“Once you learn, you never forget.” We have all heard that statement as it relates to riding a bicycle, and any of us who has ever taught a child to ride a bike know that for most children, this learning process requires time, patience, and perseverance. Riding a bike isn’t easy. Children are required to transfer their learning of a number of different skills (pedaling, balancing, steering, turning, and stopping, for example) and eventually put these distinct skills together to be a successful bike rider. For those of us in a position to provide the support and guidance, we find ourselves constantly providing feedback, with the ultimate goal of helping the child learn how to ride a bike safely and successfully, recognizing that they had to start somewhere. Read more
In many classrooms, assessment is still an event. It might be an end-of-unit event, a benchmark event, or a “because it’s Friday” event. Whatever the assessment reason, inviting a more formative approach gives opportunities for frequent feedback in a couple of different ways.
- It shows the learner how well they are progressing toward a particular target, skill, or standard.
- It shows the learner which strategies work best for the learner to reach their targets.
In The Quest For Learning: How To Maximize Student Engagement (2017), we propose a simplified descriptive rubric to help teachers manage formative feedback, both at the beginning of a learning scenario and throughout it. Read more
Teaching can be exhausting. You work hard to create meaningful lessons, assessments, and interventions. You manage students in class with varying learning needs, behavior needs, and experiences. You grade papers and answer emails and phone calls. You participate in parent-student conferences, IEP meetings, and serve on committees or leadership teams. You manage duties on campus and fill out report cards. And all with little fanfare for the effort.
And, on top of everything, the hard work can be made more frustrating when high-stakes assessments show consistently poor student performance or little student growth. What is a teacher or school to do? Read more
More than 15 years ago, I was a middle school principal trying to help my staff implement the four critical questions of a PLC. We purchased a technology tool that was intended to make the common formative assessment process easier for teachers. As principals sometimes do, I thought it was a great idea! Unfortunately, as we got more sophisticated with our own assessment work, the tool shortly lost its glamour because it couldn’t do many of the things we wanted it to. So, I’ve been really excited to see how far we’ve come in those 15 years. Read more
Most states have improved graduation rates over time, but as one superintendent told this author, “We know how to increase graduation rates; we just don’t know how to educate them before they graduate!” So, what can educators do to increase the number of graduates who are actually ready for college or careers? Read more