Want to have your thinking challenged about the role that common formative assessments should play on a professional learning team?
Then check out this Ken Williams video:
Ken made a pretty darn important point in the video.
He mentioned that there are two purposes for giving common formative assessments: First, common formative assessments can help us to identify students who are struggling to master essential outcomes. Second, common formative assessments can help us to identify weaknesses in our own instructional practices.
Now here’s a question for you: Does your learning team prioritize those two purposes equally — or are you spending most of your common formative assessment work on one of those two purposes?
If your learning team is anything like MOST of the teams that I work with in schools across America, my guess is that using CFAs as a tool for identifying weaknesses in your own instructional practices doesn’t happen very often. The simple truth is that we sometimes forget that adult learning is an important outcome of the PLC process, too — and common formative assessment data, when used properly, can help us to spot areas where our own practice needs to be improved.
If you are interested in making reflection around your instructional practice a more regular part of the work that you do with your common formative assessments, these handouts may help:
Sample: Our Observation / Our Reaction / Our Next Action – Recently, our learning team gave a mid year benchmark exam. When we were finished with the exam, we put together this document, detailing things that we noticed in our data, our reaction to those observations, and a plan for moving forward. If you look at each row in the table, we kept ourselves focused on what our common formative assessment data meant for us instructionally.
Sample: Individual Teacher Reflection Form – Another step that I take each time we complete a common formative assessment is to complete this reflection form. Each question is designed to force me to think carefully about what I can learn about my own instructional decision-making from the data that we collected on a common formative assessment.
Whaddya’ think of these forms, y’all?
Would they encourage teachers to focus on the second leveraging arm of common formative assessments? Do they seem useful to you? Are you doing any of this work already?
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