Friday, April 1, 2011

Amy Park and Candace Saar Presentation on Assessment for Engaged Learning

What is the purpose of assessment in schools?
-feedback for students and their parents
-feedback for the teacher to reflect on practice
-it should all be formative assessment, except for the mark that has to go on the report card
-formative is usually informal, via conversation with the student
-it's the feedback that's useful for the learner, leads to growth
-analogous with coaching

John Hattie (New Zealand) and meta-analysis. What kinds of interventions have the biggest impact in improving student achievement? A: Feedback. Smaller class sizes only improved achievement slightly. Feedback had significant results (i.e. >0.4). It is the most powerful way to improve learning!

How do you teach children how to give eachother descriptive, helpful feedback?

Renaissance Project:
Based on watching the final product, what do the kids know?
-Technologies exist that are more analogue. While we have GPS, we don't "need" it.
-Things do not need to be digital to be considered technology
-vocabulary used is impressive
-geographical thinking
-language arts proficiency: organization, vocabulary
-argument for their perspective: persuasive language
-technology use, eg. timing for images, voice, and music
-deliberate choices in music, images, tone of voice, language

Rubric Building:
"Good job" is not enough information! (This reminds me of one of my favourite articles ever written: Five Reasons to stop saying 'good job' by Alfie Kohn)
A great discussion on breaking down the tasks into smaller, meaningful tasks. This is something that requires great skill from a teacher. Maybe this is one of the things that differs a teacher with pedagogical skill to a tutor?

(image source)

Wow! Amy Park is Super Teacher! Class blog, parent workshops on technology/meaningful feedback/guided reading, class website = the transparent classroom. Passing on this knowledge of pedagogical skill to parents is an investment for a teacher! Amy sends rubrics home for parents to identify areas of strengths for their children. Rubrics are to be used throughout a project, about once a week, to help students continue to improve.
Teach students to ask themselves: is that a helpful comment or a hurtful one? when giving peer feedback. Is it fair to have students investing their time and effort into a task without continuous feedback? How do you justify giving them a bad grade...or any grade at all?
When using student and teacher collaboratively designed rubrics, they get to use their language. Comments are specific and supportive of how much work students are putting in. I am wondering, does the rubric ever change over the course of the project? For example, if a group takes the project a step further and that is not covered anywhere on the rubric, will a place be created for it? I love the idea for Kindergarten about having student's faces printed off with velcro on the back so they can self-assess how invested they were that day on a continuum. Baby steps toward rubric building and self-assessment. I wonder if they could start the day with a goal and then assess where to go from there.

I'm intrigued by the idea of having group members with specific roles. After all, this is what happens in the real world. I'm thinking about lessons/projects I've done in my practicum placements and reflecting on how much better they would be with this aspect.

What a fantastic presentation today. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling slightly overwhelmed but I think that's a good thing. If you do not look at teaching as an overwhelming, complex task, are you being realistic?

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