Our blog posts this year have looked at assessment from different angles and perspectives. We’ve argued the importance of making assessment meaningful, and helping teachers and students see assessments as valuable tools to inform instruction, provide students with feedback about their performance, and advance students’ learning.
So how might principles of formative assessment apply in our work with teachers? Although literacy coaches do not evaluate teachers, we do work closely with them to support and strengthen their practice. In this post, we consider how we might use principles of formative assessment in this work.
We think of formative assessment as a dynamic process through which teachers gather insights about what students know and can do and determine next steps in their instruction. Embedded within these dynamic teacher-student interactions is teacher feedback that allows students to adjust their performance and supports students’ increasing independence in the learning task.
The coaching process is similarly dynamic. We use our coaching interactions with teachers to gauge where they currently are in terms of knowledge and skill; together with the teacher, we identify areas of strength and need; we provide ongoing feedback; and we promote teachers’ increasing independence in “owning” new ideas and approaches and adopting them to their specific instructional contexts and the particular needs of their students. Continue reading