Monday, December 7, 2009

Assessments for Learning

There is nothing new here.

AfL is defined as

‘The process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.’

Quoted from Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles by the Assessment Reform Group 2002

The main point that struck me was really the notion that AfL should be embedded as part of the lesson. It is part of a normal everyday lesson and not something that should be specifically scheduled, like a class test.

The speakers shared a number of strategies for adopting AfL in the classroom. The materials are in hard copy and are with me.
Some quick activities include:

1. Traffic Light cards
- Good for quickly showing understanding
- Not good because you cannot check for misunderstanding. Using the cards gives a false assurance that all your students have understood your instructions.

2. Individual small tabletop whiteboards
- This was used for quick quizzes and as a tool for quick communication with the teacher. I like this idea and can see its merits in the classroom. However, given that we are into 1-to-1 computing, i'm wondering if there is a more "SST" way to do this. That is, my leveraging on ICT tools and the macbooks.

3. WALTs and WILFs
- Suggest that every lesson begins with the WALTs (We Are Learning To....) and the WILFs (What Im Looking For...). This is so that the students are clear about the lesson objectives and it makes it easier to provide feedback.

Other areas they touched on included Good questioning techniques and effective grouping strategies. Good questioning techniques are in line with Bloom's Taxonomy. Grouping strategies illustrated was De Bono's thinking hats although the resource pack has a list of others.

Some of the key principles from this approach, i feel, are already part of the UbD that we are adopting. These include sharing the learning goals with the students, checking for understanding and principles of authentic assessments such as providing feedback.

Softcopy of the presentation slides are also with me.

Good reference source introduced include

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