Formative assessment is embedded in SA Learning Design

Click on each box of Learning Design for connected formative assessment videos from Professor Dylan Wiliam

Box 1

Learning intentions

Box 2

What students bring to this learning

Box 3

Success criteria

Box 4

Eliciting evidence and providing feedback

Box 5

Selecting and creating resources, activities and provocations

Box 6

Identifying actions to develop expert learners and learning culture

When should we share the learning intentions?

Video (1:56 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 1

Description:

Dylan describes a common misunderstanding about when learning intentions should be shared with students.

 Questions:

  • Do we share learning intentions in ways that are effective for students?
  • Are learning intentions sometimes revealed as the lesson progresses?
  • Do we ask students to identify the intended learning (never/occasionally/frequently)?
  • Reflect on your thinking about sharing learning intentions: I used to think… Now I think… So now I will…

Why do we need to share the learning intentions?

Video (1:33 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 1

Description:

Dylan describes a metaphor, from Mary Alice White, in which we see that failure to share the learning intentions with students can result in them ‘doing school’, while disconnected from the purpose of learning.

 Questions:

  • Are many of our students ‘doing school’, or are they clear about the purpose of the learning?
  • Is the purpose of learning (the learning intention(s)) meaningful to them?
  • How might we work in partnership with students to identify how to improve their engagement with learning intentions? How will we know if the changes we make are impactful?

Clarified learning intentions

Video (0:56 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 1

Description:

Dylan explains why clarified learning intentions underpin transfer and higher achievement.

 Questions/Tasks:

  • Create an example of a confused and a clarified learning intention.
  • If we selected a unit of work at random, how likely are we to see clarified learning intentions?
  • How might we review learning intentions across the next 12 months? What? Who? When? How?

Specialist Vocabulary

Video (1:06 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 1

Description:

Dylan highlights the need for educators to identify language that must be intentionally developed for successful learning.

 Questions:

  • Do our units of work identify the discipline specific vocabulary we want students to know, understand and use?
  • What strategies are used, across our site, to intentionally develop students’ vocabulary?
  • How might we evaluate the strategies used?

Start from where the learner is

Video (1:01 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 2

Description:

Dylan quotes David Ausubel (1968), reminding us of the critical role of anticipating and identifying what the student brings to the learning.

 Questions:

  • Do our units of work identify key prerequisite knowledge?
  • Do our units of work identify common misconceptions that students bring to this learning?
  • Given that anticipation of prerequisite knowledge and misconceptions underpins what educators look for in student understanding – how will we collaborate to strengthen this aspect of our learning design?

The beliefs and dispositions students bring

Video (0:45 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 2

Description:

Dylan highlights just some of the attitudes, beliefs and dispositions we need to consider when designing to engage students in challenging learning.

 Questions:

  • What are some common positive and negative beliefs about (insert curriculum area)?
  • What strategies are used to challenge beliefs that have a negative impact on learning?
  • How might we monitor the effectiveness of the strategies we use?

Success criteria

Video (1:23 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 3

Description:

Dylan describes the difference between learning intentions and success criteria and in doing so identifies why both are necessary.

 Questions/Tasks:

  • Think about a lesson you will be teaching in the near future. Describe the learning intention(s) and the success criteria to a colleague. Ask your colleague for feedback – did you describe both the learning and concrete evidence of ‘success’ you will be looking for during that lesson?
  • Clearly articulating success criteria is hard. How might colleagues collaborate to strengthen this aspect of learning design?

Sharing and clarifying success criteria: One example and evidence of impact

Video (4:54 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 3

Description:

Dylan describes how a group of educators engaged students with success criteria and shares the evidence of impact.

 Questions/Tasks:

  • What examples do we have of successfully engaging students with success criteria?
  • Choose one thing you might try to improve students engagement with success criteria.
  • Identify how you will know if the change was impactful.

Examples are more effective than descriptions

Video (1:10 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 3

Description:

Dylan highlights the role of exemplars in sharing and clarifying success criteria.

 Questions:

  • What is our approach to sharing success criteria? Do we share descriptions, or examples, or both?
  • Which aspects of (insert curriculum area) do we have exemplars for? Which aspect would we target next?
  • How might we build a bank of examples that can be used to communicate progression of skills and understanding for (insert aspect of a curriculum area)? How might we partner with students to achieve this?

Co-construct success criteria, but only of it is rigged!

Video (1:58 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 3

Description:

Dylan describes co-construction as a way of creating understanding but is clear that the educators’ role is to ‘faithfully represent the norms of the discipline’.

 Questions:

  • Do we have examples of co-constructing success criteria with students?
  • Was the approach impactful? Why/why not?
  • Is this something we might try (again)? Why? When? With who?

All student response systems

Video (1:37 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan models one possible all student response process and reminds us of the need to base our next teaching moves on information from all students rather than a small selection of individuals.

 Questions:

  • What all student response processes are used at our site?
    Take a look at the ‘20 practices and processes’ PDF for some ideas.
  • Are all student response processes in frequent use across all year levels and curriculum areas?
  • What all student response processes would we like all students to be familiar with?
  • What new process will we each try? When and how will we share our experience?

Formative assessment is not self-reporting

Video (2:33 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan challenges the effectiveness of all student response processes, such as the commonly used traffic light system and voting thumbs when they are used for self-reporting rather than surfacing evidence of understanding. Dylan contrasts this with an example of an all student response process that does provide the educator with useful evidence about what students understand and can do.

 Questions:

Combining a good question with an appropriate all student response process can be an efficient way for educators to quickly gain evidence of all students understanding. With this in mind:

  • What steps could we take to improve our collective capacity to embed effective all student response processes regularly in teaching and learning?
  • Do we have examples of questions that work well? Could we create a resource bank of examples?

Not everything is equal

Video (1:29 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan highlights that some aspects of curriculum are fundamental building blocks for the development of understanding. He asks educators to consider what this means for the evidence they surface from all students and their response to that evidence. Is it OK to move on knowing that only some students get this?

 Questions:

  • Are we clear about the key concepts of (insert curriculum area) that are the building blocks of future understanding? How do we know? Do we share the same view as each other? What expertise can we draw on?
  • What are the implications for our curriculum planning?
  • What are the implications for classroom practices and structures?

The hypercorrection effect and long-term memory

Video (2:23 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan makes a powerful case for the use of all student response systems used together with questions that surface evidence of understanding. To make this case Dylan brings two ideas together – the hypercorrection effect and public accountability.

 Questions:

  • Have you experienced this hypercorrection effect? Can you share an example?
  • How will we make use of this hypercorrection effect and still maintain safe conditions for rigorous learning in our classrooms?
  • What examples do we have of activities that are designed to surface strongly held misconceptions and then challenge and correct those misconceptions?

Assessment – Anonymous, then peer, then self

Video (1:15 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan shares that, in his research, he and others have become increasingly convinced that educators often rush to engage students in self-assessment too quickly. He suggests some stepping-stones towards self-assessment.

 Questions:

  • What examples do we have of engaging students in self-assessment?
  • What examples do we have of engaging students in peer-assessment (anonymous and known)?
  • What have we done, or might we do, to build students’ capacity for rigorous self-assessment?

Feedback that moves learning forward

Video (3:42 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 4

Description:

Dylan describes some fundamental principles of feedback. He shares some practical examples, including ways to make feedback more work for the student than the educator.

 Questions:

  • Do we use comment only marking (never/rarely/quite frequently/often)?
  • Do we provide feedback:
    • in ways that ‘gets students thinking’? What examples do we have?
    • that moves learning forward? What examples do we have?
    • that is tied to the learning intentions and success criteria?
    • that is narrow enough for students to act upon without feeling overwhelmed?
  • Do we provide sufficient time for students to respond to feedback?
  • What improvements could we make to our feedback practices? How might we work with students to evaluate the impact of the changes we make?

Hook students into the learning

Video (1:18 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 5

Description:

Dylan shares an example of an educator hooking students into the learning with a big question and revealing the learning intention as the lesson progresses.

 Questions:

  • What examples do we have of hooking students into challenging learning? What were the key aspects of the question or the process that got students hooked in?
  • Designing ‘good hooks’ for key concepts is challenging. What are your sources of inspiration? How might we collaborate to design more questions to engage students in challenge?

Productive struggle

Video (1:37 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 5

Description:

Dylan describes the positive impact of productive struggle on learning. He highlights that “Doing things in unfamiliar ways leads to learning that is deeper, better connected to existing learning and therefore remembered for longer”.

 Questions:

  • Do we tell before we ask? Do we always tell our students how to go about a problem before we ask them to grapple with it, or do we ask them to grapple first?
  • What examples do we have of ‘ask before tell’ being an impactful practice?
  • Is the practice of ‘ask before tell’ more prevalent in some curriculum areas? Which ones? Why? Does it need to be this way?
  • When is ‘ask before tell’ not appropriate in curriculum teaching and learning? Why?
    Take a look at Transforming Tasks: From tell to ask

Students create the test – one way to drive deep thinking

Video (0:40 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 5

Description:

Dylan shares one effective way to get students to think deeply about their learning. This approach can be used as test preparation.

 Questions:

  • Why might ‘students create a test’ be an effective process for their learning?
  • Do we have any examples of doing this with students? Was it impactful? Why/why not?
  • When might you next try this technique? How will you partner with students to evaluate the impact of the technique?

Writing frames

Video (2:31 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 5

Description:

Dylan explains that educators ‘level the playing field’ when they explicitly identify writing structures that frequently occur, as this gives all students ‘access to the code’. Dylan reminds us that any structure we provide is both a support and a constraint and provides a practical example of managing this challenge.

 Questions:

  • There are structures, such as writing frames, in many curriculum areas. What examples do we have, in English and in other learning areas, of explicitly identifying structures that give all students ‘access to the code’?
  • What examples do we have of supporting and challenging students to explore breaking, or adapting structures in order to gain deeper understanding?
  • What might explicitly identifying structures and challenging structures look like in practice in (insert curriculum area)?

Effective self-regulating learners

Video (1:52 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 6

Description:

Dylan explains the rationale behind the two formative assessment strategies:

  • activate students as resources for one another, and
  • activate students as owners of their own learning

and explains that “the goal of all feedback is to help the learner become a more effective self-regulating learner”.

 Questions:

  • What strategies do we use to develop students self-regulation in learning?
  • How do our approaches to in-the-moment verbal feedback and written feedback intentionally develop self-regulation in students?
  • What might we try? How will we work with students to evaluate our impact?

Listen appreciatively

Video (0:12 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 6

Description:

Many educators will have heard or spoken the words, “Be quiet when others are speaking”. In this very short video Dylan challenges us to acknowledge this isn’t enough.

 Questions:

  • Do our students listen appreciatively to one another?
  • What do we do to create the need for students to listen appreciatively to one another?
  • What do we do to create the will for students to listen appreciatively to one another?
  • What strategies could we introduce, expand across classes to promote active listening?
  • Are there any teaching practices we need to stop doing to promote active listening?

Creating safety for challenge

Video (0:40 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 6

Description:

Dylan describes the need to get students to ‘have a go’, to be willing to risk failure. He provides an example of educator language that creates safety for students to step into challenge.

 Questions:

  • To what extent are students willing to step into challenging learning? What evidence do we have?
  • What would our students say about their willingness to learn from mistakes? Do their actions match their words? Is this the same for all learners, at all levels of achievement?
  • What strategies do we use to create safety for students to step into challenging learning?
  • Are the strategies we use impactful? How do we know?

Feedback that improves the student, not just the task

Video (1:32 mins)

SA Learning Design – Box 6

Description:

Dylan describes the need for feedback to improve the student as a learner, rather than simply improve the student’s performance on the task in hand.

 Questions/Tasks:

  • Reflect on a range of feedback you have provided recently. Does the feedback:
    • focus only on improving performance on the task in hand, or
    • develop the student as a learner, as well as improving performance on the task?
      Share examples of both.
  • Find one example of feedback that is focused only (or largely) on improving the task in hand. With a partner, discuss ways the feedback could be tweaked to achieve both:
    • improvement in performance on the task in hand, and
    • improvement of the student as a learner.

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Resources Formative Assessment Dylan Wiliam in SA