Friday, September 30, 2011

Assessing Student Learning

As a principal I always enjoyed the opportunity to visit classrooms for informal as well as formal observations. They allowed me to gain a better understanding of our students and their learning. Part of every classroom visit was a brief conversation with students about their learning.

A friend of mine, Clifford Weber, Superintendent in Bloomfield, New Mexico does something similar. He has three questions he asks of students and says that "The answers tell you a lot about students' experiences in schools."
  • "What are you doing?"
  • "How are you doing with it?"
  • "Why are you doing it?"
While in Bloomfield he worked with the staff to turn these questions into opportunity for student reflection and self-assessment during lessons. Teachers also asked "What do you already know about a [a topic]?" and "When are you going to use it?" The questions became a routine part of class and helped students connect their current lesson with past learning and future application.

I'd be interested in hearing from you about what you look for when observing in classrooms and how your teachers provide opportunities for students to reflect on their learning.

1 comment:

  1. HI Ron: love this quick and easy formula that involves students in the assessment of their learning, while spurring deeper discussions with the adults. It's also easier for students when teachers are using consistent terminology in their classes.

    I like DuFour's 4 questions and use them as part of observations: to paraphrases- 1. What is it we want students to learn? 2. How do we know they are learning it? 3. What do we do when they don't learn it? And 4. What do we do when they do learn it?

    thanks for sharing!