September 14, 2009
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
Books by SRU professors help schoolteachers make the grade
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Veteran school teachers, as well as those entering the classroom for the first time, now have a wealth of help awaiting them as the learn to deal with the problems of assessing student learning. The help comes in the form of books written by Slippery Rock University's John L. Badgett and Edwin P. Christmann.
Badgett, and Christmann, both SRU professors of secondary education/foundations of education, have co-authored three books on the subject, all meant to help classroom teachers develop accurate testing and student assessment standards.
Their first work, "Interpreting Assessment Data; Statistical Techniques You Can Use," published by the National Science Teachers Association, blended the increasingly important need for accountability with the need for using testing as a means to learning - both for the student and the teacher. Reviewers described the work as a near-perfect book for those trying to create near-perfect exams.
Their latest works now in bookstores are "Designing Elementary Instruction and Assessment" and "Designing Middle and High School Instruction and Assessment." Both focus on "using the cognitive domain" as their foundation.
"We understand the books are already being used in college education classrooms," Badgett said. He expected they would become college texts and resource works for those already working in the field.
""This is the only book that takes a step-by-step approach to student assessment at the middle and secondary school levels. This book is a unique contribution to the field of evaluation and assessment," said John Hoyle, a professor of educational administration at Texas A&M University, in reviewing the middle/high school book. Similar praise was given the elementary version by Cindy Pulkowski, program manger at Science: It's Elementary, who said, "This book is a wonderful tool and reference for any teacher. In my work of providing professional development to teachers of elementary science, one of the hardest areas for teachers to grasp is assessment. Especially helpful for these teachers are the chapters on writing short-answer and essay items, performance-based assessment and portfolios."
In the works for more than five years, Badgett said the trio of books was designed to be "user-friendly resources that provide clear, step-by-step guidelines for writing measurable objectives and developing appropriate formative and summative assessments to guide instruction in the elementary, middle and high school classrooms."
The books follow the long-standing "Bloom Taxonomy's," a highly touted learning theory in education curriculums that takes into account such learning building blocks as knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation as the model for teaching simple-to-complex thought processes as part of the school classroom. The taxonomy is used in higher education classrooms across the nation as a way of teaching future teachers how understanding and thinking develop in their students. It was developed by Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist.
"Our latest books help both elementary and middle school/high school teachers develop unit and daily instructional objectives based on state and national content standards for each level of Bloom's Taxonomy," Badgett said.
The works also help teachers through the process of designing specific objectives to reach the right assessments to measure in their students' development, he said.
"I saw there was a need for the statistical component of assessment. I started working on the project for my class, and it then expanded," Christmann said in discussion the first book. "Our books show how assessment and validity can be used to aid assessment of learning." He said the first book was "primarily designed to provide teachers with a resource for practical information on how to apply statistics to classroom data and assessment and thus improve learning. The book also covers the history of the development of assessment and testing.
At SRU, Christmann primarily teaches the statistics side of assessment to future classroom teachers, and Badgett teaches the quantitative research side, allowing their courses to work hand-in-glove in providing SRU students with the skills they will need in today's school classrooms.
The instruction and assessment books are available from Corwin, a SAGE company, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the "Interpreting Assessment Data: Statistical Techniques You Can Use" is available from NSTA Press in Arlington, Va. All three books are also available from Amazon.com and the SGA Bookstore in the University Union at SRU.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.