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.
Imagining a controversial issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning, according to a new study
Mel Riddile's insight:
Many students, and even adults, have difficulty writing a persuasive or expository paper, as they are unable to consider challenges to their own perspective. Prior research has shown that peer-to-peer discussion can help students overcome these issues, but opportunities for these kinds of discussions are not always available.
It’s well-established that various ‘myths’ about how students’ learn are remarkably persistent in the face of contradictory evidence. In 2014, Paul Howard-Jones’ article, Neuroscience and education: myths and messages revealed the extent of teachers’ faulty beliefs:
To create an effective class environment, the evidence shows teachers should raise student expectations; develop strong relationships; establish routines; and ensure learning is active and not passive. Consistent consequences are needed too. But it is not appropriate for teachers to always jump straight to punishment without some warning, a “correction”, which gives the student an opportunity to change their behaviour.
Even when everyone in a school building understands that a set of habitual behaviors are holding back change it can be difficult to shift away from them because of time constraints, history, comfort with something familiar, or control issues. But if school leaders and educators in the building truly want to see changes to teaching and learning, they must name negative habitual behaviors, own them, and intentionally make plans to address them.
“This issue of patterned behavior and things that are hard to break is something we keep running into over and over and over,” said Diana Laufenberg, executive director of Inquiry Schools. Laufenberg has been consulting with schools around the country on school transformation and often finds that long-held beliefs about things like the schedule present the most persistent obstacles to helping school leaders achieve their visions. She once worked with a project that had lots of flexibility, no accountability, only 15 students and four teachers, but the first thing the organizers freaked out about was the schedule.
The classroom is on fire! Literally! And your only way to put out the flame is to use differentiated instruction strategies. Could you do it?
I bet many teachers would say no. Or they would say that they have tried DI in the past, but it was too confusing, took too long to prep, or was not needed. But guess what? I bet you are already doing it on a regular basis and didn’t even know! Being aware though is an important component of a successful DI classroom. You can’t improve on what you are doing, if you don’t know what you have in place already.
Let’s talk about 7 common myths of differentiation – and see if you can relate to any of them.
Based on the grades we received as students, we told ourselves we were "good" or "bad" students. We used our grades to tell ourselves which subjects we were "smart" in and which ones we weren't. We used our grades to compare ourselves to our peers. Our parents used our grades to compare us to their peers and their peers' children. We used our grades to determine if we were cut-out for certain careers. We allowed grades to tell us many stories about who we were. For better or for worse, these stories have played a part in shaping our identities as adults. Therefore, when we remove a critical piece of our identity formation (traditional grades) we may, consciously or not, feel threatened.
Teaching children according to their individual “learning style” does not achieve better results and should be ditched by schools in favour of evidence-based practice, according to leading scientists.
Thirty eminent academics from the worlds of neuroscience, education and psychology have signed a letter to the Guardian voicing their concern about the popularity of the learning style approach among some teachers.
As our conversation played out, I was encouraged and uplifted by Linda’s many wise and timely remarks. Here are some of my highlights:
Listening to her speak about the importance of keeping teacher voice at the forefront of the work and students “at the heart,” (1:25) reminded me of the importance of teacher leadership.
Linda touched on challenging conversations, a timely and relevant topic as we struggle nationally to find common ground on many issues. Linda (8:19) lays out a pathway to successfully negotiate challenging conversations in ways that hold true to one’s values. She also reminds us that “the kids are depending on us.”
One focus of Linda’s work is the continuing teacher shortage. She lays out a direct plan (13:00) for addressing this shortage in her work at the Learning Policy Institute.
Linda points to the positive results that occur when teachers and policy makers exchange ideas and viewpoints (17:45).
Math learning and teaching can be so much fun especially when done through the right strategies. One of these strategies is through engaging video content. To this end, we have compiled 20 of the best and most popular YouTube channels for math teachers. These channels provide a wide variety of videos, tutorials and animated courses covering different mathematical concepts from algebra to geometry.
In Tacoma and 16 other cities across the nation, school districts are boosting student attendance by sending home what they call “nudge” letters when students miss too many days of school.
Like the voting and energy efforts, the nudge letters include a tally of a student’s absences — a number that research shows parents usually underestimate. Under that, the letters also provide the absence average for the school and for the child’s grade level across the district.
Tackling Complex Text with Close Reading and Annotating Close reading and annotating are two strategies that students can simultaneously use to aid comprehension and extract meaning from text. When conducting a close read, it is crucial to choose a text that is worthy of the undertaking, as close reading requires the reader to read the text several times with a different purpose for each reading. After choosing the text, implement the following strategies using the gradual release of responsibility model.
1. Prepare kids for college and careers, but not necessarily in that order.
The “college for all” mantra pushed many states to raise their education standards to better prepare students for the fact that a high school education often isn’t enough these days for long-term success. (Some 65 percent of jobs are expected to require a postsecondary credential by 2020.) The new consensus is that students need to be “college and career ready.”
“It shouldn’t be either college or career…. There’s a new movement afoot … to say everybody should be trained in a specific set of skills, but that … shouldn’t be aimed just at the less advantaged, nor should it preclude the possibility of a traditional four-year B.A. degree,” says Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
In part it’s a pushback to the narrow focus on math and reading tests under the former federal accountability law No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Declines in student participation in elective courses nationwide, especially in applied technical education, showed “the poverty of focusing on academics only … and losing the practical application of learning,” says Shaun Dougherty, an education policy professor at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education in Storrs. “To be a good college student, employee, citizen, you have to have a broader appreciation for why what you are studying might matter.”
By Dr. Mary Ann Wolf - This year, students and teachers shared their perspectives on teaching and learning at the Personalized Learning Summit.
A mere taste of the wisdom imparted:
● Relationships matter. Students want to know their teachers better, and they want teachers to understand their passions. Teachers want time to get to know students beyond their academic achievement.
● Context and relevance matter. Students, especially high school students, want authentic learning experiences. They want to solve problems, but they want them to be grounded in their world.
● Students want agency and voice. They want to be active drivers in their own learning. They want to have choices, various ways to learn and opportunities to explore their passions within formal learning environments.
● Students learn in many different ways. Students and teachers emphasized that they each learn differently. Students want opportunities that address these learning differences, and teachers would like to be able to personalize learning more for kids.
This memory-based account of the effect of interruptions on sequential tasks is consistent with decades of experimental work showing that the contents of short term memory is compromised by delay. These results don’t mean attention is not a relevant factor in interruptions, but they do speak to the relative roles of memory and attention in sequenced tasks.
So administrators...if you haven't set a policy that the PA system is silent during class, think about doing so!
Its name notwithstanding, more than three-fourths of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools alumni don’t earn a four-year college degree in the six years after they finish high school.
Mel Riddile's insight:
the best estimate puts charters’ college persistence rates at around 23%. To be fair, the rate overall for low-income students – the kind of students typically served by charters – is even worse: just 9%. For low-income, high-minority urban public schools, most comparable to charters, the rate is 15%.
In a bid to keep high-performing teachers at high poverty schools, Utah lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that would give high flyers at economically challenged schools $5,000 annual bonuses.
Around the country, school administrators often struggle to attract teachers, particularly veteran educators, to schools that enroll large numbers of poor students. Often, higher salaries and better working conditions draw these educators to wealthier schools. That means poor schools usually have much higher teacher turnover rates and are much more likely to be staffed by novice educators.
"It's a huge disparity," state Representative Mike Winder, a Republican from suburban Salt Lake County and the sponsor of the bill, told The Salt Lake City Tribune. "And we, as a state, have a statutory duty to step in."
This bill defines a high-poverty school as one where either 70 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches or where at least 20 percent of students are classified by the state as affected by intergenerational poverty. The bill would reward educators in those schools based on a measure of year-to-year student growth on state standardized tests.
When formal leaders provide opportunities for shared leadership by affording others the power to make decisions, everyone benefits. Decisions are better understood and more readily accepted. Change is more likely to be effective and lasting when those who implement it feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the process.
It helps to build collective efficacy. Tschannen-Moran & Barr (2004) define collective efficacy as, the collective self-perception that teachers in a given school make an educational difference to their students over and above the educational impact of their homes and communities. We want that, right?
A new study of dual-enrollment programs finds that high-achieving white girls from financially secure homes are more likely to enroll in those college-credit programs than minority, male, or low-income students.
Believe it or not, it is possible to keep the learning happening, even in a teacher's absence and I strongly recommend the following to ensure that even for the unplanned moments we can't be in our classrooms, students learn.
Have you seen the movie What About Bob?, starring Bill Murray? Bob's psychiatrist tells him to take baby steps to get past his anxieties and fears. Bob repeats his "baby steps, baby steps" mantra as he embarks on a new adventure. Last year, my new challenge was to teach gifted and talented students in a mixed-ability middle school language arts classroom. How would I meet all of my students' needs? After some research and experimentation, I found the answer: differentiation. Carol Ann Tomlinson's (1995) informal definition of differentiation in How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms is to "shake things up a bit" (p. 32). Because students bring a variety of abilities and interests to the classroom, teachers should offer a variety of learning options.
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