Nicole M. Dimich

Nicole M. Dimich works with elementary and secondary educators in presentations, trainings, and consultations that address today’s most critical issues all in the spirit of facilitating improved support of student learning.

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Helping students to become global digital citizens

Growing Tomorrow’s Citizens in Today’s Classroom: Assessing 7 Critical Competencies

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment

[VIDEO]  Based on Growing Tomorrow’s Citizens in Today’s Classrooms

Being able to recall the states and capitals, solve routine problems, identify causes of various wars, or name and describe characters in a novel used to be enough—learning content and developing basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills used to be the end goal. Collaboration, critical thinking, communication, self-regulation, and other critical competencies, or 21st century skills, were often the means by which students learned content deemed necessary. Students would collaborate to analyze a character in a novel, talk about the evidence in the text to support their thinking, and then be assessed on identifying and describing characters from the discussion; this is no longer sufficient. Read more


Assessment in Action: Lessons from Learning to Snowmobile

Categories: Assessment

It was a warm winter day. Snow was falling and my 8-year-old was ready to ride the youth snowmobile. I was determined that he was going to learn to do this. While Chase loves to “drive,” he is more concerned with everything around him than the road right in front of him. He watched his older brother jump on and thought that he should be able to ride as fast as he does.

It became clear very quickly that jumping on with loose supervision was not going to be enough. After running into the car, running over the landscape (although covered in snow), it took two of us to form a barricade, wave our hands, and teach him to slowly press the gas. With multiple attempts, he got it. However, it was not without a major re-assessment of strategy (and a few minor dents in a car and some trampled plants).

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How should we distribute our resources?

Moving from Quantities to Qualities: Standards-Based Learning and Reporting

Categories: Assessment

In an effort to communicate more clearly, educators all over are exploring ways to provide feedback and report achievement. The move to being standards-based is intended to create a culture focused on learning, where students receive more specific information about what they understand and what they need to learn more about. We report to communicate achievement and work habits at school. This is the kind of information that has great potential to help students make deeper connections to what they are learning and increase the rigor of their school experience.

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Dance steps: Assess, Teach, Learn

Beyond “Great Job”: Descriptive Feedback That Inspires & Requires Action

Categories: Assessment

Maya is in second grade. On Wednesday of each week, students in her classroom receive an object. With this object, they are asked to create something and write about it using details. They bring the “imagination creation” and description back to school on Friday to share it with their peers. Maya brings her writing home on Monday and most often the feedback provided is “great job.” After doing these imagination creations for about two months, I looked more closely and was struck by a few things in Maya’s writing. First, her spacing was getting progressively worse. She was putting spaces in the middle of words, connecting words that shouldn’t be connected, and tossing capital letters in the middle of words. As a former English teacher and her mother, I decided to ask her about it. The conversation went something like this:

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Using the microscope of assessment to evaluate students

Using Assessment to See Possibility

Categories: Assessment

He sat in the back, slumped deeply in his chair. His hat was pulled low over his eyes—a signal he was not having a good day. The teacher at the front of the room asked the students to engage in a warm-up activity.

I was in this classroom as an instructional coach helping out for the day. The algebra teacher of this classroom of students was out on maternity leave, and a substitute walked these learners through the lesson. This particular class was a double-blocked algebra course, and some of the students were not excited about the idea of being there to engage in a subject where they had not been incredibly successful in the past.

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