April 11th, 2013, Common Core Assessments in Catholic School

“Without professional development, we would never be 21st century schools,” commenced Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools at the St. John Neumann Principal Professional Development Day at Our Lady of Trust Catholic Academy on April 11th, 2013.

“The day was very informative and offered principals many suggestions regarding Common Core assessments and the rigor and instructional shifts needed in order to ensure academic achievement for all students,” stated Diane Phelan, Associate Superintendent for Evaluation of Programs and Students.

As the TerraNova standardized test is changing to align with the Common Core Learning Standards, the focus of the Nuemann Day was Common Core Assessment.  Presentations were “Reflecting on the Quality of our Common Core Assessments to Meet the Demands of the Common Core Learning Standards” by Jennifer Borgioli, Consultant at Learning Centered Initiatives and “TerraNova Common Core: How we are proceeding within the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2013-2014” by Shannon Puente, Consultant at CTB/Mc-Graw-Hill.

“My goal for today was to offer you a toolbox full of ways to think about your assessment design to meet the increased demands of the Common Core Learning Standards,” said Borgioli who in addition to presenting,  provided principals with a number of rubrics and packets of resources for assessment design.

“The new TerraNova test has more writing, more synthesis, and more analysis … it has multiple-choice on it, but it doesn’t have just multiple-choice.  What we’re moving to is evidence-based assessment … If the students understand what they’re being asked to do, providing the evidence wouldn’t necessarily make it difficult; it’s just a new way of doing it.  Before, I was just choosing an answer and now I need to support it and provide substantiation…constructed-responses enable us to get to the heart of the standard: what are the students being asked to learn and do?” said Puente.

One tool handed to principals during the day was the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy Educator Wheel which moves through Bloom’s classified levels of cognition: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.  These critical-thinking concepts are essential as schools/academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn continue to implement the New York Common Core State Standards for education.

“The instructional nature of our jobs is the one that is most important.  I know that these changes are not easy, but you have many tools here and so I urge you to focus on one thing at a time,” said Anthony Biscione, Deputy Superintendent of Schools to the principals.

Special thanks to Barbara McArdle, Assistant Superintendent for Principal Professional Development for coordinating the event and to Arlene Barcia, Principal at Our Lady of Trust Catholic Academy for hosting it.

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Left to Right- Shannon Puente, Diane Phelan, Anthony Biscione