We are now coming to the very end of the semester. While our middle school classes are in session all week, our high school classes wrap up on Wednesday, with many having some kind of summative assessment occurring on that day. (The HS Exam Week Schedule can be found on our school website.)
Dani and I will be visiting classes one more time to hang posters highlighting the Three Critical Questions and remind our high school students the next two days is their last chance for feedback this semester. Hopefully students will use the questions to help guide their thinking, then engage in conversations with their teachers - even up to the proverbial "last minute" - in order to learn what they need to learn so they can be as successful in their exams and their courses as possible.
While the system still requires summative assessments that tell us what students have learned, many of us in education are spending much more energy promoting the kinds of ongoing conversations and strategies that inform and guide the learner as they learn because this is what has bigger effect by far. Formative assessment, also known as Assessment for Learning (AFL), is not a new concept by any means, but has moved to the forefront in education in recent years, spurred on by the release of the Dylan Wiliam study Inside the Black Box. The six big practices of AFL have been the learning focus at LCSS during PLC sessions with our staff, and of course, the most impactful of these, is descriptive feedback, reflected in our More Feedback in January 2012 promotion.
When I wrote this is the "last chance" for feedback, it is really about creating just a little more urgency with the HS semester ending and the Feedback Month promotion wrapping up. I sincerely hope that raising awareness of the power of feedback has encouraged our staff and students to engage in more and more conversations around where students are in their learning and this practice continues to grow for the rest of the school year and beyond.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in this idea, either through practice, direct or Internet conversation, or by any other means. Keep talking about learning. It matters!