Reflecting Back, Moving Forward: Feeling Stuck?

Doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Einstein

Do you sometimes feel like you’re stuck? You may feel like your wheels are spinning? I spoke with a principal last week and that’s how she was feeling. ‘I feel like we’re trying the same recommended, high-yield strategies to support student learning but the students aren’t learning!’

Let’s take the analogy further. How might you get a car unstuck? Perhaps by adding materials that will provide greater traction? Perhaps by adding a support to leverage and lift up and over the barrier?

How might assessment and instructional strategies provide traction to move student learning forward? We contend that harnessing the power of assessment is the keystone. We know that sharing and clarifying learning goals coupled with collaboratively developing students’ understanding of success criteria over time is essential. What’s next? Visualize, not a linear or additive process but, a constant push and pull (like the rocking needed to get a car unstuck): pushing into the learning with relevant tasks, then pulling out connections aligned to the learning goals and success criteria for deeper understanding, then… repeating the loop!

Even without thinking about it, you assess student progress all day long, every day. You observe, you talk to students about what they are learning, you ask students to show you what they are doing, you ask questions and so much more. (Fennel, McCord Kobett, Wray, 2017, p. 16.)

running-297154_1280One last thought, and a call to action! You witness learning every day. Does this testimony float up to the clouds and remain a distant memory or is it captured in a concrete way to be interpreted as evidence of learning over time? Open a dialogue with a colleague. What strategies add traction to move student learning forward?

Stay tuned for a series of posts related to Applying Learning Goals and Success Criteria.

Fennel, F., McCord Kobett, B., Wray, Jonathan. (2017). The Formative 5: Everyday Assessment Techniques for Every Math Classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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