- assessment of learning (summative)
- assessment for learning (formative)
- assessment as learning (formative)
Some kinds of assessment raise achievement, and some merely measure it, Dylan Wiliam told the educators at his session, titled "Classroom Assessment: Minute by Minute and Day by Day."
The assessments that researchers have found most effective at raising achievement are those that teachers make minute by minute and day by day in the classroom and then use almost immediately to adjust their lessons. For example, teachers who walk the aisles to check on what the class needs to work on next are gathering more helpful data than they would if they used the same time to help two or three individuals with specific problems, he said.
Asking diagnostic questions is another way to find out what students do and don't know. A simple technique like an exit question (a question every student answers before leaving class) can help the teacher know how many students have grasped a basic concept or skill and whether to reteach the concept the next day.
Asking every student to choose one of several answers is another way to make sure students are engaged throughout the lesson. Teachers should not allow students to choose not to participate. Research shows that the more students think and talk in class, the more they learn. But questioning should not be scary, Wiliam reminded the group. If the student answers "I don't know," a good reply might be, "I know, but if you did know, what would you think?" The point is that no student should be able to "choose not to think."
To demonstrate some of his strategies with the audience, Wiliam had the group predict which of several answers were correct and then explain why they chose the answers they did. Such reflection and analysis are part of learning, he said.
Wiliam's final message: Classroom instruction matters most in boosting achievement, and improving questioning and feedback techniques will improve the effectiveness of teachers.