Associate Katie White writes about the usage of the word "Ability" in the classroom.

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Ability: What’s in a Word?

Categories: Assessment

Based on Unlocked: Assessment as the Key to Everyday Creativity in the Classroom

Lately, I have found myself becoming increasingly antagonistic toward the word “ability.” I hear it used almost daily in my work with assessment and learning in a variety of educational settings, but rarely do I hear it used without experiencing a flash of frustration.

Because I am not usually prone to this kind of negative response to a commonly accepted term, I have decided to “unpack” the word and why its use in an educational context bothers me.

When I examined the literal definition of the word, I found nothing that immediately explained my questionable response: Read more

Differentiation and the Elementary School Classroom

Differentiation and the Elementary School Classroom

Categories: Assessment, Authors

Based on Teaching With the Instructional Cha-Chas: 4 Steps to Make Learning Stick

In a nutshell, differentiated instruction is meeting the unique and diverse needs of your students so they are successful in reaching the standards. It’s a concept based on a mindset that all students can improve their skills and understanding to achieve the daily learning target and eventually the standard—it just might take more time, different tools, and/or more teacher support.

Students may not arrive at those goals on the same day or in the same way. Teachers evaluate the data to determine what to do next and then respond with powerful feedback and by differentiating the instruction. Read more

How to Assess a Lesson Plan

How to Assess a Lesson Plan

Categories: Assessment

Based on Instructional Planning for Effective Teaching

All teachers engage in certain levels of strategic and tactical planning. These terms may seem to belong to the business field, but they are indispensable for effective instruction. If strategic planning involves instructional planning for broader long-term learning goals, for instance semester-end or year-end goals, then tactical planning involves using specific resources to achieve short-term subgoals, often in the form of lesson plans. Read more

Assessment Growth

Embrace a Growth Mindset About Assessment Practices

Categories: Assessment

As someone who coaches schools in the design and use of assessment to support student learning, I’ve observed the gamut of implementation. Some teams are hesitant to move forward with the process of changing their assessment practices, barely dipping their toes in the water, for fear of making a wrong move. Other teams comply with the expectation to give specific assessments but aren’t using the data that comes from them because they’re unsure how to proceed. Yet there are many teams who, even though the practices are new and potentially challenging, dive into the process with a sense of commitment and confidence. Read more

How to differentiate assessment

Differentiating Assessment

Categories: Assessment

Teaching is a human endeavor, and it requires the complex planning inherent in any successful human relationship. It is critical that teachers feel free to structure classroom experiences and environments that address the specific needs of the learners they serve. One process that benefits from this kind of freedom and flexibility is assessment. While assessment is often viewed as rigid, it can, in fact, be differentiated. Read more