Willis Examines Testing: An Update on Ms. Willis’ Multiple Assessment Survey

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“I teach 2 classes of chemistry and the science of diseases elective and I will be teaching anatomy in the spring. I am a 9th grade advisor, and I also coach middle school basketball and high school softball,” says Jennifer Willis from behind her desk in the academic office.

Earlier this school year, Ms. Willis added to her already impressive list of responsibilities, and announced that she would be conducting a survey to gauge the number of assessments students were having in a day. As a member of the leadership development program, a professional development program for Bolles faculty, Ms. Willis works with the administration to solve problems that affect our community.

Many students, from freshman to seniors, report having due dates for their tests, quizzes, and projects, fall on the same day of the week. When asked how well the survey conveyed the number of students affected by the problem, Ms. Willis responded, “we didn’t necessarily reach the entire student body. So, at this point just under 40% of the students have responded. That’s not terrible but we left out the other 60%.” After analyzing the responses to her survey, Ms. Willis plans to move into another, more targeted phase of data collection.

“The survey was kind of that first round of data collection,” she said. “I have the preliminary results from what we’ve looked at, but the second step we’re going to be doing is randomly selecting a number of students in each grade level to have them give me their school calendars. I can go through and look and get more objective data as far as how often this (Multiple assessments a day) is happening. We need to get the faculty involved and start having those discussions about the best way to implement change.” By looking at examples of student’s schedules, Ms. Willis will be able to see which days assessment loading happens for each grade, and at what points in the quarter it occurs most frequently.

Later in the school year, Ms. Willis plans to present her findings to the administration, where they will decide what kind of changes, if any, need to be made in order to reduce the frequency with which multiple assessments fall on the same day.