The Learning Record

Principles of the Learning Record Model

Informal White Papers

From the Web to Walden

Joy to the World

Roses, grasses, chicks, and children

An Open Assessment Manifesto

Other Links

Frequently-asked questions


Minimal Marking

Small multiples for tracking work

Sample grading criteria


Sources of Support


Contact Information

Fair Test: The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

Two Sets of Principles that Ground the Primary Language Record/Learning Record

Principles Behind Good Practice in Assessment

Myra Barrs, Ph.D.
  1. Records that include evidence from homes
    The 'parent conferences'--Section A1 from the PLR/LR/LRO
  2. Records that include evidence from children
    The language and literacy conferences with children--A2 and C2 from the main Record
  3. Recording normal behaviour in favourable contexts
    The Observations and Samples--diaries of observations
  4. Helpful structures for recording
    The Observations and Samples--writing samples
  5. Records which view errors as information
    The Observations and Samplesˇreading samples
  6. Regular, frequent, and systematic recording
    the Observations and Samples--the Talking and Listening matrix
  7. Recording in different formats and in different contexts, drawing on different points of view
    The Observations and Samples and the main Record
  8. Records that help to make links between different aspects of development
    Section B of the main Record
  9. An emphasis on positive recording
    The main Record, and the Observations and Samples
  10. Records that help planning and inform teaching
    The main Record, and the Observations and Samples

Five Principles of CLR Assessment

From: Who's Going to Interpret Performance Standards? A Case for Teacher Judgment

Dr. Mary A. Barr
Center for Language in Learning El Cajon, CA

Claremont Reading Conference 59th Yearbook, 1995

The LR system of assessment presumes that the goal of schooling is to guide and support the development of independent learners who are confident, strategically skillful, thoughtful, and habitually reflective about themselves as learners.

The five principles discussed below underpin the LR system of assessment. These principles permit the development of a student assessment which is not only congruent with current views on learning but which also can link classroom assessment to demands for public accountability.

1. Students must be assessed in favorable contexts
The set of principles which guides the LR system of assessment begins with the notion thatstudents must be assessed in favorable contexts, that is, in situations in which they can demonstrate their capabilities. The rationale for this principle has to do with fairness and the validity of the assessment. Students have a right to be able to show what they know and can do on tasks which reflect not only school and community priorities but also their own strengths and interests.
2. Students must be assessed across a range of social and learning situations
A second LR principle is that students be assessed across a range of social and learning situations in order that (1) teachers can support emerging skills and subject matter knowledge and (2) they can ensure that students gain experience with the demands placed on literacy, both in form and substance, in different settings. For example, the kinds of language needed in a peer group discussion about the impact of an historical event on modern culture contrasts with the language required to use the same event as evidence for an opinion in a persuasive essay for adult readers. To note student capabilities in different social/learning contexts, LR teacher obsevations and student reflections document language and literacy learning in individual, paired, and group settings; with adults and peers; live or recorded; formal, informal; in subject areas across the curriculum.
3. Assessment must attend to both process and product
A third principle, that assessment must attend to both process and product, complements large-scale, externally designed assessment which relies on post hoc examination of student work without first-hand knowledge of the conditions under which it was done.
4. Assessment must acknowledge the integral role of language in learning
Fourth in the list of LR system principles is that assessment must acknowledge the integral role of language in learning. The processes of speaking and listening, reading and writing both demonstrate and promote learning. . . .That language use both fosters and reveals learning is an intuitively congruent notion buttressed in the seminal works of such thinkers as Vygotsky (1978), Britton (1992), and Bruner (1990). The idea flies in the face of much current pedagogical practice, however. Darling-Hammond (1985), for instance, reports that instruction is increasingly strait-jacketed by tests and packaged instructional programs which standardize teaching practice and, I must add, prevent students from using their language to make sense of new knowledge.
5. Performance criteria must be shared among stake-holders
The fifth and final LR principle is that performance criteria must be shared among stake-holders if assessment is to truly improve teaching and learning for all students. Secrecy surrounding test making and test taking, however, has always been the norm. Only recently, with the advent of performance assessment, have questions about test content surfaced in public debate. The LR, like all performance-based asseessments, uses narrative descriptors of levels of achievement at different grade levels. It is, however, a completely open record in which student performance is documented throughout the year by all who have a stake in the success or failure of the student. Parents contribute what they know about student learning and literacy at home as well as what they would like to see the student be able to do; students describe themselves as learners and provide evidence in their portfolios and journals about current demonstrations of what is being learned; teachers collect these data and add their own observations and analyses of student work compiled in the student record.

It should be pointed out here that the LR collects evidence only of what students have demonstrated they know and can do. Since judgments of performance are based on what has actually been demonstrated and recorded in the record, there are no speculations about any deficits the student may have.

The Learning Record | © 1995-2014 M. A. Syverson

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