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Friday, October 28, 2011

Upcoming Resources/Formative Assessment Lessons

Ms. Becky and Ms. Kelli are representing our school in the state Leadership Network this year. Each month they receive information and teaching strategies for English Language Arts and Math. The topics for this month included The Literacy Design Collaborative(LDC) and the Math Design Collaborative (MDC) which brings the standards into the classroom through the use of Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs). Several districts in the state are taking part in this pilot program which is supported by a Grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Here is a link from Kentucky Teacher that explains the process of each.

We will be discussing this in more detail at future staff meetings. The ideas that they bring back each month from the network, will be communicated to everyone via staff meetings or this blog. Below, I have included how Kenton County schools have structured a Formative Assessment Lesson which is part of the Math Design Collaborative.

The structure of a Formative Assessment Lesson:
  • Students complete a pre-assessment which is given a day or two before the lesson and is used to gather data on students' current level of understanding and misconceptions. The teacher provides descriptive feedback to students to aid in moving the learner forward.
  • Students participate in a collaborative activity to exchange constructive feedback with thier peers and resolve misconceptions through discussion.
  • Students then have the opportunity to share thier findings and learn from other groups in a whole-class discussion whcih is student led, but carefully engineered by the teacher.
  • Finally, students have the opportunity to return to the pre-assessment and revise their individual work to proficiency.
FALs switch around the usual classroom hierarchy. Students who figure out an answer first find themselves as "not the only ones with the right answers." As a result, everyone is engaged and challenged, even if each student's final destination is not identical. Students enjoy breaking out of the repetitiveness of formal lessons, and appear to value "the chance to approach a math probelm without the front loading of ideas and skills." It stops being math, and instead becomes an interesting question!

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