Cassandra Erkens

Cassandra Erkens is a presenter, facilitator, coach, trainer of trainers, keynote speaker, author, and above all, a teacher. She presents nationally and internationally on assessment, instruction, school improvement, and professional learning communities.

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Deciding how to group

Groupings for Collaborative Learning

Categories: Assessment

Collaboration is critical to everyone’s success – especially learners in the classroom. In the early days of exploring brain research implications for the classroom, Pat Wolff was adamant that the speaker is always the learner (Wolff, 2010). Doug Fisher suggests that the Common Core speaking and listening standards are so critical to a learner’s success that every discipline and every state should consider employing them because they help learners ‘consolidate’ their learning (Fisher, April 13, 2015).

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LEARNS

Make Sure Every Student LEARNS

Categories: Assessment

Feedback is one of the most powerful instructional intervention tools a teacher has at his/her disposal. Its primary purpose is to reduce the discrepancy between where a learner is relative to where the learner is supposed to be (Chappuis, 2014). But feedback isn’t always employed in effective ways. Kluger and De Nisi (1996) found that feedback, as it is traditionally offered, has less than a 50% chance of creating a productive response on behalf of the learners. Hattie and Timperley (2007) added that if feedback is to be supportive of learning, there is so much more to be considered than simply addressing the most popular criteria of being timely and specific.

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Snow Sharks

Snow Sharks

Categories: Assessment

Recently, while working at an event with a team, my colleague Tim Brown showed hundreds of educators a cartoon in which a little boy had created a snowman and surrounded it with snow sharks. Tim asked the audience to consider the snow sharks we’ve built in education – those times, processes, and places in which our own handiwork attacks or places barriers before our primary goals. I walked away considering the snow sharks we’ve created specifically in our assessment systems. I think we have a few:

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Move or Stay?

To Move or Not to Move: That Is the Question

Categories: Assessment

Learning is a deeply personal endeavor. Teaching teams that strive to assure learning happens for all of their learners adopt the absolute that learning is required, but when it comes to making decisions about whether to advance to new or more complex learning, there are no absolutes—no one-size-fits-all strategy, no unrelenting policy, no surefire algorithm, and so on. Context matters. People matter.

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