Category Archives: Formative Assessment

Developing Digital Portfolios

I have just read this article:

Developing digital portfolios: investigating how digital portfolios can facilitate pupil talk about learning.

Kate Wall, Steve Higgins, Jen Miller and Nick Packard
Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Newcastle, UK.

Technology, Pedagogy and Education

Vol. 15, No. 3, October 2006, pp. 261-273

As part of this research project I read a lot of articles in the areas of eportfolios and assessment for learning. Like anything you read, be it a magazine article, novel, or newspaper, as you are reading you can immediately connect (or not) with the text and message. This article was one of those. Throughout reading it I found myself nodding my head and murmuring consent to the ideas and concepts it was discussing as they mirrored some of the central aims of my research.

If you are interested in eportfolios, assessment for learning and thinking skills I thoroughly recommend you source a copy of this article.

Some ideas the conclusions that grabbed the attention of my highlighter:

The combination of a digital portfolio and thinking skills has been revealed to be a powerful one with plenty of scope for development in the primary classroom.
The reflective nature of the pupils’ comments regarding their learning and achievement as part of the digital portfolio gives valuable evidence to support formative assessment theory.
…a digital portfolio has the potential to create independent learners who are responsible for the collection of their own evidence of achievements across the curriculum and this process has impact on the pupils and how they perceive themselves and their learning.

Another couple of reasons why this research interested my was that it included many quotes from students. The students’ voice really gave the article added authenticity for me and less academic blah.

Finally, the fact that this research was undertaken with primary aged children was a breath of fresh air as the majority of research and published articles are predominantly secondary of tertiary education based.

#education #learning #pedagogy #technology

AtoL – Assess to Learn

The Assess to Learn Professional Development Project (AtoL) is designed to provide in-depth professional learning to teachers and leaders in the principles of assessment for learning.

A publication, National Education Findings of Assess to Learn (AtoL) Report, has recently been released on the Education Counts web site, describing the impact of the AtoL project.

As this research project and blog (Russell Street School ePortfolios) is based on enhancing assessment for learning through ePortfolios, the outcomes of this study are both valuable and interesting.

The four key outcomes of AtoL are to:

  1. • improve student learning and achievement
  2. • shift teachers’ knowledge and assessment practice
  3. • develop coherence between assessment processes, practices and systems in classrooms and in schools so that they promote better learning
  4. • demonstrate a culture of continuous school improvement.

To briefly summarise the findings…

1. Improving student learning and achievement:

Students whose teachers had focused their professional learning on reading and writing showed achievement shifts that were greater than the national expectations…

Students became more confident in understanding what they were learning and why. They were able to articulate learning intentions and success criteria. In many classes, students were also becoming more aware of self and peer assessment.

2. Shifting teachers’ knowledge and assessment practice:

Teachers gave targeted feedback to students. They relied less on praise alone and increased their emphasis on giving feedback that focused on the learning and next steps. Teachers became more focused on differentiating learning for individual students.

3. Develop coherence between assessment processes, practices and systems in classrooms and in schools so that they promote better learning

 …most teachers were clearer and more precise about what they were teaching and regularly reflected with students about their learning and progress. Teacher feedback to students specified achievement related to criteria, next steps and why the learning was relevant and worthwhile. Teachers demonstrated clear links between planning, learning and formative assessment.

4. Demonstrate a culture of continuous school improvement.

The combination of staff meetings, team meetings, classroom observation and one to one support, along with input from professional readings, ensured that schools were able to make significant shifts in teacher knowledge and confidence in the use of formative assessment practices. 

The report end by stating,

Involvement in AtoL resulted in significant shifts in learning and achievement for the majority of students, and shifts in professional learning and pedagogical practice for most teachers involved.

Great! I am pleased to hear that as that gives more substance and authenticity to what we are trying to achieve with our ePortfolio project.

Download the full report here to get further more detailed information and analysis.

ePortfolio Presentation

Today the Wellington Apple Bus Tour visited Russell Street School as part of its tour of Wellington, Masterton and Palmerston North schools to see ICT in action.

It is always a pleasure and an honour to share and discuss what we value in our school and also give the students the opportunity to present their learning to a new audience.

I had the responsibility of sharing the school’s background and development in ePortfolios, where this may be headed in the future and an overview of my research – all in no more than 20 minutes!

I remembered this post from Ewan McIntosh’s blog:

…so in future TeachMeets the rule of No PowerPoints will stand, of course, but be coupled with “anything you want to show must be online and linked to from the TeachMeet wiki page“.

A great concept and one that more conference organisers and speakers should adopt. So here is the presentation… sorry no audio commentary.

Let me know if anything needs further explanation.

Portfolios and Assessment for Learning Quiz

When discussing my research with interested people one of the easiest ways for me to demonstrate a concept we are trying to achieve with the ePortfolios can be best illustrated by comparing portfolios that are assessments OF learning against those that are assessments FOR learning.

Dr Helen Barrett discusses this in her publication White Paper: Researching Electronic Portfolios and Learner Engagement.

To engage an audience in this concept I often ask them to complete a quiz based on Dr Barrett’s comparisons.

While usually I would use Hot Potatoes for this, I have been experimenting with various other online quiz solutions.

Here are a couple to get you started. How well do you know the difference?

Assessment OF or FOR Learning? from MyStudiyo

Assessment OF or FOR Learning? from PurposeGames

Assessment OF or FOR Learning? using J-Match from Hot Potatoes

#HotPotatoes #MyStudiyo #PurposeGames #Quiz