Formative assessment involves teachers making adjustments to their instruction based on evidence they intentionally collect while student learning is developing, and providing students with feedback that helps them advance their learning. Students are equal stakeholders in the process and support their own learning, and that of their peers, through self-assessment and providing peer feedback. When teachers implement formative assessment as a process in collaboration with their students, it has powerful effects on student learning.
SAIL course content integrates formative assessment, student identity, and classroom culture – to enrich and deepen instructional practice in support of student agency and equity. In the SAIL course, teachers’ learning experience of formative assessment mirrors students’. Teachers participate in continuous learning cycles consisting of new content, the application of formative assessment skills in the classroom, community of practice meetings, and self-reflection on progress within a blended, digital and in-person learning design. SAIL includes multiple strategies for teacher self-reflection, each designed to assess progress based on evidence of what is changing for students through ongoing feedback loops with students about how they are learning. Teachers integrate course content with existing expertise at every turn, while also developing an awareness of where they will lean in to improve student outcomes.
By the end of the course, teachers report a significant shift in students’ development in their formative assessment practice over time. Through SAIL, teachers learn how to explicitly model and teach students to:
- Use success criteria to guide their learning
- Talk about evidence of their learning
- Persevere in their learning
- Give more thoughtful and extended answers during classroom dialogue
- Engage with feedback to further their own, and peers, learning
- Set academic and personal goals
- Ask questions of themselves and others
- Reflect on and learn from mistakes
Over the past ten years of developing professional learning experiences to support formative assessment implementation, WestEd has learned from teachers, school leaders, and from students that adopting formative assessment practices is more than just a series of new instructional steps implemented in the classroom. It requires that teachers (and ultimately, students) adopt new mindsets – in particular, about classroom culture and student identity – so that all students can develop the skills and dispositions to best support their own learning. This course supports this through online learning experiences and site-based community of practice meetings to explore formative assessment in context to transform teaching and learning in classrooms, schools and districts.
Leaders also play a significant role in supporting the opportunities, culture, and conditions that advance teacher learning. Schools that are most successful have teachers and leaders working alongside one another to learn about and support the changing roles of students, the hallmark of formative assessment expertise. The SAIL course includes resources for leaders so that they are prepared to learn alongside teachers.
What Our Clients Are Saying
At first, I really honed in on a small group of emergent readers. They grew to accept the daily practice of ascertaining the Learning Goal and Success Criteria. It was quite satisfying to watch this group grow in skill based on what they knew they needed to learn. I think the biggest change that occurred was how I addressed students who were very far behind their peers. Those students ended up with the greatest agency because they could confidently guide discussions within the larger whole-group experience. When I saw the shift in that particular group, I knew we were on to something BIG! SAIL participant, classroom teacher
Many of the students didn’t understand and/or didn’t believe that they could be successful. They were shy and were not eager to share. It is very different now, the students are outgoing and excited about learning and sharing. They praise others without having to be told to praise. They appreciate and care for others and themselves. SAIL participant, classroom teacher
At the beginning, I think I was the one with the answers and the students looked to me for those an-swers and feedback. Even when I had them give each other feedback, it was written with no discus-sion and who knows if it was read or considered for improving. I wrote the rubrics, students had little to no say in what I was grading. Now the students know that they too have the answers and can give excellent feedback. Now that they discuss the feedback and have to follow up with a goal based on that feedback, self evaluation feedback has a whole different feel. Students are empowered by writ-ing their own Success Criteria and by being able to discuss it in depth. SAIL participant, classroom teacher
To learn more, contact Nancy Gerzon at email@example.com