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Essential resources from Katie White

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Q&A with Katie White

What inspires or drives your work?

My work in schools and districts continues to reinforce my belief that education is fundamentally about the relationship between teachers and students. These relationships support the intellectual development of learners while, at the same time, nurturing their social, emotional, and physical needs. My work is driven by the idea of designing and sustaining school landscapes where teachers are empowered to make the best decisions on behalf of their very capable learners.

What makes Softening the Edges unique?

Softening the Edges explores assessment through the lens of student investment and teacher empowerment. It proposes assessment strategies and approaches in all areas of assessment: pre-assessment, formative assessment, self-assessment, summative assessment, and reporting.

In the book, I identify specific ways the edges can become hard in our assessment practices and give practical solutions for softening the edges that teachers can implement immediately. Discussions about assessment rarely begin with the student, but this book starts with the students and works its way out to the teacher, the students’ families, and then stakeholders.

What challenges will this book help educators overcome?

This book will help educators overcome the pressure they feel when making assessment decisions. It offers practical ways to align the scientific work of unpacking standards, identifying learning targets, and designing and interpreting assessment information with the art of assessment that addresses our most human qualities.

I offer clear examples of how to design learning continuums that identify the targets within learning goals from a student perspective. Also, each chapter contains reflective questions that explore both teacher and student relationships with assessment and guide shifts in assessment practices to invite student investment and teacher efficacy.

What is the focus of your book, Unlocked?

Unlocked: Assessment as the Key to Everyday Creativity in the Classroom explores two important big ideas. First, it explores the importance of investing time in creative processes in every classroom at every grade level. Second, it discusses the creative cycle and explores specific assessment strategies that move students from one creative stage to the next, ensuring they deepen their thinking, take risks, and explore their own learning strengths and needs.


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Understanding the Hard and Soft Edges in Assessments with Students by Katie White