Teaser: Embedding Formative Assessment

“Teachers need professional development because the job of teaching is so difficult, so complex, that one lifetime is not enough to master it.”  Dylan Wiliam

I am currently reading Dylan Wiliam’s recent book Embedded Formative Assessment which embodies a thirty-five-year journey.  Below are selected quotes from the first chapter which I present a teaser and a link to a manageable article written on the topic of Formative Assessment.

“All other things being equal, the OECD data show that private school teachers achieve with classes of nineteen what public school teachers achieve with classes of twenty-six…”

“Schools have improved dramatically, but changes in the workplace have been even more extraordinary.”

“The one really competitive skill is the skill of being able to learn.”  Seymour Papert (1998)

“A bad curriculum well taught is invariably a better experience for students that a good curriculum badly taught; pedagogy trumps curriculum.  Or more precisely, pedagogy is curriculum, because what matters is how things are taught, rather than what is taught.”

On the need to provide professional development to go with new technology:

“…surely it is right to ask whether the same number of  hours of professional development could be more usefully, and less expensively, used in another way.”

On variability between schools and within schools:

“It turns out that as long as you go to school (and that’s important), then it does not matter very much which school you go to, but it matters very much which classrooms you’re in.”

“The most critical difference is simply the quality of the teacher.”

On performance pay:

“…the vast majority of teacher are trying everything they can to increase their students’ achievement.  There is certainly no evidence that there are teachers who are holding onto a secret proven method for teaching fractions until someone pays them more money.”

On equity and excellence:

“It is clear that there is a strong trend for the countries with the highest average of achievement to have much closer outcomes for their young people.”

“Rather than thinking about narrowing the gap, we should set a goal of proficiency for all, excellence for many, with all student groups fairly represented in the excellent.  And the way to achieve this is to increase teacher quality.”

On how to increase teacher quality:

“Teacher deselection may be politically attractive — after all, who could possibly be against getting rid of ineffective teachers?  But it is hard to do, it may not work anyway, and even when it does work, it is a slow process.”

“…we have to help improve the quality of those teachers already working in our schools —  what Marnie Thompson, my former colleague at ETS, calls the “love the one you’re with” strategy”

Jordan Tinney Blog Post: Getting the Right People on the Bus or Getting the Most Out of Those Already on the Bus

“… while there are many possible ways in which we could seek to develop the practice of serving teachers, attention to minute-by-minute and day-to-day formative assessment is likely to have the biggest impact on student outcomes.”

Article: Classroom Assessment: Minute by Minute, Day by Day (2005)

“The reason that teachers need professional development has nothing to do with professional updating.  As far as I am aware, there haven’t been any real breakthroughs in teaching for the last two thousand years.  Teachers need professional development because the job of teaching is so difficult, so complex, that one lifetime is not enough to master it.”


About J Martens

Educator living in Vancouver and working in SD37 Delta. Supporting Numeracy while learning how formative assessment, literacy, inquiry, and technology serve to improve learning and increase engagement (for teachers & students).
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2 Responses to Teaser: Embedding Formative Assessment

  1. Pingback: The Start of Something Beautiful | Renovating My Classroom

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