Category

Assessment

Category

More and more often, I’m invited to work not only with school districts, but with other organizations that are interested in telling their stories. Stories matter. They center us. They propel us forward. They change the trajectories of our work and our lives and the lives of the people we serve. They’re bigger than branding, and they’re far more than marketing tools. That’s why it’s important to value the story writing process as much as…

Nearly ten years into my career as an independent education consultant, I can say with confidence that a large portion of my time has been devoted to supporting teachers with assessment design. If you’ve walked a similar path, then you know how hard and humbling this work is. Perhaps, like me, you stand on the shoulders of assessment giants like Douglas Reeves, Rick Stiggins, Dylan Wiliam, Susan Brookhart, or James Popham. Perhaps you still define yourself as…

This spring, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from southern Erie and Cattaraugus Counties. Our initial sessions challenged teachers to define writers’ craft, the process, and the values and habits of masterful writers. Then, we considered how the progression of these skills and dispositions builds and evolves as experience is gained. Teachers returned to their classrooms with new ideas to consider and test. As I prepared to see them again last week, I hoped that…

On Friday, I’ll be working with students in the D’Youville School of Pharmacy, who are just beginning to develop habits of documentation, reflection, and qualitative data analysis. The document below will guide our initial conversations. I thought I would share it here, as it provides a quick introduction for those who are doing similar work in a variety of contexts, including K-12 classrooms. The questions and tools below will support our initial conversations. You can grab…

Love is blind, and far too often, our relationships with quantitative data remain unhealthy. Despite evidence to the contrary, too many of us still believe that grades provide insight and that standardized test scores suggest solutions. Going gradeless isn’t easy, though. Numbers are far more efficient to work with. They seem to create quick and false certainty during trying times, too. Using data in healthy ways is difficult work. It keeps us on the move, and it reminds us, over and…

Interviews provide some of the best data we can gather about learners and learning, but planning and executing a high quality interview is often challenging. Whether interviews happen during writing conferences, at the end of unit of mathematics study, or on the heels of a lab experience, I find it important to consider four different elements: Structure, purpose, those questions that elicit helpful responses, and those questions that can deepen the respondent’s thinking. I recently shared…

As I’ve begun supporting teachers’ first efforts to document for learning, this question continues winding its way through nearly every conversation: How do we distinguish learning from its products? This seems like a simple distinction, but experience is demonstrating otherwise. As it turns out, making learning visible rather its products is no easy task. It’s also no surprise when our initial efforts to document learning fall short of our expectations. Here’s what I’ve been talking about with western New York…

Teachers analyze different kinds of evidence in order to construct hunches that help them serve learners well. Clear answers are rare, but if we pay attention, we know when we’re getting closer to understanding the challenges learners face and better at designing solutions. The questions we ask often make all of the difference. Traditional research processes often begin with the identification of driving questions. Intended to focus our work, driving questions can help us define powerful pathways through the research…

Over the last few years, some of the teachers that I support have begun assessing learning without interrupting it in order to test kids. Their commitment to documentation is leading to the development of far better interventions. That’s not why I’m blogging about it, though. It seems that steeping ourselves in this kind of learning isn’t merely increasing our expertise, it’s igniting our curiosities and re-energizing us. As we make our own learning transparent to students, our relationships…

I founded the WNY Young Writer’s Studio with two great intentions: First, I longed to create a lasting community where children could choose to write about the things that mattered to them in ways that were deeply rewarding. I envisioned a place where young writers would continue to learn from one another month after month and year after year, far beyond the confines of a workshop or institute. I wanted to created a place where…