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Assessment and the Learning Brain

Assessment and the Learning Brain | assessment for learning | Scoop.it

 "What if I told you that the lessons from educational neuroscience research could potentially reduce the number of hours your son spends studying?" This question should pique any parent's interest. Research on multitasking challenges the way most students study today — especially the transaction cost of switching between social media and academic responsibilities....

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Using neuroscientific research to improve assessment and teaching practices. The research is telling us: authentic assessment and PBL have got it right!

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Taking “The Long Road” to Grading Reform

Taking “The Long Road” to Grading Reform | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
By Jay C. Percell In his article “The Value of a Pointless Education,” published in the December 2013/January 2014 Educational Leadership, Jay C. Percell describes how he eliminated points from his grading system. Here, he discusses one of the challenges he encountered in making this change. Implementing serious grading reform into one’s classroom practices is never easy. Grading reform is a dark and winding road fraught with uncertainty, obstacles, and challenges such as gaining administrative or departmental approval, appeasing parental concerns, and continually attempting to enlighten students confused by a grading system that is unlike any they have ever encountered. This may be why many teachers opt not to reform their grading practices. Reflecting on this, I am reminded of a scene from the 2003 movie Big Fish in which Edward Bloom (played by Ewan McGregor) mistakenly arrives prematurely at the utopian town of Spectre, a metaphorical representation of the afterlife. Knowing that Bloom is ultimately fated to arrive there anyway, the mayor and townsfolk insist that he remain in Spectre. Bloom instead opts to leave, promising to take “the long road” back and return one day. Clearly, Edward Bloom values the journey and experience of life above merely arriving at a destination. I wonder: Could the same be said of our classroom instruction? Are we assessing and grading our students in ways that value the learning process itself? Or are our grading methods only concerned with the end result, a right answer? As one who has traveled the thorny path of grade reform, let me offer some advice to those considering doing the same. The challenges from administrators, parents, and students are real. But one of the recurring difficulties I have faced implementing the grading reform I described in my article, “The Value of a Pointless Education,” is the concept that completing all requirements does not correlate with the top possible grade. In my No Points Grading System, students who complete all minimum requirements of a performance objective receive a Meets (M), the minimum passing score. To achieve the top score, an Exceeds (E), they must be able to demonstrate something more, make an outside connection, or apply a learning extension. Although many students have heard terminology like “go above and beyond” or “exceed the standard,” they have rarely been required to actually do so. To achieve top scores in my system, students are actually required to go above and beyond. As you can imagine, this produces a certain amount of consternation within students as they are forced to think creatively, and they grapple with why completing all requirements on an assignment only yields the minimum passing grade. It is a different way of thinking, and although it is difficult to usher in a new paradigm, we need to try to change our students’ thinking about what we are ultimately attempting to achieve. In my classroom, the work was less about the answer they arrived at, and more about how they got there, how they chose to demonstrate their understanding, or how they were able to connect to outside information and incorporate it with their new knowledge and skills. This is not an easy process. In fact, it is very difficult. But somewhere, I remember hearing that anything worth doing typically is. As Edward Bloom from Big Fish begins to leave Spectre—the town he has stumbled upon (losing his shoes in the process)—a young girl makes one last-ditch effort to get him to stay, asking, “How will you leave without your shoes?” He tells her plainly, “I expect that it will hurt. A lot.” Then he sets off, undaunted. Will we, as teachers, be willing to take the more beneficial path, even if it is more difficult? Or will we choose the quick and easy way? In an education climate where others are attempting to define what should be valued in our classrooms, can teachers use their grading practices to shift the focus from a mythical destination students are supposed to reach to the journey and learning experience itself?
Christopher Bezsylko's insight:

Effective change takes time, we need to be prepared for that. 

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More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Levels of Learning

More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Levels of Learning | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
How do we measure learning beyond knowledge of content? Finding that winning combination of criteria can prove to be a complicated and sometimes difficult process. Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.
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Those familiar with Kolb's experiential learning cycle will recognize these approaches to creating enduring, meaningful learning experiences. 

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Standards? Yes! Current Implementation? No!: How we have re-invented Soviet-era wheat quotas

Standards? Yes! Current Implementation? No!: How we have re-invented Soviet-era wheat quotas | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
Readers know that I am a strong supporter of Standards generally and the Common Core specifically. To me it is simply a no-brainer: there is no such thing as Georgia Algebra or Montana Writing. In ...
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Food for thought for the private sector...

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27 Characteristics Of Authentic Assessment

27 Characteristics Of Authentic Assessment | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
27 Characteristics Of Authentic Assessment
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Grant on authentic assessment

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The Most Important Question Every Assessment Should Answer

The Most Important Question Every Assessment Should Answer | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
The Most Important Question Every Assessment Should Answer
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Why 21st Century Learning Should Be More Like the 19th Century | Inside Higher Ed

Why 21st Century Learning Should Be More Like the 19th Century | Inside Higher Ed | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
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"we are in the midst of a data-driven educational transformation"

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The Trouble With Measuring Understanding

The Trouble With Measuring Understanding | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
The Trouble With Measuring Understanding
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nice brief overview of Wiggins, McTighe, and Marzano

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What's the job of teacher? The crying need for a genuine job description.

What's the job of teacher? The crying need for a genuine job description. | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
A rarely discussed weakness in education is the lack of a true job description for teachers in hiring. Being told that “you will teach US History” or “we are hiring you to be a 4th grade teacher” i...
Christopher Bezsylko's insight:

Grant's call to create deliberate job descriptions, then hire and evaluate against them is the focus of this piece, but my favorite quote is "marching page by page through a textbook (or the written curriculum) can never be your job as a teacher - ever. The textbook or curriculum is written completely independently of your goals and your students..."

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Awesome Chart for Teachers- Alternatives to Traditional Homework ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Awesome Chart for Teachers- Alternatives to Traditional Homework ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
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Moving beyond the culture of drill & kill and single-platform homework...

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Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools

Performance Assessment Re-Emerging in Schools | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
Looking for better ways to measure the "deeper learning" goals of the common standards, schools are increasingly turning to formalized performance tasks.
Christopher Bezsylko's insight:

Performance assessment as a feedback tool for student learning and a reflective tool for teaching. 

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Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Realizing the Promise of Standards-Based Education

Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Realizing the Promise of Standards-Based Education | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
Christopher Bezsylko's insight:

the promise and perils of standards-based education and assessment

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How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding

How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
How They Get It: A New, Simple Taxonomy For Understanding: Bloom's Taxonomy, Understanding by Design, Facets of Understanding, Marzano's New Taxonomy
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getting to the heart of what understanding looks like and feels like

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Grant Wiggins: Defining Assessment

Grant Wiggins: Defining Assessment | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
Grant Wiggins is a nationally recognized assessment expert who has been working in assessment reform for more than twenty-five years. He is president of the educational consulting firm Authentic E
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A conversation with Grant...

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MaryAnne J Choma's curator insight, December 6, 2015 2:10 PM

Wiggins clarifies the value of a variety of valid assessment types to "triangulate the data" for a whole picture.

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6 Common Misunderstandings About Assessment Of Learning

6 Common Misunderstandings About Assessment Of Learning | assessment for learning | Scoop.it
6 Common Misunderstandings About Assessment Of Learning
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We are always assessing... here are a few examples of traditional assessments that can impede the learning process

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