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Contemporary Issues in Teaching and Learning

Since the 1988 Education Reform Act, our education system has undergone dramatic changes and this in turn has raised a number of controversial issues and questions. This reader brings together key articles, both recently published and specially commissioned, which address these issues and place them in context. Issues covered include:
*the curriculum * teaching and learning
*assessment
*school effectiveness and improvement.
Various themes run throughout the book include, the quest for quality within a social context, the application of theory and research to practice, and the positive roles played by both teachers and students in adapting to recent change.

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Bridging

Designed for trainee and practising teachers of children ages 3-8, this two volume set provides the rationale and theoretical foundation for the assessment system the authors have developed, including 15 carefully designed assessment activities, guidance on how to implement them, how to interpret the results, and how to “bridge” them to shape classroom teaching practices.

The activities cover diverse curricular areas, including English and literacy, visual arts, mathematics, sciences, and performing arts. Each activity is described in terms of the standard components of early childhood curricula: (1) the key concepts and skills in specific content areas; (2) the materials, procedures, and strategies for implementation; and (3) extensions to further teaching opportunities

The assessment process provides information on what young children know, but in a context and format that give teachers the ability to adjust their instructional approach to improve children’s learning opportunities.

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The Testing Trap

Hardly a day goes by in America without talk of testing students to higher standards as a means to improve our education system. In The Testing Trap, George Hillocks puts this logic to the test.

Through interviews with over three hundred teachers and administrators, Hillocks examines whether state writing tests in Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, New York, and Texas do what they are supposed to do: Improve education. Ultimately, Hillocks argues that the majority of existing tests actually have a harmful effect on the way students are taught to write.

In The Testing Trap, Hillocks demonstrates how the structure of assessment is actually responsible for the low level of thinking encouraged and reinforced in American classrooms. It is his contention that although politicians call for excellence, the tests that they create, and the formulaic writing they accept as passing, actually point to mediocrity as their true aim. In this way, political objectives are easily achieved but our children suffer the consequences.

In addition to providing analyses of assessments that do not encourage good writing, The Testing Trap contrasts them to those that do. Concluding with practical procedures for examining and evaluating writing assessments, this book is a provocative and essential read for administrators, teachers, policymakers, parents, and all who care about the education of our children.

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Assessment for Learning

Assessment is an important part of effective teaching and learning. It allows achievements to be recognized and helps both teachers and learners to reflect on and review their performance and progress. While assessment has long been an end-of-learning activity to measure what learners can do, the outcome-oriented approach does not always foster learning motivation effectively. A new perspective now encourages ongoing appraisal in the classroom to improve learning. This book reflects current thinking of assessment with a stated focus on assessment for learning (AfL). It informs teachers about the latest developments and provides teachers with important tools for integrating assessment in the classroom. The discussions on assessment theories are in-depth and the examples used for illustrating the concepts are plentiful.

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Grading Teachers, Grading Schools

“A masterful compilation of diverse perspectives.” Daniel L. Stufflebeam, Director, The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University It’s not a question of whether student learning is an important goal of teaching. Everyone agrees it is. The issue explored here is can you (and should you) use student learning as a measurement tool for assessing teacher effectiveness? This book examines four high-profile, high-stakes, contemporary methods for evaluating teaching through learning gains. It offers a rationale and background for each one along with a discussion on supporting evidence and practical implications. The chapter authors provide these criteria for judging a teacher valuation system: * Is this method fair? * Will this method provide comprehensive data? * How does this method compare to other methods? * What are the positive and negative consequences of using this method? You’ll find out how well each method stacks up, how cumbersome or easy it is to use, and what kind of support or heel-dragging to expect from participants. Measuring teacher effectiveness through student learning can also result in: * Higher levels of instruction * Important data for school and program evaluation * A model for continuous school improvement * A more accurate picture of what (and how) students are learning If you’re interested in the future of teacher assessment, or if you’re ready to make changes in the way your school or district assesses its teachers, you need to read this book.

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Assessment Essentials for Standards-Based Education

Written by an expert in the field of classroom assessment, Essential Assessment Concepts for Teachers and Administrators, Second Edition is a user-friendly resource that helps teachers, administrators, and other school personnel understand how to apply essential assessment concepts in their schools. This guide is also an ideal reference for policymakers in making assessment-related decisions. Whether the assessment is focused on what occurs in the classroom or on externally mandated standardized tests, teachers will learn how to effectively integrate the assessment process with teaching and learning to enhance student learning and promote overall educational goals. The author provides guidelines for developing high-quality assessments and for using them appropriately and discusses important principles of standardized testing, including standards-based testing. This second edition features two new chapters. Chapter 5√°provides a succinct overview of different assessment techniques and methods, including both constructed-response and closed-end assessments, while Chapter√°8 discusses grading practices in the context of standards-based education.

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Secondary School Teaching and Educational Psychology

A companion volume to Primary School Teaching and Educational Psychology, this book concerns itself with the day-to-day business of teaching in a secondary school. Throughout the book four themes reoccur: that teachers can best understand the development of children by observing their learning and their relationships within school; that assessment and evaluation are integral to effective teaching; that effective teaching and learning depend on both teacher and child being able to monitor own progress and to find solutions to problems that occur; and finally that there must be explicit recognition of the common-ground between educational psychology and other disciplines such as sociology, philosophy and the history of education.

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Metacognition in Literacy Learning

This volume provides the first comprehensive, research-based examination of metacognition in literacy learning. Bringing together research findings from reading, linguistics, psychology, and education, it is logically organized as follows: Part I provides the theoretical foundation that supports the teaching of metacognition; Parts II and III provide new methods for metacognitive assessment and instruction in literacy contexts at all grade levels; and Part IV provides new information on integrating metacognition into professional development programs.

Key features include:
*Chapter Structure. Teacher reflections at the beginning of each chapter illustrate teacher thinking about the chapter topic and metacognitive connections at the end of each chapter link its content with that of the preceding and following chapters.
*Contributor Expertise. Few volumes can boast of a more luminous cast of contributing authors (see table of contents).
*Comprehensiveness. Twenty chapters organized into four sections plus a summarizing chapter make this the primary reference work in the field of literacy-based metacognition.

This volume is appropriate for reading researchers, professional development audiences, and for upper-level undergraduate and graduate level courses in reading and educational psychology.

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Effective Teaching in Schools

Written by the author of the highly-successful Essential Teaching Skills, Effective Teaching in Schools is the ideal introduction to what defines good teaching. Recognising the shift of teacher training towards more classroom practice, the book combines depth and authoritative coverage in its treatment of the teaching experience.