mstan's Reviews > Embedded Formative Assessment - practical strategies and tools for K-12 teachers

Embedded Formative Assessment - practical strategies and tool... by Dylan Wiliam
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's review
Oct 04, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: teaching, british, non-fiction, src-fall-2012
Recommended to mstan by: Work
Recommended for: All teachers
Read from October 04 to 06, 2012 , read count: 1

I first read Wiliam and Black's "Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment" (1998) (just google it) two years ago, and it had a profound effect on the way I thought about assessment in the classroom. Engagement in good assessment practices is not something that comes naturally to teachers, in my opinion, except perhaps in the form of asking good questions and giving students sufficient (but not too much) wait time. Actually, most teachers in this system would think of assessment as the setting of exams - and not as classroom practice!

After reading Wiliam and Black, I started to set out success criteria more explicitly, and started to emphasise improvement (rather than achievement) and peer learning/coaching more (also because of my belief in the triangle that shows that one learns best by teaching - if one is equipped with the skills to teach).

Having had the opportunity now to read this book by Dylan Wiliam, I am even more in awe of the simplicity and effectiveness of his arguments and methods. It all sounds absolutely commonsensical, and nothing takes elaborate preparation to implement. What he does require, though, is for teachers to be more 'thinking' in their approach towards the setting and posing of questions - and make the distinction between good diagnostic (to check understanding) and discussion (to generate critical conversations) questions.

Professional development and reading can be challenging in the context of everyday school life but I think they are absolutely essential for any teacher who wishes to hone his craft. Evidence-based research such as that presented by Wiliam is extremely compelling, and what he advocates on the basis of this research takes teachers beyond activities that merely engage students affectively and behaviourally, to those that engage students cognitively.

('The Classroom Experiment' on youtube shows how many of the strategies and principles he advocates play out in a UK classroom.)

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Reading Progress

10/04/2012 page 61
37.0% ""It is relatively easy to think up cool stuff for students to do in classrooms, but the problem with such an activity-based approach is that too often, it is not clear what the students are going to learn." (Wiliam, 2011, p. 61)"

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