2018.
At the February 2nd Meeting of the PLC, there were 16 teachers and Mr. Rob Jenkins present. Initial discussion at the meeting involved the new curriculum and the role of the PLC in developing formative writing assessments. An additional goal was for the spring semester, 2018 was to create writing rubrics that teachers could use to evaluate the writing assessments. The assessments would be collected in a writing portfolio that teachers could use to make decisions for promotions to the next ESL level. After discussion, the teachers formed teams by level to make a writing assessment for students in their classes. The teachers consulted the curriculum as well as other available textbook resources to find appropriate writing prompts and create the assessments. By the end of the meeting, all groups reported success in writing their formative assessments. The assessments were to be piloted in the teachers’ courses with reporting on their experiences at the February 23rd Meeting.
The second Fall Meeting of the Professional Learning Committee was held on October 13th, 2017 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm. The goal of the meeting was to create pre and post writing assessments to improve academic outcomes among our ESL students. There were 17 teachers in attendance.
The meeting began with a review of the goals of the previous meeting by Mr. Rob Jenkins. There was substantial discussion regarding the role of the PLC in developing the assessments, and how these assessments may help teachers become more effective writing instructors. To this end, Ms. Monica Rojas gave a PowerPoint presentation on classroom “Play: Shapes The Brain; Opens The Imagination; Invigorates The Soul.” Monica discussed ways to increase classroom interaction and promote greater student participation. Some suggested strategies included: Field Trips; Humor; Storytelling; Sharing Food; Tossing a Ball for Vocabulary Practice; and Role Play. Finally, she emphasized the importance of creating community and a sense of belonging in the classroom. After Monica’s presentation on active learning strategies, teachers met in their groups by level to develop their writing assessments. Most teachers decided to gather data from their students by asking them to complete a short writing project. Teachers will return to the next PLC with the results of their projects to create their initial writing assessments. The results of these assessments will also inform the work of the ESL Department in tweaking and adjusting the new ESL Curriculum to become more responsive to student needs and improve academic outcomes.
The first Fall Meeting of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) was held at Centennial Education Center from 2 to 4 pm on September 29, 2017. The next meeting is scheduled for October 13, 2017 from 2 to 4 pm.
There were 17 teachers in attendance including the PLC leader, Rob Jenkins. Rob established 5 goals for our Fall PLC:
(1) Identify gaps in student learning related to the newly-revised ESL Curriculum
(2) Identify effective instructional strategies to remediate those gaps.
(3) Create common formative assessments to measure progress.
(4) Test out the instructional strategies throughout the semester.
(5) Evaluate instructional strategies based on the assessment results.
After initial discussion of our goal framework, the PLC divided into groups based on ESL instructional level. Then teachers discussed writing pre/post test formative assessments. In addition, they ranked the importance of the writing tasks identified in the new curriculum according to greatest perceived need. The writing task of greatest importance was suggested as the primary focus for our pre/post formative assessments. After much useful discussion, it was decided to begin work on the assessments at the following meeting. Finally, PLC member, Monica Rojas, kindly volunteered to give a literacy presentation at the next PLC meeting as well as to take photos while serving as the PLC historian. Many thanks to Monica and Rob for their effective leadership and to ESL colleagues for their continued participation in Centennial’s Professional Learning Community.