Why We Should use SLOs to Support Student Learning Recovery

Student learning objectives (SLOs) are intended to be a teacher-centered reflection process about supporting student learning over the course of a year or throughout the duration of a course. This is a particularly important process as we work to recover from and persist through continued learning disruptions as a result of the pandemic. Many teachers …

Synergizing Assessment with Learning Science to Support Accelerated Learning Recovery: Understanding by Design

In this third and culminating blog on the topic of synergizing assessment with learning science, I advocate that we unify our educational ecosystem through a common theory of learning to ensure we accelerate, recover, and personalize learning opportunities for each student. To accomplish this vision of what public education can and should look like, we …

Synergizing Assessment with Learning Science to Support Accelerated Learning Recovery: Principled Assessment Design

A key aspect of formative assessment is that teachers collect and interpret samples of student work or analyze items to diagnose where students are in their learning. Busy teachers are faced with two choices. They can count the responses answered correctly by topic and move on; or stop, grab a cup of steaming hot coffee, …

Synergizing Assessment with Learning Science to Support Accelerated Learning Recovery: Preamble

Across the country, we see evidence that students are learning at slower rates than in years past, particularly in mathematics. For example, Curriculum Associates’ researchers found an additional 6% of students were not ready to access on-grade instruction in mathematics in Fall 2020 compared to historical trends. My former colleagues at NWEA found student achievement …

Creating Engaging Relationships with Students Online

Elise Ince University of South Carolina E-teaching requires learning new online skills: how to administer an exam from a distance, how to share documents, hold office hours, use Zoom, and poll students. To help teachers in this matter, one can count on your administration to provide a plethora of guidance, how to videos, and other …

Leveraging Classroom Assessment to Accelerate Student Learning

Do you measure student growth in learning or measure how much a student learned based on the learning targets from an assessment? I’m asking for a friend.  In a year where we are worried about catching students up to pre-pandemic levels of achievement, could we optimize the use of grading practices to accelerate learning? Assessment …

Creating Support Systems for the Use of Learning Progressions

Teachers report they need more sophisticated and nuanced support systems to understand and facilitate student learning. These supports go beyond state standards, the district curriculum and pacing guide, and published textbook materials. How do I support this claim? Evidence! I have been lucky enough to gather evidence about what teachers want through empirical studies in …

Mastery Progressions and Competency Determinations During COVID-19: A Local Lens

On March 30, 2020, the South Carolina Department of Education released their memorandum, “COVID-19 Grade Reporting Guidance.” The guidance, from my perspective, encourages districts and teachers to implement mastery learning by allowing students opportunities to revise and resubmit work to increase their grade. Here is the key phrase I believe is central to the department’s …

We All Need Grace: The Case Against Zero’s

If you ever want a lively educational debate, ask a teacher or administrator about his or her grading system for missing or late work.  What is your policy? Based on survey data, teachers and principals frequently believe it is ethical and appropriate to give zeros for missing or late work (Green, Johnson, Kim, & Pope, …

Rubric Descriptors that Support Student Growth: Focus on Feedback and Action

Rubrics, a common classroom and high stakes tool to measure student learning, tend to describe desired performance qualities of student work on the right and deficits on the left. Oftentimes, rubric developers attempt to quantify student errors by counting or using descriptors such as “numerous,” “frequent,” or “many.” Often such descriptors target the lowest scoring …