Digging Deep – Assessment

So over the last couple of weeks we’ve been going through the process of interviewing several outstanding educational leaders, who have jumped at the chance to apply for next year’s vacant High School Principal position here at AC. It’s absolutely thrilling to have the opportunity to speak with these candidates about their vision, their educational philosophies, and their different approaches to transforming a school community, and if I’m being honest, I have come away inspired by the quality of leaders that are out there in the international world…so many great schools being led by fantastic, thoughtful, and committed professionals who truly have their hearts and minds set on providing world class educational experiences for their students. Throughout this process however, one commonality has bubbled up and connected us all in a powerful way…our shared passion for digging deep into research based, current, and educationally sound assessment practices for the betterment of our schools, our teachers, and most importantly, for our students.

As you all know, one of the pillars of our new strategic plan is assessment, and the conversations that we’ve already been having are rich, diverse, and tremendously engaging. It’s validating to know that schools all around the world are having these same discussions, and looking critically at the most effective ways to assess student learning. Like us, many of the great schools that we’ve researched, and all of the accomplished educational leaders that we’ve spoken with lately are digging deep into formative assessment and feedback, and analyzing their approach to grading and reporting…leaders are talking about assessment in their faculty book studies, in their focused approach to professional development days, in their grade level and department discussions, and in their conversations around teacher and team goal setting. Schools are also committed to finding more robust ways to use and analyze data, to not only inspire student learning and teacher instruction, but to totally transform school culture!

It’s very exciting to me that we are part of these global discussions, and it feels great to know that we’re all in this together so to speak…able to use this potential worldwide professional learning community to ensure that we’re doing what’s best for our kids here at Academia Cotopaxi. There are some amazing schools out there, working hard to explore and exhaust all possibilities with regards to finding ways for students to showcase their learning, and assessing this learning in truly diverse and authentic ways…please know that I believe that we are one of these amazing schools, and what we have to offer other communities around the world is extremely valuable. I’m proud of how you’ve all begun to dig deep into your own assessment practices, and how you’ve opened up and started to share your thoughts in your weekly team meetings. Whether it’s the unpacking of a Rick Wormeli video on formative assessment, or jig sawing a recent article by Ken O’Connor, or even looking at Robin Fogarty’s latest publication for this year’s faculty book study, you’re all on the right track in my mind. This work is meaningful…and purposeful… and what education is all about in my opinion, and the fact that you’re all so engaged and inspired to roll up your pants and jump in makes me excited for the future of our school…and for the education and future of our beautiful kids.

It’s been fun to walk in to many team meetings this year and hear you talking about John Hattie’s latest research, or Ron Ritchhart’s latest work with Harvard’s Project Zero, or Kath Murdoch’s latest tweet on inquiry, and I know how eager you all are to enhance many of our current practices. Please know that we will get there together sooner rather than later simply because of how committed we all are to making our school the best it can be for our students. Keep up the incredible work everyone, and feel good that the work that we’re currently doing is in line with what’s happening in the best schools all around the world…it’s definitely is the right work to be doing! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week….

The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answerAlice Wellington Rollins

Assessment Articles and Websites –

http://www.robinfogarty.com/informative-assessment-179.html

http://www.edutopia.org/comprehensive-assessment-introduction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGcjhaQuXK8

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov11/vol69/num03/Five-Obstacles-to-Grading-Reform.aspx

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept14/vol72/num01/Motivating-Young-Adolescents.aspx

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-QF9Q4gxVM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPf0nQFfv50

http://www.edudemic.com/summative-and-formative-assessments/

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec07/vol65/num04/The-Best-Value-in-Formative-Assessment.aspx

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108019.aspx

 

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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