First, the authors who joined us really brought their expertise and shared it well. Kim Bailey and Chris Jakicic made me pine for a copy of their soon-to-be released book with the tips and advice that they shared about Common Formative Assessments. I plan to bring some of their ideas to my Professional Learning Team this week. For me, the highlight was when Chris shared this nugget:
“Kim and I suggest that teams try to keep their common formative assessments short and frequent. We suggest 20 minutes or less for the assessment and weekly to every three weeks in terms of frequency. Assess only the high leverage learning targets from the essential standards. When teams focus their assessments in this way, they are able to make their corrective instruction much more focused and effective.”
Wow, huh? My team focuses so much on fitting a quarter’s worth of content onto one multiple-choice assessment that we never considered how much more effective smaller, more frequent formative assessments can be (not to mention, easier for a teacher to provide feedback).
In another discussion thread, that included lots of authors and educators alike, the subject of motivating students and assessment retakes was tackled. Tons of great ideas were offered up, some more practical than others due to their reliance on school-wide infrastructure. District administrator, Matt, said it best, I think:
“Fatigue will quickly set in as teachers spend every waking moment before/after school helping students. It needs to be a collective effort at the building level.”
There were many more of these memorable moments in the Voicethread conversation. I loved when Erica, a middle school ELA teacher, expressed her minor epiphany at the idea of assessment as a form of coaching for procedural skills like math and writing. I enjoyed hearing Dylan William describe the importance of “decision-based data collection” that determines the type of data to collect after you know what you need it for.
While the number of actively commenting folks on this Voicethread was pretty high, it is also encouraging to know that the Voicethread was viewed over 100 times. That’s a lot of future commenters.
Commenting is now closed on this conversation, but keep in mind that it will remain available to view on the Voicethread site for a long time. I know that I will return to it when I need a refresher on where my own assessment strategies should be going.
What was your favorite moment?