FUSION, NWEA’s summer conference was this week. Wow! Had the opportunity to listen to and learn with amazing educators from around the world. “Celebrity” speakers were energizing. Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy talked about formative assessment and teacher learning communities. They shared the challenges to changing teacher behavior (habits), which is applicable to all habits. Guess what? It isn’t all that quick or easy. They also spoke to the need to support teachers in getting better – it has a direct effect on our kids and how they learn. Tom Guskey spoke about grading. What is our purpose in giving kids grades for everything they do? Vicky Bernhardt talked about data and school improvement. Who knew? The use of data supports school improvement. And MAK Mitchell talked about the value of consensus to a school community.
Educators shared wonderful stories…about growth in a Navajo school where school growth moved from a -5 growth index to a plus 6 (RIT scores) in one year! Or the reservation school outside Bismarck ND where a trial of mentoring a few students for a period of time resulted in 14-point RIT gain for those students…and when it was tried a second time (to prove it wasn’t a fluke) the average growth was 12 points.
Then there was Beth Cobb who was willing to talk to everyone about the magic that can happen when formative assessment becomes the way we teach in a school. Beth was a district professional development person when Keeping Learning on Track came to her district. She requested a class to teach so she could try out all the strategies and techniques the she was teaching to the teachers. She went on to be a district administrator who has taken this program to a new district. She shared experiences about students becoming advocates for their own learning; teachers supporting each other in the change process; and a climate change that moved beyond single classrooms, to encompass whole schools and the whole district.
Educators from around the world gathered to learn, share and reflect together – supporting NWEA’s mission of partnering to help all kids learn.
Just had a chance to review Tami Bowlden’s new web site – ForTheTeachers.org. If you are a MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) user and looking for connections to Common Core Standards you will want to check this out. Tami has taken the DesCartes tool from NWEA which is aligned to Common Core and created a wealth of instructional ladders in three content areas – reading, math and language. Take a look and let us know what you think (post a comment here, please).
Plotting the depths of lakes and oceans – really interesting view (great infographic), inclusive of James Cameron’s “mysterious door”
What do recruiters look at when they peruse your resume? Eye-tracking software can tell us – For years I have used the style where my education is at the end. I’ll have to rethink that if sending my resume to a recruiter. There were six main points they focused on: name, current company and title, previous company and title, previous position start and end dates, current position start and end dates, and education.
New and hot off the press for Web Based MAP — NWEA has new, interactive e-learning to bring proctors, teachers, and other users up to speed quickly. (Not for client-server partners at this time.) It’s called MAP Essentials, and you can share it today with your staff. Coming soon, you will see more training modules. Also, the MAP Essentials link will be available directly from the MAP home page in place of the existing tutorials.
It is important to remember that being a good reader comes before being a good test taker and here is what the Book Whisperer has to say on that subject…
Like some of the work NWEA has done with the Bureau of Indian Education – Learning coaches are a recommendation from the Wallace Foundation…
…and in Danbury CT — Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor urged state residents to call for education reform this past Thursday. A shift from teacher-training lectures to coaching in the classroom and small group instruction would help educators improve their craft, he said. This “small group instruction” fits the Teacher Learning Community model well.
If you use MAP and want to understand more about the growth data, register for this free, NWEA webinar on April 18th. Dr. John Cronin, Director of the Kingsbury Center at NWEA, will explain the distinctions between projected growth and aspirational growth targets, and how to effectively use growth metrics to better understand your student learning outcomes.
The Colorado Growth Model and students at West Denver Prep – not just measuring achievement
Dylan Wiliam explains how formative assessment can improve teacher effectiveness and student learning in a new webinar, “Practical Techniques for Implementing Formative Assessment.” You can access this second in a series of three free webinars on formative assessment here.
Check out this case study and the use of MAP – Reversing Low Math Performance: A “Paradigm Shift” – Wayzata High School