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.
When it comes to the success of an individual classroom, nothing is more important than the relationship between the teacher and the students. When it comes to the success of an entire school, nothing is more important than the relationship of the adults in the building.
Teachers can learn a lot from asking students to reflect and self-assess against the standards and we do the students and ourselves a disservice by not making it an expectation. Perhaps writing a reflection like this isn't appropriate for every class, maybe a video or voice recording would be better. Know your students and differentiate and scaffold reflections to best suit their individual needs.
I'm deeply troubled by the transformation of teaching from a complex profession requiring nuanced judgment to the performance of certain behaviors that can be ticked off on a checklist. In fact, I (and many others in the academic and policy communities) believe it's time for a major rethinking of how we structure teacher evaluation to ensure that teachers, as professionals, can benefit from numerous opportunities to continually refine their craft.
A new RAND Corporation survey of American teachers provides several key areas where states and school districts can do more to help teachers engage in instruction that will most help students meet sta..
Mel Riddile's insight:
the dominant reading materials English teachers report using for their instruction are leveled readers, which are texts written at students' individual reading levels rather than students' grade level. The Common Core State Standards, in contrast, emphasize use of complex and grade-level texts with all students. Use of leveled readers was especially high among teachers with higher populations of English-language learners — those for whom English is not their first language — in their classrooms and higher numbers of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches.
Decades after "shop class" became known as a lesser alternative for children deemed unfit for college, vocational education is making a comeback in many of the nation's high schools. States such as California, Colorado and Louisiana are looking to rebranded "career pathways" that combine technical training with academics built around an industry theme as a way to get more young people to pursue some post-secondary education — whether it's a certificate from a two-year school or a four-year degree. Supporters of the renaissance hope it will keep students engaged and prepare them for the stable, middle-income jobs employers say they can't fill. "Career and technical education is really the perfect blend of the academic, the technical and the employability skills. Students come out college- and career-ready because they have the skills in all these essential areas," Association for Career and Technical Education Executive Director LeeAnn Wilson said.
The union contends that the system, which would have districts base at least 20 percent of a teacher's score on "student growth measures," violates a state law that requires that educators' evaluations be based exclusively on "observable, job-related behavior."
All the data, all the analysis of the data, all the conclusions based on the data -- all of that starts with the assumption that the students who took the Big Standardized Test actually tried. What if they didn't?
Mel Riddile's insight:
Two decades of experience with high-stakes testing have taught me that only if students are held accountable and receive timely feedback on the results of state tests will they take those tests seriously.
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