Creating and Empowering Learners – A Framework for School Improvement and Student Success

04/11/2014  | 
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Pasi Stahlberg, education guru from Finland states that “Visitors to the Finnish schools are surprised at how much the responsibility of learning in Finnish schools is with the pupils”.

Dr. Stahlberg indicates key strategies for success in Finland’s success include equity in all schools, empowering teachers which, in turn, empowers students to take ownership of their learning. The Finnish model emphasizes a focus on the primary schools with terrific teachers as key factors in their success.

There are no high stakes tests until the PISA International tests are administered to students at the high school level. Dr. Stahlberg credits much of the success to Finland implementing key research based innovations from other countries including the United States. He specifically mentions assessment for learning as one of the developments that Finland has successfully implemented in their schools.

The extensive research by Dr. John Hattie has identified key approaches to delivering student achievement in all subject areas and all grade levels, says Dr. Darrell Ward, CEO of ALL In Learning. ALL of these instructional approaches relate directly to assessment for learning. The ability of teachers to leverage these important achievement drivers with simple technology is the heart and passion of ALL In Learning. Our team pioneered student response technology into the education market beginning in 2000 as leaders of eInstruction Corporation and now ALL In Learning seeks to maximize the teacher’s capability to deliver assessment for learning and minimize the need for them to be technology specialists. We have created an environment that, we believe, delivers students that take responsibility for their learning and provide teachers the tools to activate, direct, evaluate, motivate and mold learners to be growth oriented.

Here are the simple yet powerful instructional tools available to our users on a daily basis:

  • Rapid formative assessment
  • Evidence-based feedback
  • Frequent common assessments
  • Mastery Learning
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Data Teams

Here are the simple, yet powerful technology tools available to our users on a daily basis.

  • Affordable student response systems ($165 for a classroom set)
  • Affordable document camera ($35)
  • iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch Apps for teachers and students
  • Cloud based environment with subject specific book related content (Max of $200 per teacher per year)
  • Pearson item bank of assessments coordinated to
    Common Core Standards and/or 31 state standards

Let’s consider a formal program for school improvement based on the above instructional and technology tools.

Rapid formative assessment, evidence-based feedback, cooperative learning applications

  1. Initiate each lesson utilizing an interactive activity using individual student response pads focused on the learning intentions and the success criteria

    Get student buy in on your learning objectives and criteria for success. You may want to team them up and respond as a team. Engage the students early and provide feedback based on their responses. Message the growth in learning that they can achieve during this lesson.
  2. Take full advantage of cooperative learning fundamentals regularly

    One team member can bubble in answers to a problem set that can be quickly scanned via the teacher’s iPad/iPhone ASSIST app or the class document camera. This provides the opportunity to provide immediate feedback and message student growth. Optionally, if the teams have access to an iPad, students can work together on an activity and enter their results via the student Engage and Learn App. Again, immediate feedback and message the learning ownership and growth.
  3. Engage students during each lesson with pre-planned questions at least 5 per 35 minute lesson.

    Incorporate pre-planned questions into your instruction. You can call on students randomly using the Pick a Student button on our ALL In Learning toolbar. However, utilize the response pads generously to engage all students and to provide them all feedback based on the class results. Always messaging learning growth for each individual with classroom outcomes resident in your cloud account.

Frequent common assessments, mastery learning and data teams
Planned weekly assessments common formative assessments originated within the data team should serve as the basis for a mastery learning process. These assessments can be graded via response pads, bubble sheets, iPads and certainly some questions should be rubric graded. Data analysis should be immediate with the results available in the cloud for each data team member.

The combination of the above identified instructional approaches and simple, affordable cloud-centered technology provides a fundamental strategy for transforming students into continuously engaged students in an environment of assessment for learning. This provides the basis for creating and empowering students as owners of their learning.

Dallas Elementary School: Assessment for Learning Instructional Strategies in Action
I am Maria Soto, 4th Grade Bilingual Teacher in Dallas ISD and the All in Learning Assessment for Learning platform has been a game changer in my classroom. The ability to provide instant feedback and to have real time access to my classroom data is the one feature I find most fascinating. The rapid formative assessment or in the moment assessment allows me to quickly identify and remediate any gaps in the learning process, which translates into an increase in student achievement.

Planning is so much easier and accurate using the data the system delivers to my ALL In Learning cloud account. It streamlines the process of assessing, collecting, analyzing, and recording the data, in order to target the standards which need to be re-taught, making my job easier and more enjoyable!

The instant feedback that the clicker system provides engages my students. It gives me the opportunity to continuously message to my 4th grade students their ownership and responsibility of learning and a growth mindset.

I use the clickers to check

  • demonstrations of learning
  • exit tickets
  • quick understanding during lessons

while teaching any concept. It allows me to create questions on-the-fly for the students to answer, providing me with instant data. It gives me the ability to move on with the lesson, or to slow down and re-teach before we move on. It is the efficiency of accessing data and the easy implementation that makes All in Learning a “must have” in any classroom.

For more information about our solution and for information about becoming an Certified ALL In Learning Assessment for Learning teacher contact [email protected].
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