PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry)

Grant’s quote highlights the importance of formative assessment.

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Formative assessment compels action – action on the part of the teacher and the learner.

    • Action (teacher): Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path…
    • Action (learner): … we can challenge for ourselves.
    • Action (teacher): They provide us just enough insight
    • Action (learner): …we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world,
    • Action (learner): makes me want to step to the next higher level.
    • Action (teacher and learner):  ask the questions that they want us to answer…
    • Action (teacher and learner): overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome.

Continuing our work on assessment from the September 11 workshop, we will meet today to share assessment practices and to discuss how our assessments are opportunities to learn.

Today’s learning plan, shown below, was collaboratively designed with Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), Kathy Bruyn (@KathyEE96), and Pam Lauer (@PamLauer1). We used the feedback from our last session and our purpose intentions to inform our design.  The purpose of our work today

  • I can describe the difference between formative and summative assessment.
  • I can identify types of formative assessment that are employed by my team and share student work.
  • I can analyze student work to plan for formative assessment next steps.
  • I can contribute to the questions and formative assessment strategies of others to move learning forward.

The mini-lesson uses quotes from our summer reading on the Art of Questioning.

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

Identifying problems as a way to move others takes two long-standing skills and turns them upside down. First, in the past, the best [learners] were adept at accessing information. Today, they must be skilled at curating it— sorting through the massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces. Second, in the past, the best [learners] were skilled at answering questions (in part because they had information their prospects lacked). Today, they must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Teacher-learners have been asked to bring an assessment with student work to show-share-reflect.  In small triangles of feedback, we will share an assessment and discuss the following questions.

    • What was this assessing?
    • What information did you learn about this student-learner?
    • What action(s) did you take based on what you learned?
    • What action(s) did the learner take based on this learning?
    • Is this formative assessment, summative assessment, or both?

My artifact for today’s discussion along with my reflection answering the questions above can be seen in the post Learning from Leveling, Self-Assessment, and Formative Assessment.

I like that the learning plan is interactive. In his keynote talks, Dr. Tim Kanold (@TKanold) challenges us to guarantee that in any lesson at least 65% of the time is spent is small group discourse.  I like that the learning plan has us discussing actual student work.  Let’s focus on the products of our teaching – what the children learned – rather than what we did.

I wonder if we will see assessments that lead learner down a path and offer learners insights to empower and inspire challenges to step to the next higher level.

I wish (and hope) that we will gain new ideas and techniques for assessing learning as well as receive feedback on an assessment.  Will we share practices, add to the learning of others, and gain new insights ourselves?  Will we work toward additional solutions to step to the next level in our ability to design assessment experiences that support, motivate, and lead learning?

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

4 thoughts on “PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry)”

  1. Excellent plan, Jill– I’d love to witness it! Look forward to your postings to learn more about how it went. You have some wonderful teacher-learners working with you, so I am extremely optimistic it will be fabulous!

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