Monitoring and measurement are things that I know I am supposed to do in my role as Literacy Consultant, but it is something I find the most difficult to do.
In a recent collaborative inquiry with teachers on inquiry-based learning, my colleague Sonia Racco and I tried to come up with a pre and post tool that was formatted similar to OSSLT questions. One question asked students to create a question, the next asked them to summarize the main idea, and the third asked them to make a connection. We used a graphic text. And when we set out to do this, it seemed reasonable enough…
And yet, by the end of the inquiry, teachers had really moved in their understanding of inquiry-based learning and had tried it out in their own classrooms. They brought student questions to the table and when we looked at them together, teachers and students were asking good questions, were engaged in critical thinking, and were genuinely interested in learning. Students also created some really neat artefacts of their learning which we shared at one of our sessions.
And we decided that giving the post-diagnostic in the format we had given the pre-diagnostic did not make sense. Because what mattered to us was the fact that teachers and students were engaged in a learner-centered process of learning and felt more comfortable with the stages of inquiry-based learning.
And so I struggle with the idea of assessing innovative practice. If we are using standardized test measurements to determine “success” of a school community in 2016, are we missing the point entirely? What are some more powerful measures of success? How can we convince parents that these measures are more valuable than report card marks and test scores? How can we convince other stakeholders?
I go back to my What Ifs from another #InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop and can’t help but think that we do have the tools and the creativity to make a shift in practice here.
What if, we used technology tools such as Explain everything or iMovie (insert any other similar tool here) to capture the learning reflections and thinking of students and shared these as artifacts with the wider community?
What if instead of a Fraser Report, the true report of a successful school could be told through the voice of a student? And not just a student on a Council, but a student in grade 9 applied or grade 12 open? A dis-engaged grade 7 student?
What if the school climate exit cards could be captured in video reflections and garnered as much credence as the formulaic exit cards Districts are currently collecting? Can school climate be measured by how happy kids are? how interested they are in their learning? How effectively they can read, write, represent, create, think critically?
I already see video reflections being used as a means to capture learning and reflection at several levels. I see George Couros modelling this during in his work with teachers and administrators. (Check out #LDSBCollaborate and the video reflections there) . I see Jen Hegna, Director of Information and Learning Technology for Byron Public Schools in Minnesota use video reflections to capture the learning experiences of teachers and students in her District to create a Board report summarizing a 1:1 iPad initiative. I see the 21st Century learning branch of Ontario creating a resource for what technology-enabled learning looks like in classrooms across the province (of which I am honoured to be a part). I see principals such as Doug Timm creating video newsletters for his parent community. And I see it in classrooms whereby children beginning in Kindergarten are explaining their thinking and learning and this learning is being shared with parents to change the conversation around, “What did you do in school today?”.
Rethinking our assessment practices is not impossible; it just requires a shift in what we value as a true gauge of what innovation and learning looks like.
Check out these other blogs on the topic. What I love about them is how each have approached the topic so differently!
What are your ideas about how we might assess innovative practice? Add your blog URL to the OSSEMOOC Blog Hop or feel free to comment here.