Introduction to Keeping Learning on Track® and the      KLT Teacher Workbook      Welcome      Welcome! This KLT Teacher W...
An Overview of Keeping Learning on Track    Formative Assessment: The Minute-to-Minute, Day-by-Day Kind    The core idea o...
One Big Idea and Five Key Strategies      That brings us to the “One Big Idea.” At the heart of Keeping Learning on Track ...
When we “cross” the three questions of the formative assessment process with all the different players in    a learner’s c...
Generally, teachers do not use all 100 formative assessment techniques. The large number of techniques      reflects the w...
28                                                                                                                 TECHNIQ...
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KLT Teacher Workbook Excerpt

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KLT Teacher Workbook Excerpt

  1. 1. Introduction to Keeping Learning on Track® and the KLT Teacher Workbook Welcome Welcome! This KLT Teacher Workbook is designed for teachers, like you, who will be joining their colleagues in a Teacher Learning Community (TLC) focused on formative assessment. Both the content of formative assessment and the process of Teacher Learning Communities are key components of Keeping Learning on Track. The Teacher Workbook and its accompanying DVD are meant to support you through two, three, or more years of a Teacher Learning Community at your school. As you move through this exciting journey, you will experience professional growth, collegiality with peers, and purposeful changes to your classroom practice. More importantly, your students will be more engaged, take more responsibility for their own learning and that of their peers, and see improvements to their learning. When formative assessment is implemented in such a way that it really does become central to practice, it ensures the focus of the entire classroom environment is on learning, which, in turn, enhances the depth and speed of student achievement. The KLT Teacher Workbook is: • A workbook as you engage in your own initial learning about KLT Foundations, including the One Big Idea, Five Key Strategies, and multiple formative assessment classroom techniques; • A learning guide and log as you meet during Year 1 for sustained, job-embedded learning with your colleagues in a Teacher Learning Community focused on formative assessment; • A guide of individual study materials used between Years 1 and 2 of formative assessment to deepen and refocus your Year 2 KLT professional development and to help you more fully grasp what it means to lead a formative assessment classroom; • A learning guide and log as you continue to meet in Year 2 with your colleagues in a Teacher Learning Community to further deepen your understanding of formative assessment; • An information source of ongoing collegial support as you and your colleagues meet beyond Year 2 for continued growth and learning in your Teacher Learning Community focused on minute-to- minute, day-by-day formative assessment; • A collection of resources you will regularly refer to and use on your journey with colleagues and students toward a broader and deeper understanding and more expert implementation of forma- tive assessment.KLT Teacher Workbook: Introduction© 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved. 1
  2. 2. An Overview of Keeping Learning on Track Formative Assessment: The Minute-to-Minute, Day-by-Day Kind The core idea of Keeping Learning on Track (sometimes referred to as KLT) is to help teachers exploit the power of assessment to significantly improve student learning. When assessment is used to support learning in this way, it is called “assessment for learning;” the information from the assessment is used to “form” the student’s learning. Since formative assessment is most effectively used right in the flow of learning, it is sometimes also called “assessment as learning,” which helps distinguish it from educational assessment’s other major use – assessment of learning. Formative assessment is very popular these days, largely because of strong positive results noted in a widely read research synthesis prepared by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam in 1998. In reviewing 250 studies pertaining to formative assessment strategies like questioning and feedback, Black and Wiliam found that regularly using these strategies in everyday teaching could sharply improve students’ learning. Those results certainly got people’s attention, and there are now several dozen commercial testing pack- ages claiming to be “formative assessments.” The trouble is, formal testing has almost nothing to do with what Black and Wiliam found so promising. Instead of calling for more frequent formal tests, they empha- sized the kinds of informal things that good teachers spend much of their time doing every single day: noticing which students are “getting it,” which students are not, figuring out the reasons why, and then doing something with that information, either right then and there or within the next lesson or so. Ironically, in some schools, this critical part of teaching is under threat, pushed to the side by the pres- sure of delivering vast amounts of material in preparation for the “big test.” In some schools, scripted lessons and strict pacing guides have been introduced in an attempt to keep teaching “on track.” As well- intentioned as such moves might be, forcing teachers into a one-size-fits-all approach incorrectly assumes that every student learns exactly the same way and at exactly the same pace. Such poorly conceived solutions—which leave little room for teachers to informally assess students’ learning as they go or to clear up areas of misunderstanding—often backfire and can even widen achievement gaps. By contrast, Keeping Learning on Track is focused on the kind of informal assessment that is carried out minute-to-minute and day-by-day—woven right into the flow of everyday teaching. When teachers use assessment primarily to support learning, the divide between instruction and assessment becomes blurred. Everything students do, such as conversing in groups, completing seatwork, asking and answering ques- tions, working on projects, handing in homework assignments—even sitting silently and looking bored or confused—is a potential source of evidence about what they do and do not understand. Teachers who consciously use assessment in this manner—to support learning—understand that assess- ment is not a thing or an event (such as a test or a quiz), but an ongoing, cyclical process that is a seam- less part of the classroom routine. Using simple techniques, they quickly extract pointed information about student understanding during commonplace classroom activities. They analyze this information on the spot, and then use it to make instructional decisions that address the understandings and misunderstand- ings the evidence reveals. KLT Teacher Workbook: Introduction © 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved.2
  3. 3. One Big Idea and Five Key Strategies That brings us to the “One Big Idea.” At the heart of Keeping Learning on Track is the governing idea that evidence of student learning is used to adjust instruction to better meet student learning needs. Students and teachers Continuously using evidence of learning To adapt what happens in the classroom While most teachers and school administrators readily agree that this simply describes “good teaching,” for various reasons, many classrooms don’t look like this—at least not on a regular basis. One reason may be that the process is not as simple as it first sounds. Accessing and intervening in students’ thinking is a complex task, particularly as the number of students in a classroom grows. Keeping Learning on Track provides a structured way for teachers to focus on this important task. Driving the approach are three related questions about learning: • Where is the learner right now? • Where is the learner going? • How does the learner get there? In a Keeping Learning on Track classroom, these questions act as recurring stages in a never-ending cycle of inquiry that the teacher keeps in the back of her or his mind, which we call the “formative assessment process.” When KLT principles are thoroughly integrated into classroom practice, the students themselves are familiar with these questions, and routinely ask them of themselves.KLT Teacher Workbook: Introduction© 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. When we “cross” the three questions of the formative assessment process with all the different players in a learner’s classroom experience—the teacher, the learner, and the learner’s peers—we can identify all the ways in which the One Big Idea can be brought to bear in the classroom. This allows us to unpack the One Big Idea of formative assessment into Five Key Strategies: The Five Key Strategies of KLT Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning targets and success criteria Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning Providing feedback that moves learners forward Activating students as the owners of their own learning Activating students as instructional resources for one another Practical Teaching Techniques Like the One Big Idea, the Five Key Strategies represent a set of practices that most educators see as important to good teaching. The Five Key Strategies can also be helpful as categories for teachers to use as they analyze their own teaching practice. But, the Five Key Strategies are still at too large a grain-size for practical classroom use; they don’t quite function as tools that teachers can pick up and make use of in everyday teaching. That’s why, for each strategy, Keeping Learning on Track makes available a wide range of finer-grain, practical teaching techniques that can make that strategy come alive in the classroom. To give an idea of the range and character of the techniques, consider a few examples. Several formative assessment techniques provide routines for getting students to signal their own levels of understanding through red-yellow-green “traffic lights.” Another leads teachers to increase the amount of time they wait silently between asking questions and soliciting responses, so students can think more deeply. Another technique involves giving students time in class to revise their work based on their teacher’s feedback. In yet another, teachers focus on writing questions that deliberately elicit key misconceptions. There are more than 100 formative assessment techniques—all feeding into the One Big Idea of students and teachers continuously using evidence of learning to adapt what happens in the classroom. (The techniques are collected in the KLT Toolkit: Formative Assessment Techniques, a separate booklet and Tab 9 on the DVD) Small changes in the flow of instruction can lead to big All the formative assessment techniques promoted by Keeping changes in student learning Learning on Track are decidedly low-tech and low cost, making them achievable in virtually any school setting. Most are undertaken by individual teachers working in their own classrooms, though some involve teachers working with their colleagues. Most of the techniques do not, in themselves, require extensive changes in practice. Nevertheless, Black and Wiliam’s research shows that these kinds of small changes in the flow of instruction can lead to big changes in student learning. KLT Teacher Workbook: Introduction © 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved.4
  5. 5. Generally, teachers do not use all 100 formative assessment techniques. The large number of techniques reflects the wide diversity of teachers’ classrooms. Bringing any one of the Five Key Strategies to life via a particular set of techniques can vary substantially from grade to grade, subject to subject, and even teacher to teacher. For example, a self-assessment technique that works for middle-grades math teachers may not work for a second-grade writing lesson. Because of student or teacher differences, what works for seventh-grade pre-algebra in one classroom may not even work for the seventh-grade pre-algebra class down the hall. Given this level of variation, we believe teachers need the freedom to choose from a wide range of techniques as well as the scope to customize them to meet the needs of their students, their subject matter, and their teaching styles. Putting It All Together To help teachers connect the dots among the One Big Idea, Five Key Strategies, and the 100-plus tech- niques, KLT developers created the Framework graphic you see here. Read the figure from the top down, starting from the One Big Idea, and working your way down through each of the branching strategies, ultimately arriving at the classroom techniques. Note that the graphic leaves room to list only a few tech- niques for each strategy; the ones listed here are simply examples. Keeping Learning on Track® Track® F Frameworkk One Big Idea Students and teachers continuously using evidence of learning to adapt what happens in the classroom. Five Key Strategies Engineering effective Clarifying, sharing, and Activating students as Clarifying and sharing classroom discussions, Providing feedback Activating students understanding learning instructional learning intentions and questions, and learning that moves learners as the owners of targets and success resources for one criteria for success tasks that elicit evidence forward their own learning criteria. another of learning Many Formative Assessment Techniques • 30 S • 30-Second Sh 30-Second Share d Share • Stop/Slow Signals • ABCD Cards • Find and Correct Errors • Find and Errors • • Think/Pair/Share • Group Discuss •Group Discuss • Exit Tickets • Two Stars and • Two Stars and a Wish • Question Strips • • Carousel Expectations Expectations • Diagnostic Questions • Comment-OnlyMarking •Comment-Only Marking • Traffic Lighting Self • Jigsaw •Jigsaw • Learning Targets •Learning Targets Mastering all the moving parts of Keeping Learning on Track may seem overwhelming—and it would be if teachers were expected to take on all its levels and components at once. But the Keeping Learning on Track approach is to take it slow, with support. Teachers begin by focusing on only one or two strategies at a time. To make formative assessment come alive in their classrooms, they then select a few practical techniques for their chosen strategies and work these into their lessons in ways that make sense for their particular context. During the first year of KLT, teachers develop more skill with each of the Five Key Strategies in just this way—that is, by taking it a technique at a time. This slow-and-steady approach leads to the kinds of improvements in student learning that Black and Wiliam found.KLT Teacher Workbook: Introduction© 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved. 5
  6. 6. 28 TECHNIQUE DESCRIPTION IMPLEMENTATION NOTES Students evaluate their own work or understanding It is very important that students NOT provide grades of against a set of shared success criteria (see Success any kind—just an indication of where they are in their Criteria). Students use the success criteria to score and give learning. It is also important for the teacher to provide feedback on their own work. The process of evaluating work sufficient structure and guidance for the self- or understanding benefits the student, even if the original work assessment task. or understanding is not that strong. Self Assessment Students reflect on where they are in relation to the Another method is to create wall charts with the learning Self- learning targets for a lesson or unit. Students shade over in targets posted. At the beginning of the lesson, students Assessment – columns to create a bar graph indicating where they are with place colored dots indicating where they fall in relation Progress understanding and practice for each target. When done at the Monitoring to each target. At the end of the lesson, students place beginning and end of a lesson, the students and teacher have a different colored dot. the ability to see the progression of learning. When students self-assess, it helps teachers and students adjust teaching and learning throughout the day. Students ask questions or make comments about their For younger students the teacher captures their ideas needs related to the days posted lessons/activities/ orally and then writes them in a list near the agenda. agenda. The teacher collects their questions needs and/or Any comment not addressed that day can be discussed expectations on sticky notes (one comment per sticky note). as time allows. Shared Agenda The teacher then arranges the sticky notes (or draws lines from the written list) to the lesson/activity/ agenda indicating where each comment will be covered, which highlights any adjustments that need to be made to her lesson. 26 © 2012 Northwest Evaluation Association. All Rights Reserved. KLT Toolkit: Formative Assessment Techniques

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