The Start of Something Beautiful

In the May 2012 issue of Education Update Brad Kutz shares how he shifts students’ focus away from grades and onto learning.  (article)

Brad’s front-loading is similar to the work that I have seen many teachers in Vancouver doing (in Mathematics, Science, Socials, and English) and it is having a very positive effect student engagement & learning.  This can be explored further in Chapter 3: Clarifying, Sharing & Understanding Learning Intentions and Success Criteria of Dylan Wiliam‘s recent book Embedded Formative Assessment.

Some of the key pieces to this work:

  1. focus on specific learning targets* (phrased in language that students can understand)
  2. share learning targets with students
  3. refer to learning targets whenever introducing/exploring new material
  4. “engage students in a conversation about what it means to demonstrate proficiency”
  5. give students multiple opportunities to show proficiency

*sometimes called learning intentions or learning goals

Note: Learning Intentions do not need to be reductive or a simply checklist.  This caused me angst when I first started this work but Cindy Strickland’s work on Differentiated Instructive was very helpful to me.  Here’s my story…


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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