Assessment takes on many different forms in education, from formative to summative and everything in between. The key to assessment though is how it is used. When thinking specifically about this indicator, I am drawn to the words feedback and personalized. This leads me down a path where assessment is used to help educators and students set goals and actively participate in their own learning. As I think about the coaches role in supporting educators I can think of some formal and informal ways of assessing students. My role as a STEM facilitator has allowed me to work with different professional learning communities (PLCs) in schools to think about how we might assess what students know, especially now during remote instruction. Through these conversations we have discovered that there are a variety of resources out there that can be used and that the question really is around what the purpose of the assessment is. Is the assessment of student learning (more summative) or is it for learning (more formative). If it is to inform next steps and setting goals then as a coach I need to support educators in determining the right resource for that. I have worked with a science PLC specifically this year where we have looked at using the polling feature in zoom to quickly assess student understanding and provide immediate feedback. We have also used Flipgrid with their students to have students self assess themselves and provide opportunity for peer-to-peer feedback as well as teacher-to-student feedback.
Another aspect of this indicator is the idea of personalized learning. This has led me to think deeper around what assessment looks like. In my blog post Thinking About Formative Assessment Differently, I specifically talk about the idea of assessing a students journey or the path they took to learning. Using tools like Taskade or Trello allow students to set goals for themselves, reflect on their progress and learning, problem solve, and communicate. Then educators can have informal conversations with students around their learning allowing students to talk about their goals and initial steps, where they currently are at in their learning, and where they want to go next. While this is a different approach to assessment it allows educators the opportunity to assess more than just content knowledge and instead allows for assessing the whole student. Through this learning I have started to take a different approach when working with a group of teachers in designing project based learning units for science. A question that I find myself asking often is how are we checking in with students on their work and how are we allowing them time to reflect on their own learning. I am planning on continuing to bring this topic into my work with these science teachers so that we can intentionally plan for how we might assess a student’s learning journey instead of waiting until the end of the project.
As I continue to think about my personal role as a coach in supporting educators to design assessments for learning I want to make sure that I am keeping the idea of feedback and personalized learning at the front. I want to make sure those ideas are at the beginning of any conversation I have with educators around assessment. How is the assessment providing feedback to students and how does it inform their learning? I also am planning on continuing to work with the science teachers on incorporating PBL into their units but would like to make sure we are focusing on how we are continually assessing students and allowing time for self-assessment instead of waiting till the end of the project. I also would like to continue to research additional digital resources that may be beneficial in allowing students to self assess and tell their learning story.
All-in-One Collaboration. Remote Team Workspace. (n.d.). Taskade. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://www.taskade.com/
Flipgrid. (n.d.). Flipgrid. Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://info.flipgrid.com/
ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches
Trello. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2021, from https://trello.com