Formative assessment or assessment for learning is a proven strategy to improve student achievement.
Mel Riddile's insight:
“Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they're currently doing.
• Formative assessment is a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of students' status is used by teachers to adjust their ongoing instructional procedures or by students to adjust their current learning tactics.
• Because formative assessment has been shown to improve students' in-class learning, many educators have adopted it in the hope that it will also raise their students' performances on accountability tests.
• The expanded use of formative assessment is supported not only by instructional logic but also by the conclusions of a well-conceived and skillfully implemented meta-analysis by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam.” (Popham, 2008)After synthesizing over 250 publications, Black and Wiliam, concluded that formative assessment is perhaps the most effective educational practice when it comes to improving academic achievement. In addition, formative assessment has a disproportionately beneficial impact on low‐achieving students. http://www.hanoverresearch.com/media/The-Impact-of-Formative-Assessment-and-Learning-Intentions-on-Student-Achievement.pdfIn
In 2009, JohnHattie published a meta-meta-analysis of education research called Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. In that study, Hattie found that formative assessment, when done correctly, had the highest effect size on student learning compared with other classroom strategies.
In recent years, neuroscientists have reported that retrievalpractice—recalling and applying previously learning—had a huge impact (as much as 50%) on student retention of learned content. Combining retrieval practice and formative assessment can significantly reduce forgetting and increase retention of lesson content.
Each school’s instructional framework provides teachers with numerous opportunities to use formative assessments in the beginning and ending of a lesson as well as when engaging students and during student practice in the body of the lesson. Teachers use formative assessment to see if the students have mastered the content of the lesson—did they get it?
Note that mastery means that the students can demonstrate both that they ‘know’ the content and that they can apply what they learned to future or past learning.
Formative Assessment in the Beginning and Ending of the Lesson
• Purposeful Learning – The expectation that all activities be purposeful means that teachers always have something to check on or assess for understanding.
• Focusing (Beginning) – Ask students to demonstrate mastery of the previous lesson through bell ringer, do now, or warm up.
• Knowing the Lesson’s Purpose (Beginning) – Ask students to repeat the learning target or essential question in their own words
• Ask students to predict (“prediction effect”) the “why” of the learning target/essential question (Beginning).
• Use a closure activity or ‘exit ticket’ that asks more than comprehension level, regurgitation questions. Ask students to both recall (retrieval practice) and apply what they learned to future or past learning (Ending).
• Purposeful reading, writing, and discussion - Reflection of some kind that addresses learning using evidence from the lesson that connects the learning to something else (Ending).
Formative Assessment in the Body of the Lesson (Practicing and Engagement)
• Connection activities that ask students to link new learning to older learning• Visualization activities where students draw some concept that has been learned
• Question design - ask kids to write their own questions with different levels of Bloom's involved
• Game play where appropriate can be a great tool as well• Blog writing as a reflective or questioning tool
• Mentor activities that ask the student to create something original using the learning as a model
• Problem solving activities where students apply skills to arrive at a solutionIf students can complete any or all of the above, then we know they have demonstrated proficiency on some level. As we seek to move kids to mastery, we need to be acutely aware of their progress.
Neuroscience shows us that creativity isn’t limited to one side of the brain. It uses the whole brain. And the parts of the brain that deactivate are maybe even more important than the parts of the brain that activate.
In Dallas, however, things really did change, due to a crucial difference in the way the trial was run. Here, children were offered money not for obtaining good grades, but for completing particular tasks — in this case, reading books. They were much younger, at only 7 and 8 years old, and they were given $2 for each book they read. They could choose the books from a selection and could read them at their own pace. They took a comprehension test to prove they had read it, and while there was no direct reward gained for higher reading comprehension scores, that’s exactly what the children achieved — which is not surprising when you think about it. After all, it’s by reading that you get better at reading.
The idea is quickly gaining traction. In a recent national survey, 97 percent of teachers agreed that all students can and should have a growth mindset, and that same number said fostering a growth mindset is an important part of a teacher’s job. Yet only 50 percent said they have adequate solutions and strategies to shift mindset.
This is why growth mindset is not working in schools—at least, not yet. Shifting mindset requires students to build new skills, specifically to understand and get better at the process of learning.
Currently, we try to foster a growth mindset largely through lessons and supportive language. Students learn that the brain is like a muscle, and it gets stronger the harder we work it. Teachers often use phrases such as: “You haven’t gotten it...yet.” and “Keep practicing and you’ll get better.”
Researchers from the University of Stirling have explored the true impact of heading a soccer ball, identifying small but significant changes in brain function immediately after routine heading practice.
The study from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence published in EBioMedicine is the first to detect direct changes in the brain after players are exposed to everyday head impacts, as opposed to clinical brain injuries like concussion.
In a new study, researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics found a correlation between the time school-aged children spent watching TV, playing videogames, and using computers, tablets, and smartphones with an increased likelihood of not completing their homework assignments. Kids who spent two to four hours each day using digital devices outside of schoolwork were 23% more likely of “always or usually” finishing their homework compared with children who spent less than two hours consuming digital media. The gap widened even more when kids diverted more than six hours of their time to digital media. Compared with students with less than two hours of daily screen time, students with more than six hours of exposure were 63% less likely to complete their homework.
Welcome to the U.S. teaching force, where the "I'm outta here" rate is an estimated 8 percent a year — twice that of high-performing countries like Finland or Singapore. And that 8 percent is a lot higher than other professions.
The teaching force is "a leaky bucket, losing hundreds of thousands of teachers each year — the majority of them before retirement age," says a recent report from the Learning Policy Institute.
If coaching is beneficial to teachers, it should be beneficial to principals as well, and there are at least five reasons why. What the Research SaysResearch by experts like Jim Knight (I'm an instructional coaching trainer for Knight), show that coaching is one of the most impactful forms of professional development because it's individualized and based on a goal chosen by a teacher or co-constructed with the coach if the teacher needs help choosing a goal. Knight's research showed that when teachers (and most likely principals too) attend a normal sit-and-get professional development session they lose up to 90% of what they learned.It makes sense, right? We attend PD and see some great speaker that we've always wanted to see, but we never take the time...or aren't allowed the time...to truly see how what the speaker suggests fits into our practice (That's why full day workshops can be more beneficial because the presenter should be helping attendees how it all fits together). We get back to our classrooms after seeing the dynamic speaker, and we put our learning to the side of our desk...and don't use most of it because real life gets in the way and we revert to old habits.
While surveillance technology can have many benefits, including making schools safer and keeping students on task, it can also have unintended consequences in areas like equity and privacy, says a report by the National Association of State Boards...
Learning from failure has become a popular idea in education recently, partly because it feels like common sense to many people. In a general way, the idea of “picking yourself up after a fall” has long existed in American culture as in many other parts of the world. Teachers are hoping that if they can instill this idea in their students, the small, everyday setbacks inherent to learning new things won’t feel so emotionally charged to students, who might instead see them as part of the path to greater understanding and ultimate success.
But turning the difficult experience of failure into a positive isn’t as easy as telling students to change their mindsets; it takes careful lesson design, a strong classroom culture and an instructor trained in getting results from small failures so his or her students succeed when it matters.
In a follow-up to last week's piece, Marc Tucker dives deeper into the changes needed in the U.S. education system for ed tech to deliver on its promises. The wrong question to ask, in my estimation, is what courses should be taught and how they should be taught to this young person to get there. The right question is what sort of experiences this young person needs to have in order to develop, over time, these qualities. The emphasis needs to be on learning, not teaching. The venue could be anywhere—in school and out. The teacher could be a licensed public school teacher, but it could also be a coach on the playing field, a shop foreman who is a mentor in an apprenticeship situation, or a world-famous professor who appears in a MOOC.
If class sizes aren't going to be addressed because of bottom lines, either because of a lack of teacher resources or school funding, then we are going to have to find a way to function better inside of these undesirable situations. All or many of the following challenges can occur when there are too many kids in one room:increased probability of distraction or distractable behaviorless time spent on instructiongroup work can be impeded students don't get the close attention and feedback they require to succeedhigher likelihood of incidents that can escalateless freedom to let students lead the lessons because there isn't much space to move aroundcreativity can be stifled because the pace can be stop and goattendance can also be an issue in larger classes which also leads to other challengesloss of personal touch difficulty building rapport and relationships with all students
The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day is ‘ valuing teachers, improving their status’ and the best way governments can show they are valuing teachers is to ensure they are properly supported in the classroom,” she said in a statement today.
Here are five ways you can help today’s students start thinking for themselves:
1. Let students know that you don’t have all the answers. Last year, I was reading Twelfth Night with a class. It was probably my twentieth time reading the play in my life, but when a student’s interpretation of one of the main characters differed from mine, I admitted to the class that I had missed that meaning.
I love to read challenging poems with my classes and I tell them that, while there are some wrong answers, there are also many right answers and I don’t have them all. Likewise, I don’t know what their thesis statement should be on their next essay or which anecdote they should use in their personal essay. They will have many tougher decisions than that in the future, and the sooner they get used to uncertainty the better.
2. Question everything and encourage them to do the same. I could argue both sides of just about any issue, and I frequently do that in class. I also teach my students that what they are told isn’t necessarily the truth. I want them to feel empowered to find their own answers, but I want them to be able to distinguish between good information and bad. Doing a Google search and reading the first article as 100 percent fact is not a great way to become an informed citizen. Reading multiple sources and learning how to distinguish good ones from iffy ones is.
Our schedule is a function of what we’re trying to create,” said Diana Laufenberg, executive director of Inquiry Schools and a former high school history teacher at Science Leadership Academy. Laufenberg is working with schools across the country to transform pedagogical models toward more inquiry-driven approaches. She says what Smith and his team in Georgia are trying to do is some of the hardest work in education.
If you want to help your students develop a growth mindset -- the belief that they can improve their abilities through effort -- helping them become more comfortable with risk-taking and modeling critical feedback through critique journals are two of NMSA's strategies that you can adapt to your own practice.
How It's Done
Teach Your Students That It's OK to Make Mistakes Making mistakes, not knowing the answer -- this is part of the artistic process. "You're going to make bad paintings," says Gonzalez. "You're going to make bad photographs. You're going to fumble your way through it, and in fact, that's how you learn. You need to make those mistakes."
The idea that you learn from your mistakes is embedded into their entire arts curriculum. Teacher, expert, and peer critiques are innate to the arts process. Immediate feedback is part of the norm. You might pause your piano student in mid-rehearsal to say, "When you get here, make sure you get a really clean pedal on the B flat, but that was great. That's the kind of energy you want." In dance class, you might tell your students how they need to rotate their legs differently when taking their demi-plié in first position.
When ninth-grade theater students rehearse their Working in Silence scenes, they perform in front of their peers and faculty, receive feedback from their teachers, and then re-perform the scene to immediately incorporate their feedback.
Absenteeism continues to be a serious problem across our nation and it is important that we recognize this and make a consistent effort to get our students through our classrooms’ doors every day. Here are a few ways that I counteracted chronic missed days of school in my classroom.
When it comes to organizational change, failure continues to be more common than success. In a survey of nearly 3,000 executives about the success of their enterprise transformation efforts, McKinsey discovered the failure rate to be higher than 60%, while Harvard Business Review conducted a study that suggested more than 70% of transformation efforts fail.
The pattern is clear, and diligent leaders often devote countless resources to planning out the perfect change management initiative. To raise the odds of success, however, my experience suggests the place that leaders need to begin their transformation efforts is not their organizations: It’s themselves.
The Great Recession technically ended in June of 2009, but many of America's schools are still feeling the pinch.
A new study of state budget documents and Census Bureau data finds that the lion's share of spending on schools in at least 23 states will be lower this school year than it was when the recession began nearly a decade ago.
This analysis looked specifically at what's called general formula funding, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of the money states spend in their K-12 schools.
Parents and teachers, and their better communication plays a crucial role in shaping the future of kids. Along with the perfect teaching methods, better parental involvement can not only enhance a child’s motivation for learning but also develop a positive attitude about the school in general. Communication between both the teachers as well as parents throughout the year is essential to support student’s success and well-being. A student who knows that the teacher communicates on a regular basis with their parents will understand that their parents trust the teacher, thus will likely put more effort into school. With advanced apps such as parent communication portal, improved communication is not an impossible task now.
The relationship between homework and course grades is not the news. This is a college course and no matter what the format, it's only going to meet a few hours each week, and students will be expected to do a great deal of work on their own.
The news is that students were poor at reporting their time spent on homework; 88% reported more than the Smartpen showed they had actually spent. The correlation of actual time and reported time ranged from r = .16 to r = .35 for the three cohorts.
At least 23 states will provide less “general” or “formula” funding—the primary form of state support for elementary and secondary schools—in the current school year (2017) than when the Great Recession took hold in 2008, our survey of state budget documents finds,” said the CBPP. “Eight states have cut general funding per student by about10 percent or more over this period. Five of those eight —Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin enacted income tax rate cuts costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars each year rather than restore education funding.”
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