Ripples & Reflections

"Learning is about living, and as such is lifelong." Elkjaer.

Faculty PD: Assessment Principles & Practices (and a stretched golf metaphor)

3 Comments

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve put a lot of work into developing Wednesday afternoon PD sessions for middle and high-school faculty on Assessment Principles and Practices. We’ve chosen to do this now, as this is an easy entry point for work on MYP: Next Chapter and it is always valuable PD to think about, evaluate and strengthen our practices. It builds on a lot of the good work that CA has been doing in recent years to improve assessment.

The inspiration for the theme came from Ken O’Connor’s (@kenoc7) blog post on “23 reasons why golf is better than classroom assessment and grading,” as well as some of Rick Wormeli’s (@RickWormeli) great series of videos on Assessment in the Differentiated Classroom. The aim was to emphasise the importance of the connection between the objectives of the unit and the assessment tasks, resulting in strong, worthwhile assessment taking place. As part of the discussion we connected the objectives of the MYP subjects to their respective assessment criteria and strands.

So far we have completed two of three (or more) sessions on this, with the first being a general overview, including revisiting our Assessment Policy and a Socrative Space Race, as well as sharing with colleagues from different departments. The second session focused on scaffolding tasks and was kicked off with Wormeli’s provocative talk on redos and retakes, before having some exemplary teachers show their scaffolding and student support tools to teachers. The second half of the session was devoted to further developing our own tasks and in later sessions we’ll evaluate these and think more carefully about what to do with ‘broken’ assessments and how to make best use 0f learning data.

The curriculum team, including Tony (@bellew), LizD (@lizdk), LizA and I were impressed by the feedback given in a one-minute essay between sessions and in the quality of collegial conversations taking place. It is clear that CA has come a long way in assessment philosophy and practices in recent years.  I am grateful to be in a place where we can work towards progress, share our practice and improve together as a faculty.

Here is the presentation. Apologies for stretching the golf metaphor to breaking point, but I wanted to also use it as a way to model use of CC images from Flickr. I’m trying to find a happy medium here between attractive ‘presentation zen’ for the PD sessions and functional informational flipbooks for teachers to refer to and use in their later work as they’re embedded to the faculty guide.

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Author: Stephen

Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan. Formerly MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher and missing it terribly. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer.

3 thoughts on “Faculty PD: Assessment Principles & Practices (and a stretched golf metaphor)

  1. This guy Rick Wormelie is nothing but a obscurantist. Teachers will struggle to understand that garbled thinking, then blame themselves when they give up. He obviously hasn’t mastered Defining Mastery. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPUqKp-n_hs&feature=youtu.be I feel sorry for the teachers who have to wade through this stuff.

    • Interesting you should think this, Gene. Our faculty found his thoughts provocative and challenging, though they carry a positive, student-focused message. In our context it was highly appropriate, as we have a high degree of autonomy in curriculum and assessment. I can imagine that it would generate more of a dissonance in a culture that experiences a greater degree of external challenge for teachers, who may get the message and want to do the right thing, but who may be constricted by their limitations. I have heard that his ideas are provocative in the US, for example, where there is resistance to SBG and a highly results-driven set of education systems. In our international schools that is much less the case.

      Best wishes,

      Stephen

  2. With regard to ‘wading through this stuff’ we also have a high degree of autonomy in PD. We presented these resources to teachers in a PD session, but highlighted that other videos existed for those who were interested in going deeper. There was no expectation to watch them all, though they were appreciated by those who watched some of them.

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