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.
In this era of high-stakes testing that’s used to rank kids and schools, what if we reclaimed the word assessment and put it more authentically in the service of learning?
Going a step further, what if we connected educators who are passionate about deeper learning with a coalition of technical assistance providers and researchers, and surround them with resources and tools so that they can develop new forms of assessment as a learning community of grantees?
Where is it that we find the ability or the inclination to sustain our interest so that we are pointing in the same direction day after day and to motivate ourselves through big setbacks or the little setbacks that happen every day?" Duckworth said, summarizing her research for an audience at the Education Writers Association national seminar Monday.
Duckworth's book delves into her own personal story. As a child, her father would remind her: "You know, you're no genius!" If she could go back in time, the Harvard graduate and "genius" award winner, writes, she would tell her father that raw talent and intelligence aren't the sole drivers of success:
Understanding how we learn best is one of the keys to growth as human beings. This essential metacongative skill is not innate and must be modeled and taught in school starting as early as possible.
The way it looks for different age groups will be different, obviously as younger students are not always cognitively ready to do this kind of thinking. However with the right scaffolds in place, reflection and self-assessment can be a rich way to extend the depth of independent learning and also aid in informing the teacher about valuable data around growth and understanding.
A new national survey of school information technology pros also found that leaders are planning for some major changes to the types of learning materials that will be used in their classrooms in the very near future.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"Almost 90% of K-12 IT leaders participating in a survey said they expect at least 50% of instructional materials to be digital in the next three years, according to the Consortium for School Networking. Eleven percent of respondents said their districts still ban digital devices."
Educators know parents can influence how students perform in school. Yet parents often lament about how little they know about what their kids are actually doing in class. In recent years, many entrepreneurs have developed apps that aim to help open this black box for parents. ClassDojo and Remin
Mel Riddile's insight:
Available on mobile devices and web browsers, Bloomz allows teachers to send direct messages and share photos from a class activity or field trip. The tool also aims to help teachers organize and manage parent volunteers for extracurricular activities, and schedule parent-teacher conferences.
The finding that should concern educators, policymakers, employers, parents and students alike is that fewer than half of either girls or boys met proficiency levels on the test, administered to about 21,500 eighth-graders at 840 public and private schools across the country.
Equally, if not more disconcerting, is that the TEL exam results indicate a significant racial achievement gap. White and Asian students averaged 160 points out of a possible 300, Black and Hispanic students averaged scores of 128 and 138, respectively.
Too often, teachers are expected to develop methods of determining final averages that are often an isolated experience of reviewing a grade book, tests and other means of points gathering like class participation, homework and project completion. If a student who has already achieved mastery doesn't see the value in homework, a zero is added to their homework score, drastically reducing the average and blurring the actual communication of mastery learning.
Virginia, the state that leads the nation in the school-to-prison pipeline, also disproportionately suspends African-American male students and those with disabilities from school for issues as minor as a sarcastic tone, a cell phone, or too many unexcused absences.
"Suspended Progress," a report released today by the Legal Aid Justice Center, says that the fix would be for school administrators to shift away from so-called zero tolerance policies, which often mandate punishment for even slight infractions, in favor of working with families and installing more preventive and supportive discipline.
However, decades from now, ESSA may be remembered best as the catalyst that sparked a movement to shift away from the well-established SAT and ACT college admissions tests—the two standardized assessments that have dominated the educational landscape for decades.
Students born into poverty enter kindergarten at a disadvantage to more affluent peers. As they advance through the grades, they receive lower test scores. They’re more likely to drop out and less likely to enter higher education.
The all-too-familiar cycle, in some ways, is getting worse, according to data in a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics
Teachers approaching their summative evaluations with a growth mindset will bridge the divide and diminish the adversarial relationship with the administrator, who is on their side.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"It doesn't matter how many times I've done this before, but when I get that email from my administrator to discuss the summative evaluation, I become a bit nervous. Even though I've been on both sides of the table in the summative interviews, it's still an anxious experience.
Well, I propose that it doesn't have to be agonizing if we approach it with an attitude of change."
Declining attention span as a result of increasing use of smartphones and social media are just a few challenges teachers deal with in the modern classroom.
Children today deal with more stimuli around them than ever before. Mobile phones, tablets,and other technology have become so intertwined with our children’s daily lives that it’s hard to imagine keeping it out of the classroom. Even though some believe these can be distractions, embracing technology can make learning more fun and impactful.
Children come into school with differences in background knowledge, confidence, ability to stay on task and, in the case of math, quickness. In school, those advantages can get multiplied rather than evened out. One reason, says Mighton, is that teaching methods are not aligned with what cognitive science tells us about the brain and how learning happens.
In one of the many experiments cited in Paul Tough's new book, Helping Children Succeed, a group of middle school students received this message on a Post-it note, attached to a paper their teachers were handing back.
The message of support and high expectations had a small positive effect on white students.
I interview journalist Paul Tough about his new book, "Helping Children Succeed: What Works And Why."
Mel Riddile's insight:
The conclusion I draw from recent research in neuroscience and psychology is that children's non-cognitive capacities are mostly the product of their environments, both in school and at home. In the book I describe research that shows, for instance, that very stressful home environments make it less likely that children, as they grow, will develop the capacity to persevere at long-term goals, to focus for long periods on complex tasks, or to bounce back from disappointments and setbacks.
I think something similar happens in classrooms, where children's motivation and their tendency to persevere are strongly influenced by the messages they receive from their teachers and from the school as a whole. Those messages are sometimes conveyed explicitly by teachers, in the way they talk to students about their work and their behavior and their ability. But they are also conveyed implicitly, through the assignments teachers give students, the homework they assign, and the way students are assessed and disciplined.
The research suggests that educators should work to convey to their students two big ideas: first, a sense of connection and relatedness - a sense that students "belong in this academic community," as the researcher Camille Farrington puts it; and second, a sense of growth and potential, by giving them work that is challenging, rigorous, and meaningful, and by helping them recognize that they are getting better at it, even as they struggle through moments of frustration and failure.
I started interviewing these high achievers in business, but also in sports; any high achiever that I could lay my hands on through connections of my advisor or myself. And two themes emerged from the conversations. One was “Wow, the people who are successful are relentlessly dedicated to what they do.” They have a kind of endurance in their effort; they do not get disappointed for long. It is not that they do not get disappointed, but they get back up again, and they are tirelessly working to get better. Perseverance. But there is also stamina in their interest: they are just never bored with what they do. They find it interesting and meaningful, and so they do not switch course a lot. They do not work hard at different things. They work hard at one thing.
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