As written before, our school wide focus this year is on examining student work to highlight student understanding. We have developed a framework through which teachers will collaborative examine a particular project from their classroom. The framework leads through an examination of (1) the key outcomes behind the project (2) the assessments used and (3) how the student work demonstrates deep understanding of the desired outcomes.
The purpose is to critically examine a planned unit, and to take seriously the nature of student work produced. It’s our belief that carefully examining student work is a key element, if not the most important, in moving our collective practice forward.
Over the last month we have tested this framework with two different sets of teachers. The conversations were lengthy, one was 5 hours and one was 3, but we believe that a sustained and protected amount of time is necessary to engage in a deep analysis of student work.
During the two ‘practice’ sessions, many interesting and valuable insights were uncovered about the projects. After participating, all four teachers spoke very highly of the process, and all found some key elements of their practice that they want to focus on in future projects. These teachers were really excited about the process, both for themselves and for the collective professional learning of the staff.
One of the really powerful outcomes of the practice sessions was a series of voice-recordings. We audio-recorded both discussions, and then pulled out clips to highlight the depth of critique we hope all teachers will bring to the discussion. The teachers involved agreed to having these clips shown back to the staff – a vulnerable step, but such an important one to set the tone for making our practice more public.
These teachers have gone the next step and agree to have their discussions publicly available. Each of the following clips are about 5 minutes long, and give a glimpse into the depth of analysis that came out of these collaborative discussions.
After conducting the two practice discussions, we introduced the “Examining Student Work” framework to the rest of the teachers. Last Friday one of our staff, Neil Stephenson, gave a presentation on the framework, shared the audio-recordings from the practice discussions, and had teachers begin the process of collecting evidence for the facilitated discussions. Teachers will have a month to gather the necessary artifacts, and create a short presentation. The reflective discussions with the rest of the staff will take place on February 11th.
Here’s the presentation given by Neil that introduces the “Examining Student Work” process. The actual framework and guiding questions can be found here.
Finally, here’s a video of Neil introducing the theoretical background of the framework during our PD day last friday. As we continue to move forward with the process, we’ll share teacher reflections and outcomes. We’re excited about the emerging possibilities.