What can you do in the classroom to assess were your students are at?

Dylan Wiliam presents 5 Key Strategies for Assessment for Learning. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning is one of these.

What techniques do we employ in our classrooms to understand where our students are at and therefore how to move them forward?

The following information is from an article titled Planning for classroom activities that tell you what your students know.

  1. The teacher needs to see what all the students are doing.
  2. Check part way through lessons so you can still fix things.
  3. Check at a glance for what you will teach next.

To be able to do these things teachers need to have a variety of go to tools they can use to help them assess were students are at. Click HERE to find out about a wide range of tools that can be used to find out about where your students are at.

A short article titled Formative Assessment – the Minute by Minute, Day-by-Day Kind.

Why activate students as learning resources for one and other?

Dylan Wiliam presents 5 Key Strategies for Assessment for Learning. Activating students as instructional resources for one another is one of these.

The following information is from the following article Activating Learners as Instructional Resources.

Why should we develop our students ability to help other students?

  1. Motivation: The teacher structures the process so it is in a student’s interest to help others.
  2. Social Capital: Students perception of their value to others increases.
  3. Better Understanding: When you have to teach others, you have to understand an idea clearly. The stronger students improve by having to teach and the less competent improve because they have a second teacher.
  4. Activating learners as instructional resources for each other clearly helps learning in the short terms because it resolves questions more quickly and provides more feedback, both of which help learning right now.

Click HERE to read how questioning can help students be instructional resources for one and other.

Moving learning forward with feedback

Dylan Wiliam presents 5 Key Strategies for Assessment for Learning. Providing feedback that moves learners forward is one of these.

The following information is from an article titled Good Feedback.

So what is it about quality feedback?

  1. Feedback that moves the learning forward is one of the most critical elements in improving learning.
  2. Nearly 80% of the feedback students get is from peers, and most of it is incorrect – Teach students how to give good feedback.
  3. Everything (feedback) is designed to grow learning – something like “good job” doesn’t do that.
  4. Designed to reinforce a growth mindset.
  5. Most useful when it comes from multiple sources (self, other students, teachers, outside experts) that know how to give good feedback.

Hear how Dylan Wiliam describes feedback. Watch his video HERE. Listen to him discuss how feedback should cause thinking, not be ego involving and create a growth mindset.


Why is it important to share and clarify learning intentions and success criteria?

Dylan Wiliam presents 5 Key Strategies for Assessment for Learning. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success is one of these.

The following information is taken from an article titled Learning intentions and criteria and Dylan Wiliam’s Embedding Formative Assessment.

Why is clarifying the learning intention a good idea?

  1. Because students are much more likely to achieve a learning intention they understand, ensuring the learning intention and criteria is very clear are really important.

How might this look?

  1. Provide models and samples so students can really see what this looks like and compare it to other students samples at their own level.
  2. Work together to make a list of what it would look like to meet the learning intention.
  3. Use student friendly language not curriculum (ACARA) language.
  4. There is no one right way to present learning intentions. Wiliam’s even suggests (pg 56 Embedding Formative Assessment) that sometimes it is not beneficial to tell the students what the lesson is about if that impacts on the way students will go about solving a problem, in say maths.

Click HERE to read about how the NSW Education Department suggests teachers go about presenting learning goals to their students.

The positive impact of self assessment

Dylan Wiliam presents 5 Key Strategies for Assessment for Learning. Activating students as owners of their own learning is one of  these. How often do we get our students to reflect on their learning asking them to self assess on a regular basis? How worthwhile is it to do this?

The following information is from a blog post titled Self-Regulation of Learning Leads to Student Performance Improvement written by Kelly Goodrich. This can be read in full here.

  1. For students to become actively engaged with the learning process they need guidelines and opportunities to learn and engage in self-assessment.
  2. Engaging in the process of thinking about and assessing their own learning and then using feedback to improve requires students to take responsibility for their learning.
  3. Students who are provided with regular opportunities and encouragement to engage in self-assessment are more likely to attribute their learning to internal beliefs  i.e they feel they can impact on their own learning through effort and study (growth mindset).

Click HERE to see how one teacher scaffolds to help her students to self assess.