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Offerings

Professional development in assessment works best when it is job-embedded, collaborative, and focused on transferring best practices into classroom applications. The books that I have authored and co-authored are designed with that in mind; they are all formatted for use in a learning team model of collaborative professional development. Keynote addresses and conference presentations can serve an important role in introducing new ideas and practices, but sustained change in the classroom occurs when there is the commitment to ongoing study and implementation that the learning team model of professional development provides.  

 

All professional development offerings are designed to maximize impact on learning. All workshops, keynote addresses, and conference presentations are drawn from the content of the books Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right--Using It Well and Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning, so there is opportunity for in-depth follow-up support for continued learning and implementation of the concepts in each offering.

Workshops (1 or more days)

 

Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning (1 - 3 days)

This workshop is designed to deepen participants' understanding of how formative assessment can be woven into daily teaching activities. Based on the content of the book Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning 2e, the session introduces research-based, high-impact formative assessment practices and the seven strategies framework that sequences these practices for optimal classroom implementation. Specific topics include:

Helping students develop a clear vision of the intended learning

Providing descriptive feedback efficiently and effectively

Teaching students to self-assess and set goals

Planning instructional interventions

Preparing students to track, reflect on, and share their learning progress

 

Developing Classroom Assessment Literacy (1 - 2 days)

This workshop is designed to deepen particiants' understanding of how to audit or develop a high-quality classroom assessment. Based on the book Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right--Using It Well 2e, it teaches participants to do the following:

Determine assessment purpose (formative/summative)

Establish clear learning targets

Deconstruct complex content standards into lesson-level learning targets

Select the appropriate assessment method to match the purpose and type of learning target to be assessed

Use the steps in the Assessment Development Cycle to plan, critique, administer, and revise assessments for classroom use

 

Using Rubrics Formatively in the Classroom (1 - 2 days)

Rubrics that function best as teaching tools are descriptive of quality and generalizable across tasks. In this workshop, we learn characteristics of rubrics suited for four uses: 1) to diagnose strengths and weaknesses, 2) to help students develop their understanding of quality, 3) to offer effective feedback to students, and 4) to prepare students to self-assess and set goals for next steps. Then we revise already-developed rubrics to maximize their power as formative assessment tools.

 

How to Construct a Professional Development Session in Six Steps (1 - 2 days)

In this workshop we work through six decision points to plan a professional development experience that engages participants as active learners. Then participants design a one- to two-hour professional development session on the topic of their choice guided by the six decision points.

 

Leading Learning Teams with the Text Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning (1/2 - 1 day)

In this workshop, a follow-up to "Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning," participants work to plan professional development for learning teams using the text Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning. Included are suggestions for readings, meetings, activities and pacing the learning.

 

Leading Learning Teams with the Text Classroom Assessment for Student Learning (1/2 - 1 day)

In this workshop, a follow-up to "Developing Classroom Assessment Literacy," participants work to plan professional development for learning teams using the text Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right--Using It Well. Included are suggestions for readings, meetings, activities and pacing the learning.

 
 
Keynote Addresses (60 - 90 minutes)

 

Assessment in Support of Learning

Many of our current assessment practices get in the way of creating a classroom environment that nurtures learning. This presentation describes three common roadblocks to using assessment in support of learning and offers suggestions for overcoming them. The three issues addressed are: the belief that “plan, instruct, assign, and assess” will cause learning; the problem of insufficient time; and lack of understanding of how to involve students substantively in the assessment process.

 

Assessment Practices That Create Self-Directed Learners

Students who are college- and career-ready are willing and able to learn independent of external rewards and punishments. This presentation examines how classroom assessment practices can develop a self-directed learning mindset in all students.

 

Offering Effective Feedback 

Research on the impact of formative assessment practices shows that the provision of feedback is one of the keys to improved achievement, yet many studies also reveal negative effects of feedback on learning. This presentation examines the characteristics of feedback that maximize the chance that students will act on it and gain from it.

 
 
Conference Presentations and Webinars (1 - 2 hours)

 

Introduction to Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning

Research reviews over the last decade have heightened awareness of formative assessment’s power to increase student achievement, but not all that is labeled “formative assessment” is equally effective. This session introduces research-based, high-impact formative assessment practices and the seven strategies framework that sequences these practices for optimal classroom implementation.

 

Making Time for Formative Assessment

Most educators understand that formative assessment practices will help students learn, but many have difficulty finding the time to implement them. Underlying this difficulty we often find a fundamental misconception about the conditions required for learning to take place. In this session we will examine beliefs about learning and assessment that create barriers to effective formative assessment, both at the system level and the classroom level. We will also discuss ways to remove the barriers.

 
Targets on the Wall Are Not Targets in the Head

One of the challenges of implementing formative assessment comes at the front end—making sure that our learning targets are clear to students. Students’ understanding of the intended learning is also the foundation of a self-directed learning mindset. In this session we will examine a variety of strategies to make sure students have a clear vision of the intended learning while they are engaged in it.

 
Offering Effective Feedback 

Research on the impact of formative assessment practices shows that the provision of feedback is one of the keys to improved achievement, yet many studies also reveal negative effects of feedback on learning. In this session we examine the characteristics of feedback that maximize the chance that students will act on it and gain from it. We also look at ways to offer effective feedback so that it takes less teacher time.

 
Preparing Students to Self-Assess and Set Goals for Next Steps

When we prepare students to self-assess and set goals, we teach them to provide their own feedback. In this session we examine how to provide the pre-requisites to becoming accurate self-assessors: a clear vision of the intended learning, practice with identifying strengths and weaknesses in a variety of examples, and exposure to feedback that models “self-assessment” thinking: “What have I done well?” and “ Where do I need to continue working?”  

 

Planning Instructional Interventions

Making mistakes is part of the normal flow of attaining mastery in any field. In this session we will examine three types of errors students typically make and discuss teaching strategies that address each type of error.  We will also explore the concept of instructional traction: the characteristics our diagnostic assessments need to have if they are to guide instructional next steps accurately.

 

Treating Learning As a Progression: Assessment Helps and Hindrances

Learning is an unpredictable process and instructional correctives are part of the normal flow of attaining mastery in any field. If we are still teaching as though “plan, instruct, and assess” will cause learning, or if our pacing guides are designed on the basis of that belief, we will miss the heart of teaching and the whole intent of formative assessment. Many of our inherited assessment practices fight with our desire to build an effective “feedback loop” into instruction. In this session, we examine those practices and ways to change them.

 

Looking for Student Growth

Noticing changes in students that could be attributed to your changes in practice is a powerful way to maintain motivation and commitment to our own learning. In this session, we discuss how to identify changes in students’ attitudes, behaviors, and achievement that could be attributed to participants’ use formative assessment practices in their classrooms.

 

Using Rubrics Formatively in the Classroom 

Rubrics that function best as teaching tools are descriptive of quality and generalizable across tasks. In this session, we focus on characteristics of rubrics suited for four uses: 1) to diagnose strengths and weaknesses, 2) to help students develop their understanding of quality, 3) to offer effective feedback to students, and 4) to prepare students to self-assess and set goals for next steps.

 

Creating Clear Learning Targets

One of the prerequisites for standards-based grading as well as for implementing any formative assessment strategy comes early in the teaching cycle—making sure that we ourselves have clear learning targets. In this session, we  examine a process participants can use to work with colleagues to clarify content standards so they can be taught and assessed, both formatively and summatively.

 

When Not to Grade and Why

Grades on individual assignments represent levels of achievement but do not communicate to the student about specific areas of strength or needed improvement. This session delvse into ways to provide helpful feedback to students while also giving them time to act on it. We will examine characteristics of effective feedback, how to structure selected response quizzes and tests so the results function as effective feedback, kinds of rubrics that function as effective feedback, and activities for maximizing the chances students will act on and learn from our feedback.

 

The Trajectory from Content Standards to Sound Grades

Many problems that arise at grading time can be traced back to steps taken or not taken prior to calculating a grade. In this session, we look at the progression of teaching and assessment decisions beginning at instructional planning that, when executed well, lead to fair and defensible end-of-term grades.

 

How to Construct a Professional Development Session in Six Steps

In this session we work through six decision points to plan a professional development experience that engages participants as active learners. The  presentation “Looking for Student Growth” will be used as the running example for each step.