Sunday, November 17, 2013

Formative Assessment: Dylan Wiliam


     Formative Assessment is continually buzzing through educational circles. It is particularly loud in  #SBGChat led by Dr. Darin Jolly, @DrJolly.  Last week, I had the pleasure of attending three sessions on Formative Assessment by the renown Dr. Dylan Wiliam, @DylanWiliam, at the Arkansas Public Schools Resource Center's Fall Conference, #APSRC13.  Dr. William led me to Tweet rather voraciously. He began by suggesting that educators need to stop arguing about what is and what isn't formative assessment. Ultimately, it is using information to adapt the learning to put the learning back on track. It is constantly making adjustments.
Why was I so engaged?  He was saying things that I knew would help our students and teachers achieve their goals. He was reinforcing ideas that we already knew, but had changed, or drifted away from toward newer ideas. The best teachers have always used formative assessment-even if they don't vocalize that they do. We must encourage our teachers to adapt to their current students by using formative assessment to provide timely feedback. We must stop the cycle of teaching/testing ad infinitum. Our students should receive nonverbal, verbal, and written feedback so that they can attain their goals.

So what is formative assessment?

Using evidence of achievement to adapt what happens in classrooms to meet learner needs

Dr. Wilam's work can be found on his website.  He freely provides his presentations, papers, podcasts, blog, and resources.

Our Cluster has ordered Dylan Wiliam's Professional development DVDs on Formative Assessment. It is professional development worth sharing.

More  videos are available at

What is your school doing with formative assessment?

A few of my tweets are available below.

  1. Mock tests do less to prepare students to raise achievement. Have the students write questions and answers
  2. PD should include choice, flexibility, accountability, support, and small steps
  3. Failure=plan b. plan ahead for your reaction to failure Rally the herd

  1. "we need to help existing teachers get better."-Dylan Wiliams
  2. We should share whee we are going with students. But, we may not always know. Sometimes it spoils the journey.
  3. "the best teachers have always used formative assessment"
  4. best formative assessment teachers are using it every 5 minutes.
  5. "improve the effectiveness of existing teachers. It can be done."
  6. says one additional year of school = 1.7 years longer life

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