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Assessment for Learning

Rationale for Content

Community of Learners

What is the purpose for creating a community of learners?  We live. I live. You live. We need each other. Sounds simple, doesn't it? And yet, what better gift could we give to our students than to learn the resources and processes of learning? What is most important to teach our students? How to learn. And how do we learn? From others. Learning is social.

When choosing a strategy or tool, choose those with power for bringing people together for learning and sharing.


Google Apps and Wikis: Share projects, due dates, presentations, bookmarks, give feedback; collaborate to create a book, report, experiment, share your portfolio
Blog: Share and comment on ideas; answer lesson questions
Padlet: share ideas and answers
PollEverywhere: Watch the data change; see the idea choices

In each of these lies the opportunity for teaching and reflection on not only the content, but also the digital footprint and citizenship of participants. The process of building a project, choosing ideas, and reflecting on possible improvements is a lifelong skill. The art of debate to prove a point in a civil manner is imperative for success.

Ask: How is our community learning?

Is everyone participating, growing, and civil?
How does what we share show our progress?
In what ways do we share?
How is what we're doing help us learn?
What else could we do better?
How do we help those who are learning?
How do we help those who aren't learning?
What else would help build our community of learners?

Assessment for Learning

How do we learn? By doing. By remembering. By conversing. By reviewing. By doing (again).

The tools and strategies suggested provide teachers and students the opportunity to learn in chunks, to reflect on ideas and vocabulary, to ask questions, to clarify, and to apply the concepts learned.  Use the tools to chunk lessons: teach, assess, decide. Don't wait until the student is lost -- use the tools that provide continuous feedback for the teacher and offer feedback to the students -- and choose activities that allow feedback to each other.

Ask: Are we learning?
What is the goal? Is each student getting there?
How do we know? (Chunk learning with tools for feedback)
What is next? (reteach or extend)
What else would improve student learning?

Choose a tool and strategy that provides more information, adds practice, or extends the concepts.

Examples from Community Building Platforms

Google Apps: Submit work. Revise it. Receive feedback from peers and teacher. Revise. Review.   Portfolios in blogs or sites.

Documents: Simultaneous editing for collaboration with live commenting on the side. Review history: who wrote what.
Presentations: Think out of the box, not powerpoint. Make it a diary of learning; share with peer or teacher and live chat on the ideas.
Spreadsheets: So many new updates for creating graphs, etc.
Google User Group    Google Lessons
Google Search: Use advanced search to find info at student reading levels  Video

Wikis: Submit work. Revise it. Receive feedback from peers and teacher. Revise. Review.

Create project.
Students draft, receive feedback (in comments from teacher and peers), revise.
Students develop portfolio of work.
Create a debate on content topics. Use comment or discussion area for debate, depending on which wiki used.

Blog: Share and comment on ideas; answer lesson questions

Teacher blog: Explain concepts; students respond in comments
Teacher blog: Create a debate on content topics. Use comment area for debate.
Student blog: Students explain concepts; peers and teacher (and other students) respond in comments
Student Portfolio: Student reflects on learning; documents progress and links to work

Padlet and Answer Garden

Instant feedback on student understanding based on question asked


Watch the data change; see the idea choices -- instant feedback on understanding

Make Beliefs and ToonDoo and BitStrips for Schools

Depth of student understanding revealed in concise image and text.
Share and discuss in class to further extend understanding and add to the community.

Consider that the revised Bloom's Taxonomy places "Create" at the top. We create to share. For a wonderful overview of teaching, assessment, and technology, see Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach  ecourse video: Tech's Role in Learning. If we can create something with our knowledge, we demonstrate our understanding. Getting to that creation requires guidance with teachers who continuously assess for learning within the learning process. Anne Davies explains in her chart:

Choose activities that frequently show how students are understanding and improving their concept learning to provide the feedback so students can synthesize and create a product which is accurate and valuable. Once it's created, then what? Share. Imagine the motivation to learn when students not only have a product but also an audience? Again, we return to the social aspect of learning. Design learning units for real purposes with real audiences with formative assessment guiding the process.

Also: See Development of Language (next section); Use the same process for content knowledge as for vocabulary. Think:

The Questions for Learning:
What is the goal?
Is each student getting there?
How do we know? (Chunk learning with tools for feedback)
What is next? (reteach or extend)
What else would improve student learning?

The Six Es of Empowerment:
Envision: What should be achieved?
Engage:  Are students aware?
Explore: Is student knowledge awakening?
Explain: Can students annotate?
Elaborate: Can students apply?
Evaluate: Did students achieve? Are they aware?

The R-STAR of Process:
Reflect: Evaluate and Envision
See -- Engage and Explore
Talk -- Explain
Apply- Elaborate
Reflect -- Evaluate and Envision

What else?

Development of Language

By creating a series of vocabulary activities within the lesson cycle, teachers can continuously monitor and adjust lessons for the class and for individuals, offering alternative activities and strategies with feedback.

Planning Awarness
Concept: What words explain the concepts?  Wordsift
Content: What content words appear in the text?
Clarify: What words are most important to study?
Cut: What words could be eliminated?
Construct (teacher): What words, definitions, and examples must be included?

Implementation and Awakening:
Converse: Did I awaken the schema through conversation in the current lesson before new lesson words? (Example: Trees  Flickr Math World    Flickr Math Groups  Flickr Math in the Real World  )  How do I know?
Construct (student): Did the students choose words  from this text to learn (from teacher list and their own based on a large list from the concept, content, clarify list created by teacher)?  Will they keep a notebook, folder, or online spreadsheet ready to upload to a flashcardexchange Learner's Dictionary
Communicate: Did I provide feedback to student conversations and work to deepen understanding?  Padlet    SpellingCity

Application and Creation:
Create: Are students able to create their own scenarios and descriptions with the appropriate use of the vocabulary?
Converse: Did we share and discuss to reflect and review the creative and representative vocabulary projects? What else could we do to learn our content?
ToonDoo MakeBeliefs   BitStrips for Schools   flashcardexchange   Padlet    SpellingCity


Assessment For Learning by Anne Davies: http://annedavies.com/assessment_for_learning_tr_tjb.html