Shell Cove Public School

Sailing the Sea of Excellence

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Formative assessment

Shell Cove Public School started its Visible Learning journey in 2015, and initial planning involved analysing the positive teaching strategies from the 138 influences on student achievement from Professor John Hattie's research. Formative assessment, a high impact strategy proven to improve student learning outcomes, was chosen as a focus for the school's strategic plan.

Formative assessment provides a range of strategies that make the learning visible to the teacher and more importantly to the student. A key aspect of this strategy is for teachers to share the learning goal with students. Teachers at Shell Cove have been collaboratively analysing student assessment to set whole class and individual learning goals in Writing and Mathematics. The learning intention and associated purpose are clearly articulated to students every lesson.

Learning goals are visually displayed in the classroom. Examples include: We Are Learning To (WALT) and What I am Looking For (WILF) posters, Bump it Up Walls, I Can statements, and displaying exemplary student work using the acronym WAGOLL -  What A Good One Looks Like. Learning goals have been effective in students knowing what they are learning, what successful work looks and how they will be assessed. This means that the learning is not a secret. 

Another essential part of formative assessment is the use of assessment feedback. Teachers have been provided professional learning in how to deliver effective feedback related to the qualities of the student work. They have been identifying two positive aspects, an area to improve and sharing strategies with students to make future improvements in their learning. Feedback is providing Shell Cove students with a clear understanding of how they are going and what they need to next to achieve their goal. Professor John Hattie's Visible Learning team will be delivering professional learning on effective feedback during the Term 2 School Development Day, 2017.

Students are also encouraged to be active participants in their own learning by assessing another student's work know as peer assessment. In addition to peer assessment students are assessing their own progress towards their goal known according to the criteria known as self-assessment. Future professional learning will focus on peer and self-assessment.

By providing Shell Cove students with a clearer understanding of what they are learning, what successful work looks like and continuous feedback, they are becoming self-reflective critical thinkers, a major aspect of 21st Century learning. Students are becoming increasingly aware of understand Where they are going? How they are going? and where to next in their learning. Dylan William is well known for his expertise on formative assessment. Below is a link to his website.

Dylan William