Looking closely together at student work can unveil a treasure trove of insights to guide school communities as they reflect on their purpose, assess their progress, and plan strategies for reaching all children better. It’s scary work, though, and respectful protocols can help. The New York Times Science pages recently told the story of the heart surgeons in Maine, New
At the Prospect Center for Education and Research in Bennington, Vermont, Patricia Carini developed one of the earliest and most influential processes for reflecting on students and their work. As the Center began to archive examples of student work from the Prospect School, an independent school founded in 1965, Carini and her staff recognized the potential for teacher learning through
What might one learn by examining all the student work produced during a narrow time period by a broad sample of students in a particular school or district? In a 1996 project of the Bush Educational Leaders Program at the University of Minnesota, one Minnesota district agreed to capture such data in a “vertical slice” that would gather one day’s
In “Learning from Student Work,” Eric Buchovecky of the Atlas Communities project has described a collaborative process adapted from the work of Mark Driscoll at Education Development Center and that of Steve Seidel and others at Harvard University’s Project Zero. The piece lays out useful reminders for how participants can stay focused on the evidence before them and on listening
In six urban school districts, Dennie Palmer Wolf’s Performance Assessment Collaboratives in Education (PACE) at Harvard University has focused on portfolios as a means to look at learning over time. When PACE teachers come together to look at their students’ portfolios, however, they often focus not only on whether substantial learning has taken place over a span of, say, one
Many Coalition schools have begun regularly inviting a panel of outsiders-university people, legislators, members of the business community, and other educators-into the school to review and comment on a sample of student portfolios and exhibitions. At University Heights High School in the Bronx, the External Review gathers some two dozen outsiders in for three hours to look at one particular
Developed in 1988 by Steve Seidel and his colleagues at Harvard University’s Project Zero, the Collaborative Assessment Conference asks teachers to look together at pieces of student work and discuss, quite literally, what they see in the work. Through observing and describing the work, participants practice “looking more and seeing more” of what is in the work. The protocol is
The Primary Language Record British educators developed the Primary Language Record in 1985 as a framework for observing students. developing skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Teachers take notes on classroom events and samples of work, add information provided by parents, and a rich conversation develops over time-with subsequent teachers, with parents, and with students themselves-about the student’s needs,
The “tuning protocol” was developed by David Allen and Joe McDonald at the Coalition of Essential Schools primarily for use in looking closely at student exhibitions. In the outline below, unless otherwise noted, time allotments indicated are the suggested minimum for each task. I. Introduction [10 minutes]. Facilitator briefly introduces protocol goals, norms and agenda. Participants briefly introduce themselves. II.
What intellectual standards should serve as a foundation for the highest quality teaching and learning? Fred Newmann, who directs the Center on Organization and Restructuring Schools at the University of Wisconsin, has come up with a set of criteria for what he calls “authentic instruction and assessment,” which can serve as a resource for reflection by teachers examining student work.