Why Teachers Make a Difference! V.I.P.s

"The quality of the education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers."

- Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top. London: McKinsey & Co.
Click to view the publication.

What makes a good teacher? In other words, what does effective teaching look like and sound like? Effective teaching is all about being lead learners as reflectors-in-action. In this process of walking the talk as a lead learner, teachers are modelling assessment for learning as lead learners.

Think about what your classroom and school look like when you embrace assessment for learning as core principles of education and learning. And then think about what your classroom and district looks like if you don’t. By participating in the assessment process, teachers, students, and leaders know what to expect on the learning journey and share the path towards learning destinations. You are your students’ primary resource—by excellence. We are committed to maximizing the impact you have every day!

Food For Thought:
A Teacher’s Assessment for Learning Journey
Stephanie Doane, High School Teacher (Maine)

Stephanie reflects on her assessment for learning journey, and what she has learned about integrating assessment into instructional practice, and the impact on both her teaching and her students.

Assessment for Learning Works

An important first step for making classroom assessment work is to understand the difference between assessment and evaluation. The terms assessment of learning and assessment for learning may be used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

Comparing "OF" and "FOR"

Checks what has been learned to date.
Checks learning to decide what to do next.
Is designed for those not directly involved in daily learning and teaching.
Is designed to assist teachers and students.
Is presented in a formal report.
Is used in responding to student work and in conversation.
Usually summarizes information into marks, scores or grades.
Usually detailed, specific, and descriptive feedback in words and in relation to criteria that has been set.
Usually compares the student's learning with either other students or the 'standard' for a grade level.
Usually focused on improvement, compared with the student's 'previous best' and progress toward a standard.
Does not need to involve the student.
Needs to involve the student (the person most able to improve the learning)

How Educators Learn to Make Classroom Assessment Work for Them

There are many ways to start making assessment for learning part of your personal approach to teaching. There are excellent books listed here that introduce the subject and many that take it deeper. There are also learning opportunities, such as seminars, workshops, and conferences, where a qualified guide can lead you towards a successful implementation of classroom assessment practices.

Learning can be self-facilitated by individual schools or districts, using "do-it-yourself" resources available here, which include step-by-step instructions and specialized tools, such as video training segments for groups.

We have found that the learning takes root when it is received over a period of two to three years. Teachers then have opportunities to learn and practice new concepts and debrief their learning with their peers.

What is needed is a shift in thinking and in practice, and this simply does not happen overnight. However, there are things you can do RIGHT NOW which will make a difference for both you and your students. Click the link below to find out how!

Next: Getting Started

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