Monday, December 8, 2008

Talk About Assessment

Keynote with Damian Cooper

Talk About Assessment: Strategies and Tools to Improve Learning




Below are my notes from a session with Damian Cooper.  He is an excellent, high-energy presenter.

Big goals of the session:

  • Assessment needs to be good for students.  Should not be biased for language, gender…etc.  Assessment should be flexible.
  • Assessment needs to be manageable for teachers.  Must be efficient and effective.  Note: we must hold students accountable to hand in quality work.
What has changed with students?
  • They can access the content in many ways but they lack the wisdom , we need to teach the skills.
"Expecting Excellence" and "Success" are the titles of most of the educational journals.  Our job as teachers is to ensure that all our students are successful.  We need to get all our students across the finish line.
Differentiation is what is we are about.  Myths are that there are no standards.  With a criterion referenced model we hold the standards constant and
Use Backwards design - what is essential for students to understand by the end of this unit?
The big ideas of classroom assessment
  1. Assessment serves different purposes at different times
  2. Assessment must be planned and purposeful
  3. Assessment must be balanced and flexible
  4. Assessment and instruction are inseparable because effective assessment informs learning.
  5. For assessment to be helpful to students, it must inform them in words so they know what they need to do in order to improve.
  6. Assessment is a collaborative process that involves self, peer and teacher.
  7. Performance standards are essential.
  8. Grading and reporting is a sensitive and caring process by a teaching professional
Differentiating Instruction & Assessment.  Here is a great reminder of what we know but forget as we get busy lesson/unit planning.
  • Instruction
  • Students bring different knowledge & experience to school
  • Students learn at different rates
  • Students learn in different ways
  • Assessment
  • Not all students are able to demonstrate their learning in the same way
  • Not all students respond the same way to test pressure
  • Some students need more scaffolding than others
Views on homework
  • It is an important skill for students to life beyond school but should not be for marks and should not be testing the math skills of parents.  It should be for practice.
What are we already doing in assessment for learning?
  • Do I include ALL students in the questioning?
  • Do I provide individual feedback to promote improvement?
  • Do I provide opportunities for students to use the feedback for improvement?
During the session we had a number of times where we discussed the ideas presented to us.  Damian also shared some video clips from classrooms modeling these strategies.  This DVD is included with the purchase of his book (see above).


In summary, if you get an opportunity to work with Damian Cooper, I would highly recommend him as a presenter.


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