EDUC 333: Curriculum-Based Assessment (McNeese, Fall 2015)

last modified 2018-01-30T17:57:31-04:00

Note, this guide emphasizes resources available at the Tarver Library on Mercer's Macon campus to assist you with assignments, focusing on the purposes and types of assessments of student learning used in early childhood and special education classrooms.  If you need more in-depth help, check out the additional resources available on the Education page that provides information for the Swilley (Atlanta) and Tarver (Macon) staff and resources.  Disclaimer:  the screen shots in this guide are for illustrative purposes only, you cannot click on images or links.

Getting started

Before you start searching, you need to prepare a list of the words or phrases that describe your subject.  Taking the time to do this before you start can save you considerable time, especially since you can use the same list whether you are searching for articles, chapters in a book, books, or curriculum materials.  For this assignment, here is a beginning list of words.  You will want to add some, but these should get you started:

  • assessment
  • evaluation
  • measurement
  • diagnosis
  • math/mathematics
  • re-engagement
  • re-teaching
  • early childhood
  • special education
  • elementary education

Keep this list handy as you begin searching, so that you can add new words and even remove words that do not lead you in the right direction.  Remember, that sometimes you may need to use alternative forms of the word.  For example, assess, assessing, assessment as well as evaluate, evaluating, and evaluation.  You will refine your topic by selecting the context of special education or early childhood education.  This is not an exact science; you will have to try different words in different combinations.

Important note:  It takes time for new words/phrases to appear in journal articles, and even longer for new vocabulary to appear in books--more on that in the next tab.

Finding resources

Mercer University Libraries and GALILEO have licensed a discovery service that allows you to search many of our databases simultaneously.  You are now able to search the library's physical holdings (books, DVDs, etc.) and our licensed content (journal articles, indexes, etc.) at the same time!  We have been able to include the vast majority of our databases and full text resources in this tool, but unfortunately, we cannot include some resources.  For that reason, you would need to keep in mind that you are not searching everything when you use Discovery.  For example, ProQuest's Education Journals resource is not included, and you will see later what an important resource this can be for some assignments.  Another important reminder is that when you search these resources simultaneously, your results may be overwhelming.  This is a great tool, but this is not always the best starting point.

To search Discovery, select the first tab in the box and enter your text:

This basic search in Discovery for math re-teaching returns almost 1,000 results!

While you can, and should, refine the results using the options down the left side of the page, I recommend that you save the Discovery search option for later and take a more targeted approach for the math re-engagement lesson/assessment individual assignment.  Disclaimer:  this search tool launched in early August, so I am still learning; page may be adjusted, as I become a better searcher!

Go to and log in as your first step.  Why?  Logging in authenticates you against the library's proxy server.  Why do you care?  If you take the time to login before you search, you should not have to stop again to enter a password or your Mercer University ID (MUID).  You will use the same login and password to access MyMercer.  A separate log in is required later only 1) if you want to look at your library account, or 2) if you want to see any items stored in a personal account (for example, articles in an EBSCO folder).

Once you have logged in to the website, click on the Research Tools & Help link.  Links are available at the top and bottom of the libraries website.

 Select Education from the list of options under the Resources by Subject table:

Starting with the first tab for databases, I tried Education Full-Text for a more refined search than our 1,000 results using Discovery.

Drawing from our list of terms created earlier, I tried searching for articles on re-engagement in math with special education.  One handy feature of this database is a "search assistant" that suggests several words when you type.  For example, typing in math provided these suggestions:

Despite trying (almost) all of those words with re-engagement (including taking out the context of special education and trying elementary education), I kept getting red words:

As I mentioned in the first tab when we created our list of words, it can take time for the "buzz words" in Education to reach the journal literature.  In this case, re-engagement is not appearing as a term in this database.  However, the use of reteaching was a bit more successful.

This search did produce 8 results that may be on target.  Take a close look at the terms listed under Subjects for each of your results.  This is a good opportunity to add new words to your previously created list.  For example, this database uses the subject of remedial teaching and concept learning along with mathematics. 

Next is to determine whether we have access to the articles.  First, you want to look for are icons that full text is available.  Many articles will include icons for either HTML or PDF. 

PDF is often a better choice when available, since charts and drawings transfer better in this format.  Clicking on either of these formats provides access to the article.

The far side of the screen includes an option to add items to a folder.  Adding item(s) to a folder allows you to print or e-mail them.

You can also use the "cite" button on the right-hand side of the screen to see how the article appears in APA format:

You can select APA as the citation format when you e-mail the item.  Note: you will want to pay special attention to personal names, capitalization, and dates for each citation.  It is a good idea to review each citation to make sure that it confirms to the exact formatting and punctuation guidelines that your professor requires.

Not all articles have HTML, PDF, or linked text options.  You may see a link to "Find Full Text."  Clicking on the Mercer logo takes you out of the database and into the ejournal (LinkSource results) locator to identify possible locations.

You will need to refer back to your citation to know the volume number and/or year.  Clicking on the selected volume number eventually takes you to the article.  Why does this happen?  Competition exists even in the library world.  EBSCO is the content provider for Education Full Text.  ProQuest is a competitor.  The library purchased the link resolver that cuts through the database vendors to provide you what you want--access to the article.

Sometimes you have to click several links to get to the article.  Be patient, and ask for help if you get stuck.

There are times when the full-text is not available, even by using the Mercer logo link.  The article may not be available in a resource purchased by the library or the publisher may have imposed an embargo limiting access to the most current articles.  Do not despair!  You have the option of ordering a copy of these articles (or the actual book) through a service called Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Accidentally being directed to this Proquest resource (remember, the Proquest databases are not included in Discovery results reminded me to also search this source.  Trying our reteaching in mathematics search here was more successful
Pay close attention here to the Cited by and References tabs.  These can help you from "re-inventing the wheel" by determining additional sources and discovering what sources other authors are citing.
Articles from this database can also be e-mailed and APA citation style can be selected:
Tip:  Sometimes you can find a dissertation that includes a literature review.  This would provide a wealth of additional resources for you to review.  In order to retrieve a dissertation, do not limit your search to "Peer Reviewed."

Finding other resources

You may want to use resources other than journal articles.  A search of the library catalog will lead you to books, e-books, government documents, reference materials, curriculum materials, websites, juvenile literature, and even media! 

Returning to our list of words, we can search using the Discovery search box in the upper left-hand of the libraries website and click the catalog only search to look for reading assessment special education:


The results page allows you to refine your results using the options on the left-hand side of the screen.  


You can click the show more link under Limit to and select specific Mercer University locations.

Additional features (enhanced records, ability to request an item from another location, and maps just to name a few) are only available by clicking on the link to view the library catalog record.

The search returns results from all the Mercer University Libraries, so pay close attention to the location.  Use the blue Request button to request that an item not available in Macon be sent to you.

Citing resources

There are hundreds of different style manuals, and this guide begins to explain why there are so many different types.  Created and maintained by the American Psychological Association, the APA style manual is used by many social sciences because it is well suited to quantitative studies and analysis.  Learning this standardized format of citations used by fellow researchers is another benefit of membership within the academic community.

If you have not used this citation manual before, it can be confusing.  The following guides and tutorials are a sample of the resources available to help you learn your style manual.  The more you use the style, the more comfortable you will become, but it will take time!  Tarver Library has two copies of the printed APA style manual available for a three-hour library use checkout from the Circulation Desk.

  • Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide
    The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University is one of the most used resources on using the APA citation style.  Links on the left margin lead you to specific information on Reference lists, in-text citations, and formatting.  You may find it helpful to look at their sample paper as you work on your own.  This paper may also be downloaded as a PDF document.
  • The Writer's Handbook: APA Documentation Guide
    The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison created this guide.  Links on the right margin lead to specific information parenthetical citations, Reference lists, format and heading, and usage and style.  The Writing Center also provides this PDF handout on common APA guidelines.
  • The Basics of APA Style
    The American Psychological Association created this tutorial for those with no previous knowledge in using the style manual.  You will need to click on a link within this URL to start the tutorial.  This page also provides links to quick answers on References and formatting.
Tips, Tricks, Reminders

You are not in this alone!  This can be frustrating, especially when your carefully selected list of words keeps returning searches with red words (no results).  Try different words, look at help screens, and ask for help.  The important thing is not to spin your wheels!

Tips on using the catalog to search the Tarver Juvenile Literature collection and Curriculum Materials Collection (CMC) are available.  

Remember to login to the website, especially if you are using the resources outside the library.  Why?  Logging in authenticates you against the library's proxy server and authorizes you as a user.  Why do you care?  If you take the time to login before you search, you should not have to stop again to enter a password or your Mercer University ID (MUID).  You will use the same login and password to access MyMercer.

Additional assistance is provided through the Academic Resource Center, especially these services targeted at traditional Macon undergraduate students.

Your professor is an expert on the subject matter.  Tarver Librarians are available to help you locate and interpret sources needed to complete your assignments, including: