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.
The news that multitasking is bad isn't even news anymore. In recent years, people have begun to recognize what psychologists have known for decades: If you try to do two things at the same time, you'll likely get worse at both of them.
Multitasking taxes working memory by requiring you to hold in mind information about two or more distinct tasks simultaneously. But even for those who've fully embraced "monotasking," there may be something that still doesn't quite compute. No matter how good your performance when you focus on a single task, you also do multiple things at once all the time, often pretty effectively. You may even have the lurking suspicion that there are some things you can keep on multitasking at, without paying much of a price in terms of outcome.
The more people rely on technology, the more important digital citizenship becomes. In the early days, it was like the Wild West where there were no rules and people fended for themselves as best they could. With the rise of the Internet, a digital society began to form, bringing with it a slew of social norms and etiquettes. Many of the behaviors of people in the early days are no longer considered acceptable, but it is not something your students will innately know, especially if they have become accustomed to that sort of behavior. As a teacher, you can begin to instruct students on how to be careful and respectful so that they can enjoy all of the amazing possibilities of the digital age.
In Part I of this piece, we discussed three ways that you can teach digital citizenship to your students. In this Part II, we will discuss the final two. Without further ado, here we go.
I much prefer that the students’ brains are working at least as hard as mine. To that end, I have found great success using the Concept Attainment strategy.
Concept Attainment is a form of structured inquiry based upon the research of psychologist Jerome Bruner. In a nutshell, Concept Attainment is when students must determine common attributes within a group of examples provided by the teacher.
High school students are willing to ignore educational opportunities when they're concerned about how they'll be viewed by their classmates, according to a new study by researchers from three universities. "Cool To Be Smart or Smart To Be Cool? Understanding Peer Pressure in Education" was a project undertaken by researchers at the Universities of Chicago and Pennsylvania and Northwestern University and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The project extended work published in 2015 that found that pick up of a free SAT preparation course and effort used to practice for a high school exit exam by students are influenced by how observable those activities are by their peers.
WASHINGTON — Americans with no more than a high school degree have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record.
The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they — and their children — are losing economic ground.
College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973.
Most of us not gifted with an Einstein-sized brain or extreme self confidence have sometimes wondered: am I really smart enough to achieve my dreams? Some of us have even turned down an offer or not pursued an opportunity because we're afraid we simply don't have the mental horsepower to succeed.
That's a shame, fascinating new science conducted by Nobel laureate John Heckman and colleagues suggests, because IQ has pretty much nothing to do with success.
Personality trumps smarts. To come to that conclusion the researchers combed through data on IQ scores, standardized test results, grades, and personality assessments for thousands of people in Britain, America, and the Netherlands, according to BloombergView's Faye Flam (hat tip to Science of Us for the pointer). They then calculated how closely each of these factors predicted future earnings.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"Grades were a bit better at pointing to future high earners, but not, the researchers suspect, because of what that A in chemistry says about your brain's innate capacities. Instead, the team concluded that character traits such as conscientiousness (in essence, the fact that you got out your periodic table and studied) and openness (that you were curious about chemistry in the first place) are far more predictive of life outcomes.
"The study found that grades and achievement-test results were markedly better predictors of adult success than raw IQ scores," reports Flam. Why? "Grades reflect not just intelligence but also what Heckman calls 'non-cognitive skills,' such as perseverance, good study habits and the ability to collaborate -- in other words, conscientiousness. To a lesser extent, the same is true of test scores."
Imagine giving your employees a real say in how your organization is run. Think about it: They show up to work, voice their opinions, express their concerns, toss around their ideas, and...get this--management says "you're right."
If that sounds like a scene from a badly scripted movie, think again. Giving employees "voice" has long been recognized as a key driver of leadership trust and organizational effectiveness.
"School Leadership Interventions Under the Every Student Succeeds Act: Evidence Review", a Rand Corporation report included these five findings regarding school leadership:
School leadership can be a powerful driver of improved education outcomes. Activities designed to improve school leadership demonstrate positive impact on student, teacher, and principal outcomes, based on research that is consistent with ESSA evidence tiers. ESSA expands opportunities for states and districts to use federal funding for initiatives that strive to improve the quality of school leaders. ESSA's evidence tiers provide a framework for using evidence in school leadership policy and practice. ESSA's framework with tiers of evidence, coupled with the U.S. Department of Education's non-regulatory guidance, strongly emphasizes the use of evidence in setting direction for improving school leadership and prioritizes more-rigorous evidence.
U.S. high school graduation rates are soaring. President Obama announced in October that the 2014-2015 rate was up to 83 percent in a fifth straight record-setting year. The D.C. public schools’ increase was the greatest anywhere, from 53 percent to 69 percent.
Sadly, as impressive as these numbers seem, there is no research indicating they reveal any learning gains in our high schools. Because of an accelerating use of a shortcut to graduation called credit recovery — used by 88 percent of school districts — most if not all of this much-publicized high school improvement might be an illusion.
I’ve read the word ‘Millennial’ so many times in articles, branding and advertising over the last few months, that I can just about muster up the strength to type the word myself. Like it or loathe it, they’re topical for a reason, because by 2025, 3 out of 4 workers globally will be Millennials.
Whilst it’s flattering so many employers are taking an interest in how to engage and work with Millennials, a lot of it seems misdirected and based around loose stereotypes. So, to help those who may have been blind-sighted by the media here’s a ‘Dummie’s guide to Millennials, by a Millennial.’
How can you personally be more strategic as a leader? Consider asking yourself and your team the five questions below to drive clarity, alignment, and strategic insight. The questions build on one another, leading to a well-aligned, strategic perspective. If you make these five questions part of your ongoing dialog, you will inevitably become more strategic and more successful as a team.
“Great lessons are a lot like running the 100-meter dash—a strong start makes all the difference.”
Most educators would agree that – when done well – the opening minutes of class have the potential to ignite a ‘wildfire’ of engagement and effort among our students. But a poor start – one that fails to pique learners’ interest, establish real-world relevance or engage students in authentic, challenging learning tasks – is akin to trying to start a fire with wet matches and kindling.
I’m going to suggest some ways we can blend tech into effective “class starters,” but first a quick look at the research.
3. Teachers want PD they can use right away. Nothing is worse than to require the entire district to take a workshop on a tool or curriculum that is “coming” without any practical application in the now. And nothing is more frustrating than a workshop that tells, talks, and shows with little opportunity to enact, engage or apply what they are learning. However, on the other side, at PLP we find teachers sometimes miss the fact that they are applying their new skills in the activities, collaborations and blended aspects provided during the course. What some want is an “easy button” that will give them a lesson plan or tech tool they can use the next day. Learning that gives the teacher immediate use but not much depth. Change is not easy. Teaching to multiple-choice tests is easy. It’s easy to try out a few web tools and put a check in the box next to change agent. Turning your classroom or school into a place where deep learning occurs and learners’ needs are being met is hard. Educational change is hard because it involves re-culturing and re-examining values and dispositions and letting go of what we are vested in. We have addressed this yin/yang need by offering different types of professional learning. Some of the courses we offer are short, make and take courses designed to teach a practical skill that can be applied immediately. Others are job embedded, year long and coached and taught through the use of learning cycles and design thinking that results in deep, connected learning. One style of PD focuses on self efficacy of the individual teacher, the other focuses on collective efficacy of teams of teachers embedded in schools or districts together.
In leadership, your attitude is your best friend or worst enemy. It’s one of the most contagious characteristics of your leadership style. It will cause people to rally around you and your vision or it will turn them away. The attitude mindset of the leader will be the benchmark for the rest of the organization. You can’t expect the attitude of your people to be good if the one you showcase is bad. Eventually, you will have to change your attitude or your people will change their address. (I wrote about attitude in the workplace here).
What kind of attitude are you projecting? Do you only focus on the negative? Do you only see what your people are doing wrong as opposed to what they do well? How does your attitude inspire, encourage, and motivate your colleagues? Is your attitude worthy of emulating?
Ericsson’s research clarifies the difference between what he calls deliberate practice and other activities that call for repetition. Even though I type every day, my typing is not really practicing, because I’m not purposefully or systematically trying to improve it. Given that I have not formally studied typing, I may even be reinforcing bad technique.
In Ericsson’s formulation, deliberate practice has several components: evaluating what needs improvement, selecting one small aspect of the skill to work on, developing a strategy, and then evaluating the results of the revised performance. And if you plan to become really good, you need to practice: a lot. Exactly how long? That depends on the skill—10,000 hours is the popular author Malcolm Gladwell’s magic number, not Ericsson’s—but plan on years.
Mel Riddile's insight:
"What lessons, then, does the book hold for educators and policymakers? Surely the world’s expert on expertise has something to say about the process of learning math, for example. In one respect, the book is an excellent companion to Carol Dweck’s Mindset. Dweck emphasizes the importance of children believing they can get smarter if they work hard on the right things. Ericsson offers specifics about how they need to work if their efforts are to bear fruit.
And if Dweck doesn’t want you to focus on talent, lest you believe that your innate ability matters more than your concerted action, Ericsson takes this principle a step further, and in fact further than most psychologists would go. Ericsson has little use for talent at all. In his estimation, innate abilities matter only before people have practiced much. The kid with a high IQ will play better chess than the kid with a low IQ, but only because neither knows much about chess. If they both practice, the influence of IQ will disappear, and whoever practices more will be the better player."
High school graduation rates in the nation's capital, he noted, have grown faster than anywhere else in the country, from 53 percent to 69 percent.
But as we've reported over and over again, those numbers are deceiving. While some states are working hard to get kids a diploma, others have lowered their standards or turned to questionable quick fixes.
We've talked to a lot of experts on this. And from those conversations we've pulled seven things they say would improve how the graduation rate is tracked and reported — and that would actually measure student success.
Since last year's passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, state lawmakers have had broad latitude in deciding how—and even whether—they evaluate their teachers. Before the new law, the Obama adminstration had been pushing states to adopt systems that were "in significant part, based on student growth." With their newfound freedom, policymakers spent 2016 rehashing how to rate teachers, often reducing the influence of students' standardized test scores in evaluation systems. Continuing that trend, 2017 is shaping up to be another big year in reforming how teachers are evaluated.
Schools and teachers across the world have embraced Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindset in the hope of helping students to fulfil their potential. Popular strategies include tweaking the way teachers give feedback, encouraging self-reflection through questioning and, crucially, praising processes instead of natural ability.
District administrators in Alabama and Texas are protesting the A-F report cards mandated by their state legislatures in their prior sessions which force the states' education departments to evaluate their schools and school districts with letter grades.
Released data by both states shows perceivably high performing suburban school districts receiving Ds and Fs on this year's report cards that are heavily based on last year's standardized tests.
Proponents say A-F report cards are an easy way for parents to grasp the quality of schools. But opponents say it's oversimplistic and vulnerable to data mishaps.
In Texas, the education department on Friday released a provisional ratings report card that district officials already are calling flawed.
The state's association of school administrators has sent around a petition calling for its repeal and by Wednesday more than 142 local school boards had adopted resolutions opposing the report card.
Consultants at The Ken Blanchard Companies have been recommending short bi-weekly conversations between managers and direct reports for over 20 years. The reason? They work in decreasing intentions to leave a company. In this short video, I share a quick story about the impact regular one-on-ones have on improving employee relationships. Why don’t more managers…
In every workplace, there are three basic kinds of people: givers, takers and matchers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant breaks down these personalities and offers simple strategies to promote a culture of generosity and keep self-serving employees from taking more than their share.
Empowering teachers to lead and learn from other teacher-leaders can improve the learning experience for students.
There’s a growing consensus among students, parents, teachers and education leaders that the current education system isn’t appropriately preparing young people for the future. Many districts are looking toward technology to patch the disconnect, but several recent reports indicate that technology alone cannot fix the ailing system.
High-quality teachers are essential to learning environments that consider each student as a unique, individual learner, but very few schools have good systems in place to support teachers learning together and sharing their expertise.
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