March 28, 2014

News from FETC: Dean Shareski Shares Four Big Ideas about Assessment

Four Big Ideas about Assessment - Dean ShareskiWhat’s the statute of limitations for sharing good thinking from a conference? Two months ago today, the Florida Education Technology Conference began in Orlando, Fla. There was so much thought-provoking discussion that we didn’t have time highlight it all. However, as all of us in the business of ideas know, good thinking does not have an expiration date. So today, we thought we’d share a bit from a session, titled “If You Hate Assessment, You’re Doing It Wrong,” by Dean Shareski, community manager for Discovery Education Canada.

Shareski, a former teacher of first through eighth grades and currently an instructor for pre-service teachers at University of Regina, began his presentation by asking, “How do you define learning?”

“We are in the business of learning, and yet we have a hard time defining exactly what it is,” he said. “And that’s not because we’re not bright people. It’s because it’s a really hard question. If you make the answer really simple, I think you’re missing something. It should be a difficult question. It should be a question that we ask ourselves and each other all the time.”

Shareski went on to make the point that if learning is complex then we should not expect assessment to be simple. He then challenged educators to begin to think differently about assessment. “Assessment is not a spreadsheet,” he said. “It’s a conversation.” And for Shareski, the assessment conversation starts with doing a better job of documenting learning.

To do that, Shareski emphasized “four big ideas that really turn the tables and change assessment from something we don’t like to something we actually enjoy.”

Self/Peer Assessment. “If we believe that assessment is embedded in the learning, then we can’t say [the students] own all the learning and [the teacher] owns all the assessment,” he said. “We need to figure out a way to make our students more part of that process.” Shareski offered a couple of suggestions for drawing students into the process:

  • Make the notion of social learning integral to the learning process. “I argue that every teacher, from kindergarten on, should ask their students these two questions: What did you learn from others? What did you contribute to the learning of others?” he said. By establishing the expectation that students should contribute to the class’s understanding, students will begin to pay attention to others around them and start thinking about who they can learn from.
  • Students Choose Weighting. After setting some guidelines, Shareski typically gives students a 5- to 10-percent leeway for the weighting of assessments of their learning. “Having that choice makes a very big difference for them,” he says.
  • Have Students Grade Themselves. Calling it a “really interesting process,” Shareski suggested having students document their learning and grade themselves. By doing that, educators can help students develop an essential tool for life-long learning.

Put Technology to Work. Shareski encouraged educators to put technology to work to “capture the learning so that we can look back and reflect on it.” Photo and videos are just two ways for students to document their learning. He also shared that he uses the “secret” email address in Evernote to allow students to send their mid-term assessments to him. In these assessments, he asks his students to share what they’ve learned, what they’re struggling with, what they’re feeling good about, and how he can better support them. Shareski then responds vocally to their observations through a feature in Evernote. He says the recording makes it easy to share feedback and that the recording more accurately conveys both the message and emotion of his feedback.

Make It Matter. Shareski emphasized that “simply taking their work and saying we’re going to share this work with other people changes the game.” He encouraged educators to think of the world as our refrigerator. Document classwork on YouTube. Share pictures on Flickr. Create a blog. “We need to put value on the work,” he said. “[By doing this, you respond] to the question, ‘Why do I have to learn this?’”

Model. Educators should model metacognition for their students. “We do have to model what this looks like,” he says. “This can’t be something we just ask kids to do.” Talk about your learning. Make it part of the everyday classroom experience. By doing that, it will become part of the student’s everyday experience–both inside and outside the classroom.

Visit Shareski’s blog, Ideas and Thoughts: Learning Stuff Since 1964 at http://shareski.ca/y/3h4 for more insights about teaching and learning.

Interested in reading more about formative assessment? READ OUR POST about the recent eSchool News panel discussion, which was sponsored by SunGard K-12 Education.

Tags: , , ,


Comments and Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Recent Posts

Gratitude in Leadership
November 26, 2014

SNUG 2014: Radnor Township School District, Pa., Presents Blueprint for Positively Affecting Student Achievement with PerformanceTRACKER
November 25, 2014

SNUG 2014: Radnor Township School District, Pa., Offers Tips for a Successful PerformanceTRACKER Implementation
November 24, 2014

SNUG 2014: Northside ISD, Texas, Presents Business Case for District Course Catalogs
November 20, 2014

It’s National Novel Writing Month: Your Novel is Waiting to be Written
November 19, 2014


News

eSchoolPLUS Family App Tightens Feedback Loop between Schools and Families to Enhance Student Achievement
November 18, 2014

Montrose Area School District, Pa., upgrades to the latest version of the eFinancePLUS
November 7, 2014

Derry Township School District, Pa., upgrades to the latest version of the eFinancePLUS financial and human resource management system
October 31, 2014

Hopkinton School District SAU 66, N.H., selects eFinancePLUS financial and human resource management system
October 27, 2014

PerformancePLUS Named Best Online District Management System in 19th Annual Education Software Review Awards Program
October 23, 2014


Customer Success

Weslaco ISD Chooses eSchoolPLUS for Regulatory Support, End-User Experience
November 4, 2014

Lenawee Monroe Technology Consortium Shares Best Practices for Enterprise-Class Software Implementations
October 21, 2014

Upper Dublin School District Leverages Integrated Data for Excellence
August 26, 2014

Paramus Public Schools Builds a Data-Focused Culture
August 21, 2014

SunGard K-12 Education Celebrates Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Schools
August 8, 2014


Subscribe

Enter your email address:


Archive
  • November 2014 (13)
  • October 2014 (16)
  • September 2014 (7)
  • August 2014 (17)
  • July 2014 (17)
  • June 2014 (25)
  • May 2014 (16)
  • April 2014 (20)
  • March 2014 (11)
  • February 2014 (15)

  • Our best-in-class applications help districts across the country improve student achievement and increase efficiency. Sign up below to learn how to Lead without Limits in your district.

    Get More Info

    Latest Tweets

    Self-determination is a lifelong skill that has supported the success of adults with learning disabilities bit.ly/1CgXCui #learning

    About 2 days ago

    Customer Quotes

    © SunGard 2002 – 2014