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Discussion: Developing and discussing classroom assessment strategies

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posted by: Trisha Herminghaus on March 8, 2000 at 3:41PM
subject: Introduction
I am a professional developer on an elementary science LSC in Anchorage,
Alaska. We are in the 5th year of our project. In the first couple of years
of the project our workshops focused on teaching the kits and providing
content. Once the teachers were familiar with the kit materials we focused
most of the rest of our training on inquiry and assessment. We are continuing
to work in the area of assessment.

The ideas that Dr. Paul Black shared with us at the PI's meeting were
fascinating and have great implications for the work that all of us are doing.
Since the conference I have been experimenting with comments on journal
reflections that are turned in to me as part of a class that I am teaching.
Originally we gave simple marks on the journal pages to show whether or not
the writing met the criteria established at the beginning of the class.

My challenge has been to use the comments I write to push the teachers
thinking to the next level, or to encourage the teachers to reflect in a more
meaningful way. Giving a mark that indicates someone's work is lacking the
depth you are looking for is relatively easy... To make a comment that will
help nudge them to a deeper, more reflective level of thinking has been a
challenge. Is this what Dr. Black was encouraging us to consider? I like the
idea of jumping in and finding out how to make this work, but am still
struggling with what makes a meaningful comment that will make a difference in
a students thinking. Perhaps this comes with practice... Maybe I will
begin to see a difference in the next journal entries...

I am looking forward to ideas that others have, as well as experiences any of
the projects have working with teachers and students in the area of formative
assessment. Thanks to the Rhode Island team for the reference to the book
with specific ideas along this line.
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