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Using assessment to improve learning: why, what and how? Dylan Wiliam Institute of Education Cambridge Assessment Network seminar on Assessment for Learning:

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Presentation on theme: "Using assessment to improve learning: why, what and how? Dylan Wiliam Institute of Education Cambridge Assessment Network seminar on Assessment for Learning:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Using assessment to improve learning: why, what and how? Dylan Wiliam Institute of Education Cambridge Assessment Network seminar on Assessment for Learning: Cambridge, UK; September 2006

2 Confidential & Proprietary2 Overview of presentation Why raising achievement is important Why investing in teachers is the answer Why assessment for learning should be the focus How we can put this into practice

3 Confidential & Proprietary3 Raising achievement matters For individuals –Increased lifetime salary –Improved health For society –Lower criminal justice costs –Lower health-care costs –Increased economic growth

4 Confidential & Proprietary4 Wheres the solution? Structure –Small schools –Big schools Alignment –Curriculum reform –Textbook replacement Governance –Specialist schools –Vouchers Technology

5 Confidential & Proprietary5 Its the classroom Variability at the classroom level is up to 4 times greater than at school level Its not class size Its not the between-class grouping strategy Its not the within-class grouping strategy Its the teacher

6 Confidential & Proprietary6 Teacher quality: A labour force issue with 2 solutions Replace existing teachers with better ones? –No evidence that more pay brings in better teachers –No evidence that there are better teachers out there deterred by certification requirements Improve the effectiveness of existing teachers –The love the one youre with strategy –It can be done –We know how to do it, but at scale? Quickly? Sustainably?

7 Confidential & Proprietary7 Learning power environments Key concept: –Teachers do not create learning –Learners create learning Teaching as engineering learning environments Key features: –Create student engagement (pedagogies of engagement) –Well-regulated (pedagogies of contingency)

8 Confidential & Proprietary8 Why pedagogies of engagement? Intelligence is partly inherited –So what? Intelligence is partly environmental –Environment creates intelligence –Intelligence creates environment Learning environments –High cognitive demand –Inclusive –Obligatory

9 Confidential & Proprietary9 Motivation: cause or effect? competence challenge Flow apathy boredom relaxation arousal anxiety worry control high low high (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

10 Confidential & Proprietary10 Why pedagogies of contingency? Several major reviews of the research –Natriello (1987) –Crooks (1988) –Kluger & DeNisi (1996) –Black & Wiliam (1998) –Nyquist (2003) All find consistent, substantial effects

11 Confidential & Proprietary11 Cost/effect comparisons InterventionEffect (sd) Cost/yr/ classroom Class-size reduction (by 30%)0.1£20k Increase teacher content knowledge by 1 sd 0.1? Formative assessment/ Assessment for learning 0.2~0.3£2k

12 Confidential & Proprietary12 Five key strategies… Clarifying and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success Engineering effective classroom discussions that elicit evidence of learning Providing feedback that moves learners forward Activating students as instructional resources for each other Activating students as the owners of their own learning

13 Confidential & Proprietary13 …and one big idea Use evidence about learning to adapt instruction to meet student needs

14 Confidential & Proprietary14 Keeping Learning on Track (KLT) A pilot guides a plane or boat toward its destination by planning a route, taking constant readings and making careful adjustments in response to wind, currents, weather, etc. A KLT teacher does the same: –Plans a carefully chosen (possibly differentiated) route ahead of time (in essence building the track) –Takes readings along the way –Changes course as conditions dictate

15 Confidential & Proprietary15 Formative assessment & Assessment for Learning Assessment for learning is any assessment for which the first priority in its design and practice is to serve the purpose of promoting pupils learning. It thus differs from assessment designed primarily to serve the purposes of accountability, or of ranking, or of certifying competence. An assessment activity can help learning if it provides information to be used as feedback, by teachers, and by their pupils, in assessing themselves and each other, to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged. Such assessment becomes formative assessment when the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching work to meet learning needs. Black et al., 2002

16 Confidential & Proprietary16 Types of formative assessment Long-cycle –Focus: across units, terms –Length: four weeks to one year Medium-cycle –Focus: within and between teaching units –Length: one to four weeks Short-cycle –Focus: within and between lessons –Length: day-by-day: 24 to 48 hours minute-by-minute: 5 seconds to 2 hours

17 Putting it into practice

18 Confidential & Proprietary18 A model for teacher learning Content (what we want teachers to change) –Evidence –Ideas (strategies and techniques) Process (how to go about change) –Choice –Flexibility –Small steps –Accountability –Support

19 Confidential & Proprietary19 Content: strategies and techniques Distinction between strategies and techniques –Strategies define the territory of AfL (no brainers) –Teachers are responsible for choice of techniques Allows for customization/ caters for local context Creates ownership Shares responsibility Key requirements of techniques –embodiment of deep cognitive/affective principles –relevance –feasibility –acceptability

20 Confidential & Proprietary20 Design and intervention Our design process Teachers implementation process cognitive/affective insights synergy/ comprehensiveness set of components set of components synergy/ comprehensiveness cognitive/affective insights

21 Techniques for embedding the strategies in practice

22 Confidential & Proprietary22 Questioning in Science What can we do to preserve the ozone layer? A.Reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by cars and factories B.Reduce the greenhouse effect C.Stop cutting down the rainforests D.Limit the numbers of cars that can be used when the level of ozone is high E.Properly dispose of air-conditioners and fridges

23 Confidential & Proprietary23 Questioning in English Which of these is a good thesis statement? A.The typical TV show has 9 violent incidents B.There is a lot of violence on TV C.The amount of violence on TV should be reduced D.Some programs are more violent than others E.Violence is included in programs to boost ratings F.Violence on TV is interesting G.I dont like the violence on TV H.The essay I am going to write is about violence on TV


25 Confidential & Proprietary25 Practical techniques Feedback –Not giving complete solutions –Three-fourths-of-the-way-through-a-unit test Sharing learning intentions –Annotated examples of different standards to flesh out assessment rubrics (e.g. lab reports) –Opportunities for students to design their own tests Students as owners of their own learning –Red/green discs Students as instructional resources for one another –Pre-flight checklist

26 Putting it into practice

27 Confidential & Proprietary27 Why research hasnt changed teaching The nature of expertise in teaching Aristotles main intellectual virtues –Episteme: knowledge of universal truths –Techne: ability to make things –Phronesis: practical wisdom What works is not the right question –Everything works somewhere –Nothing works everywhere –Whats interesting is under what conditions does this work? Teaching is mainly a matter of phronesis, not episteme

28 Confidential & Proprietary28 Knowledge transfer After Nonaka & Tageuchi, 1995

29 Supporting Teachers and Schools to Change through Teacher Learning Communities

30 Confidential & Proprietary30 Implementing AfL requires changing teacher habits Teachers know most of this already So the problem is not a lack of knowledge Its a lack of understanding what it means to do AfL Thats why telling teachers what to do doesnt work Experience alone is not enoughif it were, then the most experienced teachers would be the best teacherswe know thats not true (Hanushek, 2005) People need to reflect on their experiences in systematic ways that build their accessible knowledge base, learn from mistakes, etc. (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999)

31 Confidential & Proprietary31 Thats what TLCs are for: TLCs contradict teacher isolation TLCs reprofessionalize teaching by valuing teacher expertise TLCs deprivatize teaching so that teachers strengths and struggles become known TLCs offer a steady source of support for struggling teachers They grow expertise by providing a regular space, time, and structure for that kind of systematic reflecting on practice They facilitate sharing of untapped expertise residing in individual teachers They build the collective knowledge base in a school

32 Confidential & Proprietary32 The synergy Content: assessment for learning Process: teacher learning communities Components of a model –Initial workshops –Support for TLC leaders –Monthly TLC meetings –Peer observations –Drip-feed resources Web-site Writings New ideas

33 Confidential & Proprietary33 Summary Raising achievement is important Raising achievement requires improving teacher quality Improving teacher quality requires teacher professional development To be effective, teacher professional development must address –What teachers do in the classroom –How teachers change what they do in the classroom AfL + TLCs –A point of (uniquely?) high leverage –A Trojan Horse into wider issues of pedagogy, psychology, and curriculum

34 Confidential & Proprietary34 Questions? Comments?

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