early childhood e...
Follow
Find
3.0K views | +0 today
 
Rescooped by mariarobets from Personalize Learning (#plearnchat)
onto early childhood education and more
Scoop.it!

A Weekly Reflection Tool for Student-led Learning

A Weekly Reflection Tool for Student-led Learning | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

"This term, I have been trying to give my students more voice in our classroom learning environment with regards to the way we go about things and the tools we use to demonstrate our learning. I think this has stemmed from the Personalised Learning approach we have taken as a whole school this year, and my efforts to embed the purposeful engagement of the approach in every facet of my practice.

 

In this post I'd like to share a ten-minute, Friday afternoon tool that is promoting reflective thinking, goal setting and student voice with positive results in our classroom.

 

A Reflection, a Goal and a Wish

 

During the last hour on a Friday, students relax and choose their working space in the classroom. They then discuss and choose two relevant sentence starters that they finish in their learning diaries. Their learning diaries are accessible in the classroom whenever they need them to set goals or reflect."

 

Thank you Teddy in sharing your journey to personalise learning!


Via Kathleen McClaskey
more...
No comment yet.

From around the web

early childhood education and more
learning, growing, developing
Curated by mariarobets
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Rescooped by mariarobets from 21st Century Information Fluency
Scoop.it!

Kathy Schrock: 6 Apps That Target Higher-Order Thinking Skills -- THE Journal

Kathy Schrock: 6 Apps That Target Higher-Order Thinking Skills -- THE Journal | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
A higher-order thinker is a critical thinker. What are the attributes of a critical thinker? In The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Richard Paul and Linda Elder describe a well-cultivated critical thinker as someone who:
raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively; comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing their assumptions, implications and practical consequences as need be; andcommunicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Via Dennis T OConnor, John Shank
more...
Nancy Jones's curator insight, May 25, 11:06 AM

I like the breakdown presented in this article as well as the emphasis on using apps as critical thinking tools, not just creation tools.

Lauren Nazzaro's curator insight, May 29, 9:15 AM

Great, specific, assessment driven examples.

cherimacleod's curator insight, May 31, 1:05 AM

Kathy Schrock knows thinking and technology ....right on, as always!

Rescooped by mariarobets from Early Childhood Learning
Scoop.it!

Messing About with Loose Parts

Messing About with Loose Parts | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Diane created a poster on checkthis, the most beautiful way to create and share stunning posters with friends and family.

Via Diane Kashin, Von Sawers
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from college and career ready
Scoop.it!

Educational Leadership:Getting Students to Mastery:A Day in a Mastery-Centered Classroom

December 2013/January 2014 | Volume 71 | Number 4
Getting Students to Mastery

A Day in a Mastery-Centered Classroom

Kelly Morgan Dempewolf

What learning might we unleash if classrooms were more like tutoring programs?

After eight years of teaching high school science, I turned my classroom upside down. Over the years, I'd put together a real-world applied curriculum and made progress toward inquiry-based teaching, but I felt like my classroom was still far short of what it could be.

I realized that a student could essentially copy all the homework, ride on the coattails of lab partners, and flunk every test, yet walk out of my course with a D. That student would have an endorsement that they passed my chemistry course while learning essentially nothing. I was giving these high school juniors and seniors zero responsibility for assessing their own knowledge and determining next learning steps. I wasn't doing my part in preparing these students for learning in the real world, where they would have no teacher to assign appropriate work, assess progress, and let them know when they do and don't understand something.

These realizations meshed with my study of Bloom's "2-Sigma Problem."1  Bloom compared the effects of tutoring to those of traditional classroom instruction and found that 98 percent of students in a tutoring situation scored better than average students in a traditional classroom setting. The thought of essentially all my students performing above average was too enticing to ignore.

But I was one teacher in a classroom full of students—far from a tutoring environment. How could I change my classroom to come as close to tutoring as possible? What aspects of tutoring could I incorporate into my teaching?

To show how I answered that question, I'll describe a typical day in a 10th–12th grade chemistry course I taught several years ago. The active class period I'll depict reflects a lot of time spent at the beginning of the school year helping students learn classroom routines—where things are located, what they need to do each day when they enter the room, and so on. When I taught these classes, I'd at first have to remind students of these things (they're teenagers after all), but after a few weeks, they'd function quite independently and take responsibility for their learning time.

Beyond "It's Not Fair"

When I first began teaching for self-paced mastery, I needed to overcome the idea that being fair means keeping everything the same for everyone. Although "fair doesn't mean equal" may sound obvious, believing it was hard for me. How could I incorporate aspects of tutoring-based education—like asking some students to repeat a learning task or having a struggling student do one activity while a different student tackles another—without students and parents complaining that conditions weren't fair? Or even believing it myself?

I finally changed my conception of "fair" to this: Fair is making sure that every student has what he or she needs to learn and understand the content. After all, is it fair to ask a student who understands a concept to keep working on it because others in the class haven't reached that point yet? Or to move on from a chapter when several kids haven't mastered its lessons yet, simply because the majority of the class—or the schedule—is ready? Once I made this shift, I shared my thinking with students and parents. I've never had a complaint about fairness. Now let's view a typical day in the chemistry class.

All In a Day's LearningThe Class Grid

Before the class period begins, I glance at the class grid. This lists students' names in the left-hand column and all the required activities for this class—section quizzes, labs, chapter tests, and chapter performance assessments—along the top. As soon as a student successfully passes a quiz or completes a lab, test, or performance assessment, I enter the grade into this grid. This gives me a quick visual assessment of where students are in the course. I can see which students are several sections behind—and consider what those learners and I can do to address this lag—or see who's moving ahead—and start preparing labs or copying materials those kids will need.

As students enter the classroom each day, they get out their unit organizers and choose seats at one of several clusters of desks scattered around the room; there's no assigned seating because students may collaborate with different peers each day, depending on what they're working on.

For example, Carla successfully passed a section quiz on naming chemicals during the previous period. She's now ready to start a section on writing formulas—but the classmates she's been working with for a while aren't ready yet. So Carla finds a new group that's currently studying that topic. With this system, a student who's been absent can pick up right where he or she left off just by asking which group of students are working on the content that learner was immersed in.

As they settle in, students write in their organizers the date, what they accomplished during the last class, and what goals they have for this period. This chance to refresh themselves on what they did the previous class is especially important because this class uses block periods; it's been two days since these kids have been in my classroom. The organizer contains a grid for each of the different sections of the textbook that students are working on. This grid lists each of that chapter's sections in the first column; the other columns contain the learning objectives each section addresses, a list of learning opportunities available to fulfill those goals (with required activities for that section, like labs, marked in bold), and suggested completion dates for each item, as shown in Figure 1.

The Unit Organizer

 

FIGURE 1. Student Grid for Section on Antacids

Chapter 2: Antacids

 

Essential questions:

How is science a human endeavor?How do scientists work to gather, analyze, communicate and validate data to form and change models?How does the structure of a compound determine its properties?How does matter undergo changes and how do we use chemical equations?How are mixtures different from pure substances?What are the characteristics of acids and bases?

 

Section

Objectives

Learning Resources (Check those that you complete)

Suggested completion date

Date completed

2-1

 

Define and distinguish between pure substance (elements and compounds) and mixtures (homogeneous and heterogeneous)

 

 

 

Reading guidePowerPointPractice 1–1Discuss with peersDiscuss with teacher

 

 

 

2–2

 

Explain and practice nomenclature rules in naming chemicals: binary ionic, multivalent ionic, polyatomic ionic, and covalent

 

 

Reading GuidePowerPointWorksheet 2–2Practice 2–2Discuss with peersDiscuss with teacher

 

 

 

2–3

 

Explain and practice nomenclature rules for writing chemical formulas: binary ionic, multivalent ionic, polyatomic ionic, and covalent

 

 

Reading GuidePowerPointWorksheet 2–3Practice 2–3Discuss with peersDiscuss with teacher

 

 

 

2–4

 

Define and distinguish between acids and basesExplain and practice nomenclature rules for naming and writing acids and bases

 

 

Reading GuidePowerPointWorksheet 2–4Practice 2–4Discuss with peers

 

 

 

 

 

As students plan for the day's class, many glance at the whiteboard, where I've written a "suggested" set of goals for this week. This suggested schedule may not match theirs, and I often need to remind them that it's fine to be ahead of or behind it. When I first implemented student-paced learning, I didn't give students any suggestions, fearing that doing so would reflect the teacher-paced approach I was moving away from. Yet students seemed to need some measure of whether they were on track, so I began posting this guideline.

Choosing Opportunities

After setting goals for the period, students select learning opportunities to meet those goals and set off to accomplish them. Jane chooses to read a section in the chapter on antacids and answer end-of-section questions. Frank and Adam use a printed reading guide (available in a self-serve file drawer and on the class website) to work through the textbook for the section they are studying. Xavier and Rick move together to a classroom computer with headphones to watch a PowerPoint presentation I created about balancing chemical reactions.

Five students who failed their last section quiz come to their folders, which are hanging in a milk crate, to review their unsuccessful attempts (all graded quizzes are kept there—unsuccessful ones so kids can study for their next attempt and successful ones to review for chapter tests). One of these individuals, Marly, feels ready for another attempt. She hands me her unsuccessful quiz, I hand her a new one, and she sits at the front worktable to complete it.

Meanwhile, a group of students working together on a practice worksheet sends a representative up to the front desk, where the answer key notebook is located. Students aren't given credit for worksheets and reading guides; these are considered "learning opportunities." Thus, learners are encouraged to check often with the answer key. Practice doesn't make perfect, I believe; practice makes permanent—and I don't want students practicing incorrect algorithms because that could turn into a habit that is extremely difficult to correct!

The representative, Sara, reports to the group that they still aren't getting it right and turns to me for help. "Wait for me at the front board," I reply. "I'll be back after I get this group started on their lab."

I head back to the lab area (the back half of my classroom), grabbing a tub that has the materials for the lab Chris and Stephanie are ready for and meet these two at a lab table. We go through a pre-lab, discussing techniques and equipment that are new to them, making sure they're ready for the lab, and reviewing safety information. When they complete the lab, the girls will come find me. I'll ask them a few questions to ensure they got what I wanted them to get out of the experience. Later, I'll grade the lab worksheet they've completed.

Meanwhile, I hurry back to the front of the room where Sara and her group wait for a minilecture and discussion. We spend five minutes discussing the type of problem they're struggling to understand, working through some examples. When I think they're getting it, I send them back to try more problems on the practice worksheet. They only need to do as many as they feel are necessary to ensure they've mastered writing chemical formulas.

I notice Marly has finished her quiz. I sit down with her and we grade it together, talking over the one problem she got wrong. Marly takes her successfully passed quiz to her folder while I record her grade, then peruses her unit organizer for possible learning opportunities within the next section.

Students continue to move through activities, working in flexible groups, seeking me out when they have a question or need help, making decisions about when they are ready to be assessed with a quiz. They take responsibility for their own learning until the bell rings.

Filling in Gaps

A common concern about student-paced courses is that some students will fall behind—and continue to fall. However, the readings I've done about tutoring and mastery learning described exactly what I saw in my classrooms: Some students struggled in the beginning of the course because they didn't have the same prior knowledge as others, but as they learned at their own pace and with individualized feedback, the holes in their knowledge closed up. Once the gaps were addressed, students often caught up with the "suggested" schedule.

In a teacher-paced classroom, gaps in prior knowledge are often not addressed by teacher or textbook. It's assumed that all students have the knowledge. Also, gaps may be different for each individual. The class moves on before those struggling students can catch up. In a course that continually builds on prior knowledge (such as in math courses or many science courses), lagging learners might never catch up, as their foundation is never fortified.

Occasionally, I discussed this idea of filling in knowledge gaps with students who were trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the suggested schedule so they wouldn't feel frustrated and give up. It's key that students understand the importance of background knowledge. Later in their lives when there's no teacher guiding their learning, they'll need to be able to assess their knowledge gaps and find ways to close them.

"Yes, But"—Why It's Worth the Work

As you can see, this course wasn't self-taught; it was self-paced. Flexible communities of students worked together to understand and then to individually demonstrate their understandings.

Teaching a student-paced mastery learning course was the hardest work I've ever done. I had to juggle the work of several small groups, monitor students' use of time, make sure I had materials prepared in advance for the fastest moving students, and in general be on my toes. However, the results were more than worth it.

I saw students begin to self-regulate their learning. Yes, in the beginning they asked for quizzes immediately after an unsuccessful attempt and just tried to "get through" the sections. But within several weeks, they realized that approach wouldn't get them anywhere, and they began to take time to learn the content before retaking a quiz. They learned to judge when they were ready and when they needed more time or practice. By choosing their own path through the material, they saw that some learning opportunities work better for some types of content or some people.

I required students to show mastery (at least four out of five correct) on section quizzes but placed no such requirement on chapter tests. Because students had mastered each section before the test, however, no student got lower than a C on any chapter test (tests that were identical to those I gave before I taught this way).

Yes, I had to repeat a minilecture several times to different students, because I delivered content when students were ready for it. But I'd much rather repeat a discussion when I know all students are prepared for the material and are engaged than lead a discussion once with a whole class—some of whom aren't ready, aren't listening, or aren't getting it.

I was able to quickly deliver individualized feedback. Yes, at times students had to wait a few minutes for me if I was, say, discussing a quiz with someone. But the benefit of individualized feedback is immense in terms of understanding and progress. And often students solved their own problem or figured things out for themselves while waiting!

My self-paced classrooms weren't quiet, but I was OK with that. Classes more closely resembled a real-life work environment. Occasionally, students were off-task, but they were far more engaged in course content in this environment than were my students from previous years who sat silently listening to my lecture.

Yes, some students finished the required course content early (and got to choose independent study projects). Some didn't finish it at all.2  But I'd rather send a student out the door with a B that reflects mastery of eight of nine units in a course than have a student who demonstrated none of these competencies "complete" that course with a D.

Most important, students felt the respect I had for them. The students who understood a concept quickly and were ready to move on were allowed to do so. Students who took more time knew that I wasn't going to move on without them. It took these learners a while to get used to the idea that they couldn't hide or slide by and that they were going to have to learn the content and demonstrate their understanding before moving on. Such a class may be the first experience a lagging student has had with someone saying, "I'm absolutely not going to leave you behind."

Once my high school learners realized I meant this, the stragglers caught up. Respect is powerful.

Endnotes

1  Bloom, B. (1984). Educational Researcher, 13(6), 4–16.

2  I reduced each student's grade by one letter grade for each required chapter they didn't complete by the end of the year, prorating deductions for a chapter only partially completed.

 

Kelly Morgan Dempewolf, a former high school science teacher, is program manager of an education grant funded by the National Science Foundation at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

KEYWORDSClick on keywords to see similar products:
adolescents, chemistry, classroom management, individualized instruction, instructional time, science, teaching for meaning 


Via Lynnette Van Dyke
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by mariarobets
Scoop.it!

Social Advocacy and Politics: Takin’ It to the Tweets

Social Advocacy and Politics: Takin’ It to the Tweets | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
In a world pulsating with conflict large and small, from the streets of Ferguson to Kobani and beyond, there is a need for calming voices.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

Coding for Kindergarteners

Coding for Kindergarteners | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Teaching young children to code is far from a tedious exercise with the thoughtful, age-appropriate use of game-like apps and robotic devices.

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Personalize Learning (#plearnchat)
Scoop.it!

Learning Environment as the Third Educator

Learning Environment as the Third Educator | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Reggio Emilia approach has a strong belief that children learn through interaction with others while teachers observe and document the learning.

Via Kathleen McClaskey
more...
Kathleen McClaskey's curator insight, November 21, 2014 4:21 PM
The Reggio Emilia approach is about having children seen as competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, inventive and to possess a desire to interact and communicate with others. The learning environment, the third educator, invites learners to explore and discover on their own as teachers and parents observe and document the process. 
Norton Gusky's curator insight, November 22, 2014 9:09 AM

Carnegie Mellon University and Carlow University in Pittsburgh have been leaders in using the Reggio Emilia model for early childhood. Reggio Emilia sees technology as one tool that actively engages the child. The environment is really a Maker Space giving young learners the tools to learn based on their interests.

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, November 22, 2014 12:22 PM

The teaching/learning environment is a technology that is often overlooked.

 

@ivon_ehd1

Rescooped by mariarobets from Emergent Curriculum`
Scoop.it!

Play Based Learning - Together Families

Play Based Learning - Together Families | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
RECEs across the country know how important play based learning is because it’s the core of their teaching methods.

Via Christine
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture and Systems Knowledge | New York Immigration Coalition

Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture and Systems Knowledge | New York Immigration Coalition | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture and Systems Knowledge... http://t.co/GccFWTJ5GE

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from early childhood education and more
Scoop.it!

April ADVOCACY! Children's Authentic Art Work - www ...

April ADVOCACY! Children's Authentic Art Work - www ... | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
As a two decades plus veteran teacher of early childhood, a champion for children, having spent her recently-abruptly-ended career of over a quarter of a century in both PreK + Kindergarten classrooms, Susan has much to ....

Via poulingail, mariarobets
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Flipped Classrooms and Reverse Instruction
Scoop.it!

5 Benefits of Flipping the Classroom

5 Benefits of Flipping the Classroom | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

The question that arises why a teacher should use this ‘flipping the classroom’ technique? One way to answer this question is looking at the advantages of this technique.


Via Jeffrey Jablonski, Ph.D.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

April ADVOCACY! Children's Authentic Art Work - www ...

April ADVOCACY! Children's Authentic Art Work - www ... | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
As a two decades plus veteran teacher of early childhood, a champion for children, having spent her recently-abruptly-ended career of over a quarter of a century in both PreK + Kindergarten classrooms, Susan has much to ....

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Developing Critical and Creative Thinking Skills with Students
Scoop.it!

A Simple, Open-Ended Assignment: Explain When You're Creative

A Simple, Open-Ended Assignment: Explain When You're Creative | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
A Simple, Open-Ended Assignment: Explain When You're Creative

Via Grant Montgomery
more...
Linda Alexander's curator insight, March 31, 2014 9:25 AM

"Society tells us there is only one answer to a question and that the answer is in the back of the book--and if you look, you're cheating! We are more focused on grades than learning.  This is a great student project to reflect on their own creativity!  Make good art...

Rescooped by mariarobets from Emergent Curriculum`
Scoop.it!

Play-based curriculum helps young students learn - CBC.ca

Play-based curriculum helps young students learn - CBC.ca | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Play-based curriculum helps young students learn
CBC.ca
Final steps are being taken to introduce a new play-based curriculum for kindergarten in schools across the province.

Via Christine
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Eclectic Technology
Scoop.it!

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest | Online Universities -Infographic

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest | Online Universities -Infographic | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Pinterest isn't just for wedding themes, DIY craft inspiration, and pretty pictures — it can also be a great educational tool!

Via Beth Dichter
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from college and career ready
Scoop.it!

Educational Leadership:Using Assessments Thoughtfully:The Bridge Between Today's Lesson and Tomorrow's

Educational Leadership:Using Assessments Thoughtfully:The Bridge Between Today's Lesson and Tomorrow's | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

March 2014 | Volume 71 | Number 6 
Using Assessments Thoughtfully Pages 10-14

The Bridge Between Today's Lesson and Tomorrow's

Carol Ann Tomlinson

Formative assessments can improve both teaching and learning, if you follow these ten principles.

There's talk aplenty in schools these days about formative assessment. That's encouraging, because formative assessment has great potential to improve both teaching and learning. Listening to the conversations sometimes, however, reminds me that it's easier to subscribe to a word than to live out its fundamental tenets.

I see formative assessment as an ongoing exchange between a teacher and his or her students designed to help students grow as vigorously as possible and to help teachers contribute to that growth as fully as possible. When I hear formative assessment reduced to a mechanism for raising end-of-year-test scores, it makes me fear that we might reduce teaching and learning to that same level.

Formative assessment is—or should be—the bridge or causeway between today's lesson and tomorrow's. Both its alignment with current content goals and its immediacy in providing insight about student understanding are crucial to helping teacher and student see how to make near-term adjustments so the progression of learning can proceed as it should. I worry when I hear educators say they have purchased formative assessments to give once a quarter or once a month to keep tabs on student achievement. These assessments are not likely to be well aligned with tomorrow's lesson, nor are they able to provide feedback rapidly enough to influence daily instruction.

The best teachers work persistently to benefit the learners in their charge. Because teaching is too complex to invite perfection, even the best teachers will miss the mark on some days, but in general, teachers who use sound formative assessment aspire to the following 10 principles.

1. Help students understand the role of formative assessment.

Students often feel that assessment equals test equals grade equals judgment. That association leads many discouraged students to give up rather than to risk another failure. It causes many high-achieving students to focus on grades rather than learning, and on safe answers rather than thoughtful ones.

It's important, then, for teachers to help students understand that assessments help them learn and that immediate perfection should not be their goal. Teachers can communicate this message by telling students,

 

When we're mastering new things, it's important to feel safe making mistakes. Mistakes are how we figure out how to get better at what we are doing. They help us understand our thinking. Therefore, many assessments in this class will not be graded. We'll analyze the assessments so we can make improvements in our work, but they won't go into the grade book. When you've had time to practice, then we'll talk about tests and grades.

 

It's essential for teachers to help learners both understand and experience the reality that sustained effort and mindful attention to progress feed success. That belief needs to be a cornerstone ethic in the classroom.

2. Begin with clear KUDs.

The first step in creating a worthy formative assessment occurs well before the teacher develops the assessment. It happens when the teacher begins to map out curriculum. At that point, the teacher asks the pivotal question, "What is most important for students to Know, Understand, and be able to Do as a result of this segment of learning?" Absent clarity on the essential knowledge, understanding, and skills for a unit or lesson, the curriculum wanders. But with clarity about KUDs, the teacher is able to focus curricular decisions squarely on what matters most for student success.

KUDs also lay the groundwork for pre-assessment and ongoing assessment. A pre-assessment provides a "dipstick check" of student status as a unit begins. It need not be wholly comprehensive, but rather should sample student standing in relation to the material so the teacher has a reasonable approximation of who may experience difficulty, who may show early mastery, and who may bring misunderstandings to the unit of study. Other formative assessments will follow regularly and often, and together they will form an image of a student's emergent development.

Alignment between KUDs and formative assessments—and later, between formative assessment results and instructional plans—is imperative if formative assessment is to fulfill its promise.

3. Make room for student differences.

The most useful formative assessments make it possible for students to show what they know, understand, and can do; therefore, it's useful for teachers to build some flexibility into formative assessments. For example, a student who is learning English may be able to draw and label a diagram of the relationship between density and buoyancy but not write a paragraph explaining it. The prompt, "Use an example from your experience to illustrate the idea that a person's culture shapes his or her perspective," is more likely to draw a meaningful response from a broader range of students than the prompt, "Explain the relationship between culture and perspective." Likewise, asking students to illustrate how fractions are used in sports, music, cooking, shopping, building something, or another area they are interested in is more likely to be revealing than asking them simply to explain uses of fractions.

In formative assessments (as in summative ones), it's acceptable—and often wise—to allow students some latitude in how they express what they know, understand, and can do. Assessment formats and conditions can vary as long as all forms of the assessment measure the same KUDs.

4. Provide instructive feedback.

Although formative assessments should rarely be graded, students do need useful feedback. Comments like, "Nice job," "I enjoyed this," or "Not quite" don't help learners understand what they did well or how they missed the mark. Feedback needs to help the student know what to do to improve the next time around. For example, it's helpful for a teacher to say, "The flow of your logic in this section is clear, but you need additional detail to support your thinking." It offers a student little guidance if the teacher simply says, "Not quite there yet," or "Weak effort."

When feedback serves its instructional purpose, students are clear about the learning targets at which they are aiming, and they understand that assessments show how they are doing in reaching those targets. They trust that teachers will use the assessments to help them achieve, and they know that there will soon be follow-up opportunities for them to use the feedback in improving their performance.

5. Make feedback user-friendly.

Feedback should be clear, focused, and appropriately challenging for the learner. As teachers, we sometimes feel our job is to mark every error on a paper. Not only is that practice time-consuming, robbing us of time we could more potently use for instructional planning, but a sea of "edits" without clarity about which comments matter most, how they connect, or what to do next is likely to evoke a negative response from a student.

To realize its power, feedback must result in a student thinking about how to improve—the ideal is to elicit a cognitive response from the learner, not an emotional one (Wiliam, 2011). It's seldom useful to send students a message that their work is stellar or that their work is dreadful. Praise and shame shut down learning far more often than they catalyze it. It's more fruitful to straightforwardly share with students their particular next steps in the learning process, based on goals that are clear to teacher and student alike. The teacher sees where a student is in a learning progression and points the way ahead for that student. In other words, feedback is differentiated, pointing each learner toward actions that are challenging but achievable for that learner.

For example, a teacher who is working with students on using sources to support an opinion provides criteria for the effective use of resources for this purpose. In writing an opinion piece, some students may have difficulty synthesizing ideas from multiple resources. A second group of students may synthesize proficiently but rely solely on obvious interpretations of text. To move ahead, the first group of students needs specific guidance on how to synthesize ideas from resources. The second group needs direction in plumbing ideas more deeply. Both groups will receive feedback in the area of using resources to support an opinion, but their feedback will focus on aspects of the skill set that move them to their next step in development.

6. Assess persistently.

Formative assessment should permeate a class period. A great teacher is a habitual student of his or her students. A keen observer, the teacher is constantly watching what students do, looking for clues about their learning progress, and asking for input from students about their status.

These teachers walk among their students as they work, listening for clues about their understanding, asking questions that probe their thinking, taking notes on what they see and hear. They ask students to signal their level of confidence with the task they are doing with thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or thumbs-sideways, for example, to gain a sense of how the class as a whole is faring. They ask students to write answers to questions on whiteboards or to respond with clickers so they can get an in-process sense of how individual students are coming along.

They use start-up prompts to see what students learned from last night's homework. They use exit cards to assess student understanding as a class ends. They spot-check student work with an eye to seeing how students are progressing with a particular skill. They talk with students as they enter and leave the classroom, at lunch, or while waiting for the school buses to leave. They solicit and are alert to parent input about their students' strengths, attitudes, work habits, and goals.

It isn't really so much that these teachers use formative assessments often. It's that they do so continually—formally and informally, with individuals and with the group, to understand academic progress and to understand the human beings that they teach. For these teachers, formative assessment is not ancillary to effective teaching. It is the core of their professional work.

7. Engage students with formative assessment.

Time was when doctors examined patients, made diagnoses, and provided treatment plans with limited conversation about their observations or alternative courses of treatment. More recently, physicians have learned that outcomes improve when patients and doctors exchange information and examine treatment options together.

It's easy for teachers to stick with the traditional classroom paradigm that casts them in the role of giver and grader of tests, diagnoser of student needs, and prescriber of regimens. Things go much better, however, when students are fully engaged in the assessment process.

Students benefit from examining their own work in light of rubrics that align tightly with content goals and point toward quality of content, process, and product—or in comparison to models of high-quality work that are just a bit above the student's current level of performance. They benefit from providing feedback on peers' work, as long as the feedback is guided by clear criteria and a process that enables them to provide useful suggestions.

Students also need to be involved in thoughtfully examining teacher feedback, asking questions when the feedback is not clear, and developing plans that specify how they will use that feedback to benefit their own academic growth. Students who are consistent participants in the formative assessment process should be able to say something like this:

 

Here are four goals I'm working on right now. In this piece of work, here's evidence that I'm competent with the first and third goals. If we look at my work from a month ago and then at this most recent piece, I can show you evidence of my progress with the second goal. I can also tell you two things I'm going to work on this week to make sure I become more confident and more skilled in working with the fourth goal.

 

8. Look for patterns.

The goal of reviewing formative assessment is not to be able to say, "Six students made As, seven madeBs, ten made Cs, and so on." Neither is the goal to create 32 lesson plans for 32 students. Rather, it is to find patterns in the students' work that point the way to planning classroom instruction that both moves students along a learning continuum and is manageable.

Patterns will vary widely with the focus of the assessment. In one instance, a teacher may see some students who have already mastered the content, others who are fine with computations but not word problems, still others who know how to tackle the word problems but are making careless errors, and another group that is struggling with prerequisite knowledge or skills.

In another instance, a teacher may find that one group of students can provide causes of an event but no evidence for their reasoning, while other students are able to provide both causes and evidence. In still another case, a teacher may see students who understand the general idea being assessed but lack academic vocabulary to write with precision, while other students are using appropriate academic vocabulary. The possibilities are many, but the goal is to look for clusters of student need and plan ways to help each group of students move ahead.

9. Plan instruction around content requirements and student needs.

There is little point in spending time on formative assessment unless it leads to modification of teaching and learning plans. In other words, formative assessment is a means to design instruction that's a better fit for student needs, not an end in itself.

On rare occasions, formative assessment will indicate that everyone in the class needs more practice with a certain skill or more engagement with a particular understanding. Much more frequently, however, formative assessment points to a need for differentiated instruction during at least some of an upcoming class period, in homework, or in both. John Hattie (2012) says that

 

teachers must know where students are and aim to move them "+1" beyond that point; thus the idea of teaching the class as a whole is unlikely to pitch the lesson correctly for all students. This is where the skill of teachers in knowing the similarities across students and allowing for the differences becomes so important. (p. 97)

 

An assessment is really only a formative assessment when teachers glean evidence about student performance, interpret that evidence, and use it to provide teaching that is more likely to benefit student learning than the instruction those teachers would have delivered if they had continued forward without using what they learned through the assessment (Wiliam, 2011).

10. Repeat the process.

Formative assessment is more habitual than occasional in classrooms where maximizing each student's growth is a central goal. In such classes, it simply makes no sense to teach without a clear understanding of each student's development along a learning trajectory. It is wasteful of time, resources, and learner potential not to make instructional plans based on that understanding. Assessment of each learning experience informs plans for the next learning experience. Such an assessment process never ends.

A classroom is a system with interdependent parts—each affecting the other for better or worse. The learning environment, quality of curriculum, use of formative assessment, instructional planning, and implementation of classroom routines work together to enhance student learning—or, if any of the elements does not function effectively, to impede it. Fruitful use of formative assessment is an essential component in the mix.

References

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.

Wiliam, D., (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

  


Via Lynnette Van Dyke
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Information and digital literacy in education via the digital path
Scoop.it!

The Critical Voice of Youth in Education Advocacy and Global Citizenship

The Critical Voice of Youth in Education Advocacy and Global Citizenship | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Kate Anderson Simons and Rebecca Winthrop discuss the need for global citizenship education in the post-2015 development agenda and the role of the Youth Advocacy Group (YAG) in leading this conversation.

Via Elizabeth E Charles
more...
Kara long's curator insight, April 17, 2014 10:47 AM

This article is about the program called "The education we want: an advocacy toolkit." It featured real-life stories of youths who have successfully advocated for this program.  YAG youth demonstrate remarkable passion, leadership skills, and eloquence when speaking about the barriers to quality education in their communities and in the world. They are able to understand what it mean to be a "global citizen."

Kristin Blom's comment, April 19, 2014 2:56 PM
I found this article very empowering, specifically for youth. Youth from around the world are coming together to fight for education for all kids around the world. It is very easy to take education for granted in America because it is readily available to us. Those involved in this advocacy are true global citizens because regardless of their age, they are bettering not just their communities, but communities around the world. This article was very interesting to me as well, because I think it would be an amazing experience to teach abroad someday.
Candice Blount's curator insight, May 4, 2014 2:17 PM

This article addresses the need for "global citizenship" education past the 2015. The article addresses the need to move away from traditional testing methods as it is not a true measurement of global citizenship. Traditional measurements may stifle creativity and innovative thinking. 

Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

50 Online Early Readers (with audio)

50 Online Early Readers (with audio) | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
I found an awesome website that has over 100 early readers with audio! The site is Unite For Literacy and I took the first 50 of the books and created a Symbaloo webmix for my class. The best part ...

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by mariarobets
Scoop.it!

A Guide to Developmentally Appropriate Practices

A Guide to Developmentally Appropriate Practices | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
When you walk into an early childhood classroom what do you expect to see? Teachers, administrators, staff and educational expects probably expect to see something different than parents, children ...
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration, and Play | by: Renée Dinnerstein

Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration, and Play | by: Renée Dinnerstein | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
You can read Rethinking the Early Childhood Common Core Standards, on my blog http://t.co/9R3W39kvc9. #kinderchat

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Kindergarten
Scoop.it!

Heavily Decorated Classrooms Distract Children from Learning - NeuroNet Learning

A new study, published in Psychological Science, found that children in highly decorated classrooms are more distracted and make smaller learning gains compared to a minimally decorated classroom.

Via poulingail
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Early Brain Development
Scoop.it!

Self-Confidence Starts Early | Urban Child Institute

Self-Confidence Starts Early | Urban Child Institute | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it
Self-esteem contributes to well-being by improving coping skills and providing a buffer against negative events and influences.

Via Deborah McNelis, M.Ed
mariarobets's insight:

The early years MATTER

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Early Years Education
Scoop.it!

Exploring Measurement in Nature | ICS Early Years Blog

Exploring Measurement in Nature | ICS Early Years Blog | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

Via Tasha Cowdy
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by mariarobets from Visual*~*Revolution
Scoop.it!

Teaching Children to Calm Themselves

Teaching Children to Calm Themselves | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

Experiencing neglect, severe stress or sudden separation at a young age can be traumatizing, and inhibit a child’s ability to make good decisions and work through problems.


Via Andrea Zeitz
more...
Barbara Hunter's curator insight, April 29, 2014 6:07 AM

If we can catch children at this age and help them to develop self-regulation skills, they will have a chance to break the cycle plaguing many in society today.  This is a program to watch for long-term success.

Rescooped by mariarobets from Librarians in the real world
Scoop.it!

10 of The Best Bibliography and Citation Tools for Teachers and Student Researchers

10 of The Best Bibliography and Citation Tools for Teachers and Student Researchers | early childhood education and more | Scoop.it

Knowing how to develop a bibliography and cite the resources you drew on  in your research papers are two elemental skills for any student researcher. 


Via Susan Grigsby @sksgrigsby, Karen Bonanno, Deborah Welsh
more...
Jan Watts's curator insight, February 25, 2014 5:13 PM

It is essential that students are able to cite the sources of their information. These tools are great support for this....

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, March 14, 2014 4:22 AM
10 of The Best Bibliography and Citation Tools for Teachers and Student Researchers
Mayra.Loves.Books's curator insight, March 29, 2014 12:49 PM

Excellent collection of tools for teachers and students. I will include these in my campaign to get teachers to ask students to cite.