Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seven Practices for Effective Learning

Seven Practices for Effective Learning

7 Practices for Effective Learning.docx

McTighe, J, & O'Connor, K. (2005). Seven practies for effective learning. Assessment to Promote Learning, 63(3), 10-17.


This particular article hits right in my area of key interest. As a learner and teacher I have identified how having clear targets and sound assessment practices improves student motivation, satisfaction and ultimately success! In This article first identifies three categories of assessment: Summative (what has been learned?), Diagnostic (pre-assessment), and Formative (concur within instruction to guide teaching to improve learning).

Highlights of the 7 Practices:

1. Using Summative to frame the goals! Wow, that's a great idea! Creating the summative assessment and presenting to the class at the beginning of the course as a means of explaining the learning targets is brilliant! Simple but makes so much sense! "By knowing what the culminating assessments will be, students are bettter able to focus on what the teachers expect them to learn!" The example given suggests having a knowledge based assessment as well as a performance based assessment. - Let the students know what knowledge you will be testing them on and what they need to "create/perform" to demonstrate that they know how to apply that knowledge!

2. Show criteria and models in advance. Another simple and effective strategy! Show the students examples of finished work that meets the criteria, exceeds the criteria and show them what doesn't cut it. Use the rubric as you show these examples and have them identify where they fall in the rubric and why. Then, while the student is completing the work they have a much clearer picture on what they should be doing!

3. Assess before teaching...find out what students know by giving a formal or informal diagnostic assessment. This way you know where to begin!

4. Give choice. Students embrace choice and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. By providing choice in output options you give students an opportunity to demonstrate competency using their strengths. This is motivating for the student. Make sure the choices reflect the target!

5. Provide feedback! Yes, students need to hear if they are on or off track. Encourage them when you can as this is very motivating.

6. Encourage self-assessment and goal setting. One thing I liked to do is conference with each student during a project while others were working. This way we could look at where they were at, what their personal goals were for the assignment and assessment and see if they needed any additional support to get there. It was a great way for me to see - who could slip through the cracks if they didn't get more attention and who was flying on their own.

7. I LOVE #7! "Allow new evidence of achievement to replace old evidence of achievement." I just had an issue with my son's teacher who gave him a ZERO because he couldn't get his fingers on the assignment he completed when asked. Turns out it was in his binder all along. He completed all the math problems and she gave him NO credit! My other son's math teacher gives him partial credit when he replaces evidence of learning.
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