Empowering the learner

From David Townsend, Pamela Adams, and Robert White in Successful Assessment for Learning Projects from AISI Cycle 3:

We offered students exemplars of good work to help them establish criteria and to participate in the development of rubrics. We used strategies, such as graphic organizers, structured questioning, journals, portfolios, self-assessment, cooperative learning, learning conferences and increased communication with parents, to make sure students had every opportunity to produce their best work. We gave them descriptive feedback tied to learner outcomes and we made it clear that there would be no zeroes, but there would be second chances. What do you think happened? Students, teachers and parents had a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment and there was a measurable growth in the achievement of learner outcomes.

What a powerful statement against heavy summative style assessment! Self-assessment and guided learning leads to student growth? More, please! One of the key statements I pulled from this is that descriptive feedback from the instructor needs to be tied to learner outcomes, not the systems outcomes or the teacher’s outcomes. This is about empowering the learner to take control of their own education.

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