The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) met at Centennial Education Center in the Resource Room on Friday, November 9th, 2018. There were approximately 14 teachers in attendance. The teachers met in two groups by ESL Level (Beginning and Intermediate) to create formative listening assessments. The plan was to make four assessments in each group. There was also some discussion among the group members on whether to use the CASAS Listening Test as a final summative assessment.
Finally, each group decided it create the first assessment during the November 9th Meeting. Thus, each group began work on their first formative listening assessment for the Beginning and Intermediate ESL levels. The new curriculum will be implemented during the Spring 2018 trimester, and the names of the courses will be changed to reflect the designations used by CASAS (Literacy; Beginning Low and High; Intermediate Low and High; and Advanced Low and High).
Fortunately, with great teamwork among the group members, the teacher groups were able to complete their first formative assessments. In fact, the Intermediate ESL group even did a recording of the dialogue of the first listening assessment with assistance from Rob Jenkins. Rob will not be attending the Friday, November 30th meeting; however, some of the members of the PLC will come together on that date to continue to work on the second formative listening assessments. The goal is to have all the listening assessments completed and ready for trial testing during the Spring 2019 trimester.
The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) held its most recent meeting on October 19th, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:30 pm. There were about 16 teachers in attendance. The meeting began with a collective discussion of progress on creation of new rubrics for formative assessment of Listening Skills. Various approaches to Listening Assessment were evaluated. They included combining listening and speaking on a single rubric; creating a rubric of categories of listening; designing a listening rubric based on the new curricular objectives; or formulating a listening rubric from typical classroom activities. In the end, the teachers decided on the activity-based approach.
After deciding on the best approach for creating their Listening Rubrics, the teachers divided into their Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced ESL groups by level. Within each group, the teachers had to decide on the number of activities which they would evaluate within their formative rubrics. Most teachers reached a consensus on four activities to assess over the course of the semester.
Rob Jenkins recommended that the teachers meet in the Resource Room for the next meeting, so they could easily access ESL materials with which to design the activities to include in their rubrics. The new ESL curriculum is to be implemented soon during the Spring 2019 semester and some teachers cautioned that their rubrics may not be ready to test immediately. However, the overall sense was that the groups will be ready to begin creation of their Listening Rubrics at the next meeting in November.
The monthly meeting of the teachers’ Professional Learning Community (PLC) was held at Centennial Education Center from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on October 4, 2018. The purpose of the meeting was development of listening rubric to be used for formative assessment. Rob Jenkins began the meeting by sharing a jigsaw writing strategy that he used with his Intermediate 2/3 ESL students at Remington to create a class essay. The essay was composed with student research and group writing of paragraphs which were combined to form essays on a variety of interesting topics.
Eric Glicker invited his former student (Luis) to speak and take questions on his journey from Beginning One ESL at Centennial to transfer student at Cal State University Los Angeles. Luis identified successful strategies that had enabled him to develop a growth mindset. Those included resilience and persistence toward his goals; participation in academic discourse (writing was most challenging); and consistent support from instructors and counselors. One of his instructors who most inspired him recommended the book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, which advises 10,000 hours of practice in a community and social networking to build successful careers.
Finally, teachers met in groups by ESL level to begin work on their listening rubrics. Teachers carefully examined the new curriculum and discussed which listening activities to assess through the formative rubrics to be created. It was decided to bring examples of rubrics used by other adult school programs, as well as examples of listening activities that could be integrated into the rubric. There are three remaining meetings to be held during Fall Semester, 2018.
The Final Meeting of the Professional Learning Committee (PLC) for the Spring, 2018 Semester was held on May 11th, 2018 at 2 pm. There were over 15 teachers in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to complete the ESL Writing Rubrics for the Beginning Low/High, Intermediate Low and Intermediate High levels. The rubrics will be presented at the ESL Department’s Assessment Committee meeting at the end of May. At the start of the meeting, there was useful and practical evaluation of the PLC’s new writing rubrics and how they might be implemented with the new ESL Curriculum. The ESL Pre and Post Test traditionally given each semester may soon be eliminated in favor of using the Writing Rubrics. Teachers talked about how they’ve used the writing rubrics with the writing assignments they’ve completed during Spring Semester 2018 with their classes and what revisions they might need to make to the rubrics. After the discussion period, teachers met in their groups to complete the changes to the writing rubrics.
The teacher groups will type up their final rubrics in preparation for the Assessment Committee meeting. Rob Jenkins will compile all the rubrics into a packet for presentation to the committee. PLC Members will also attend the Assessment Committee meeting at the end of May and be prepared to answer the questions of committee members regarding the writing rubrics. The next meeting of the PLC will be during the Fall Semester, 2018.
The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) held a meeting at Centennial on April 27th, 2018 at 2 pm. There were over 20 teachers in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to complete revision of our ESL Writing Rubrics. There were three groups of teachers working on rubrics: a group for ESL Levels Beginning Low & High; another for Intermediate Low; and a third group for Intermediate High. The recommendation was made to revise to further revise the rubrics to make them more user-friendly for teachers of various levels. Teachers brought samples of writing completed in their classes to test out the rubrics and find out how closely members of the groups would score the writing samples using the rubrics. The results of the scoring helped the groups to make appropriate adjustments to writing rubrics. In addition, most of the groups changed the weighting given to each criterion measured in their rubrics. Lastly, teachers decided to hold a final PLC meeting on May 11th, 2018 to finalize the rubrics. They are to be shared at the ESL Assessment Committee Meeting at the end of May.
The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) Meeting was held on April 13th, 2018. There were 12 Teachers in Attendance. The Meeting was chaired by Rob Jenkins. The teachers continued their group work by level on the Writing Rubrics for the upcoming Fall Semester 2018. The PLC will submit our finished rubrics to the ESL Department as possible tools for assessing our students that could be used with a writing portfolio that each ESL teacher could develop for regular formative assessments during the semester. The writing portfolios could be one of a number of multiple measures that teachers may use to determine whether students are ready for promotion to the next ESL level. At the PLC Meeting, Rob encouraged the teachers to revise the writing rubrics so that they are weighted to accurately reflect the importance attached to each area assessed by the rubric. For instance, if paragraph organization were most important, then the rubric would award a greater number of points to students whose paragraphs are more unified and coherent. Both the Beginning and Intermediate ESL groups revised the order of their rubrics and added weighting to each category assessed in the rubric.
The next step will be for the teachers to conduct another writing lesson with their classes, and return to the next PLC Meeting on Friday April 27th, 2018 with their student paragraphs. Then the PLC teachers will use their newly revised rubrics to assess the paragraphs from the writing lessons, and check how well the new rubrics work when used to measure the students’ writing.
Product of the March 23 PLC Meeting Ms. Marti Guerra wrote an article 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