Classroom assessment: minute by minute, day by day.

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Leahy, S., Lyon, C., Thompson, M., &Wiliam, D.  (November 2005).  Classroom assessment: minute by minute, day by day.  (Electronic version). Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  18-24.

An Annotation by Laurie Walsh

The authors, researchers at Educational Testing Service, have been testing the impact of assessment for learning.  They have introduced teachers to the idea through a three-day summer workshop, taught the teachers strategies, met with the teachers once a month during the school year and observed their classrooms.  The research shows that there are “five broad strategies that are equally powerful for teachers of all content areas and at all grade levels: clarifying and sharing learning intentions and criteria for success; engineering effective classroom discussions, questions and learning tasks; providing feedback that moves learners forward; activating students as owners of their own learning; activating students as instructional resources for one another” (20).  I am most interested in their findings on engineering effective discussion.  Teachers should use “range-finding” questions to discover what students know at the beginning of a unit.  At the “hinge-point” in the lesson, teachers use questions to check on student learning.  The article continues to discuss the problems with traditional classroom questioning: lack of engagement and only hearing the thinking of one student.  The authors suggest using a randomizing device for calling on students, instituting a “no hands up, except to ask a question” policy, utilizing white boards for all students to respond simultaneously, and providing students with four cards – they hold up one when the teacher asks a question in a multiple choice format.

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