My thanks to Sarah Hanawald for the following liveblog transcript of our session Friday at NAIS, where I was joined by CWRA administrator Chris Jackson and Lawrenceville Dean of Faculty (and Klingenstein Curriculum Instructor legend) Kevin Mattingly in presenting on the College Work Readiness Assessment.
At the end of the session, I mentioned my interest in forming a network of folks interested in working to develop a parallel, CWRA-Style assessment for middle school students, (as is being done in an interesting way in the Virginia Beach School District in a program there run by Jared Cotton).    If you are interested in being a part of this network, or being apprised of such activities, please let me know by entering your name and email here.
But first, the session slides:

CWRA Session is packed–folks are standing outside.
Chris Jackson: Opens with a book reference–Academically Adrift
Chris Jackson:

The mission, to help schools know how they are doing with what other tests don’t measure. Metrics for the schools.

Subscores on essential areas: critical thinking,  analytical reasoning, Effective writing, and problem-solving.

Chris Jackson

Key Question–do you align your teaching and your assessment?

They have 2-day workshops on how to teach AND ASSESS with higher order skills.

Too many dynamic classrooms still end a unit with a non-critical thinking test for assessment.

Jonathan Martin–his blog has a tag category for the CWRAKey question–how can you be an instructional leader w/out micromanaging what teachers teach.

What we measure is what we value. Doesn’t matter what we say, if the “lights” are on what is easy to assess–basic skills say via the ERB than that is what we value.

How do we evaluate what we say we value–higher order skills, critical thinking about issues, solving complex problems
Using this assessment signals our population that these are just as important and that we are holding ourselves accountable for teaching these skills.If we only give lower order tests–then that is all we are holding OURSELVES to. We might have some assessments for students–but how are WE accountable for what we do?

NAIS  has a new accreditation standard, requiring Schools “to provide evidence of a thoughtful process respectful of its mission, for the collection and use in school decision-making of data about student learning.”

Outcome based performance measurement tools–official nomenclature of what we must do.We need to look at student outcomes that measure the school’s value-add.

Sarah H:>>>>if we value and preach adaptive expertise but never assess it.

Jonathan Martin can say “our school added twice as much value in critical thinking as the average school in the norms.” He can say this to his board, admissions officer can say it on a tour with a family. Many schools have a statement on the website saying “we teach critical thinking”. The skeptical parent wonders how they’ll really know.When you do CWRA–your students are compared to the norm of college freshmen.
This is a way to influence the classroom w/out micromanaging. Professional development is available–how to embed the assessed skills into the curriculum.
Give the message–I care about this as much as SATs. This goes on the college profile–signifies to colleges that the school is serious about preparing students for what we’re hearing from colleges that they want to see. Moves all of your students “up the food chain” for admissions IF your school’s CWRA scores are high.Sarah H: if they are low, then you have some serious issues to address. Don’t find that out until you’re ready to address them.
Jonathan Martin going to show the videos of the seniors talking about the event. JM says that there was no scripting, and that the proof is the way the students are dressed. If he knew this video would be seen across the country at a national conference, he would have had them dress better! Laughs of appreciation in the room where people are completely engaged in hearing about this.
Sarah H:

Link to the video:

Kids left the video “pumped” and appreciative of their school–the kids said that they liked that they went to a school that asked them to take the CWRA.

Sarah H:

Even if your school doesn’t do well, you are still sending the signal to your parents that you are trying to do something in that area and that you value it.

Now Kevin Mattingly from The Lawrenceville School

“it’s not what you know, it’s what you do with what you know.”

Sarah H:

CWRA assesses teaching and learning through the presentation of realistic problems that require students to analyze complex materials. Students’ written responses to CWRA performance tasks are graded to assess their abilities to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and cogently. The CWRA is designed to measure an institution’s contribution to the development of these competencies, including the effects of changes to curriculum and pedagogy. The signaling quality of the CWRA is important because institutions need to be able to benchmark where they stand and how much progress their students have made relative to the progress of students at other schools. Yet, the CWRA is not about ranking institutions. Rather, it is about highlighting differences between them that can lead to improvements in teaching and learning.

Click here to view a sample of the institutional report that participating schools receive, which not only illustrates how their students perform compared with their peers nationwide, but also how they perform in relation to college freshmen that take the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). To date, over 25 independent schools have used the CWRA, including St. Andrew’s School (Delaware) and St. Gregory’s School (Arizona). In addition to assessment services CWRA staff also provide trainings to educate faculty members on how generate their own CWRA-like performance tasks.

Kevin Mattingly: Lawrenceville was the first non-college to give this assessment.Discussion of Habits of Mind–what is your “knowledge on call” rather than how well you can cram for a content test.
Lawrenceville learned that they had kids who struggled with strategic reading and revised their curriculum to make sure they were addressing that.
Now Kevin Mattingly is discussing how he would like to see subject area tests that mimic the CWRA–what is your value add in terms of critical thinking in the sciences?

He says that “Private-Independent Schools are not known for innovation”

Chris Jackson: Okay–what is the test like?It is online. Fall/Spring windows of 10 weeks. 105 minute test. You don’t have to test all the students at once. $40/student
Now talking about how to develop successful rubrics that assess what you value.
Sarah H:

Question and Answer
Can’t teach critical thinking w/out context. Skills don’t generalize outside of where they are taught very well. How does this work with CWRA?

Sarah H:

Example–you are the advisor to the mayor. There is a crime problem. You get some numerical data, some reading material. You are to advise the mayor on what to do.

Museum curator assignment–you have several pieces of art and they need to be displayed. You get a description of the walls available in certain areas of the museum. You are to assign each piece of art to a location. Assessment not based on right answer, but the logic the student uses in making the assignments.

How do you communicate results to parents?
Response: Some school are sharing results with parents. Most are not.They aren’t giving families individual student scores-

Focus is on a school aggregate. How is the SCHOOL doing? That is what the colleges want to know

Question: Does the CWRA go on the College Profile?

Sarah H:

Kevin: Lawrenceville doesn’t put it on the profile. Sarah: >>I don’t think they need to at the level they are on.

Lawrenceville is a very selective 9-12 school. Use CWRA for internal assessment.

Jonathan: St. Gregory’s is a 6-12 : they are publishing it on their profile and using to get colleges to understand what their school is about.

Others use it differently. Virginia Beach is giving it now.

Sarah H:

This was a hugely informative session. Worth the price of admission alone.

Sarah H:

Thanks to everyone presenting!

Sarah H: