Mapping Formative Assessment Strategies to the Common Core State Standards – Part One

Mapping Formative Assessment Strategies to the Common Core State Education Gadfly Daily had an interesting article on the Common Core State Standards entitled – Opening up the black box: Common Core as a classroom-level reform. In it, the author points out that there have been many systemic reform measures introduced to the American education system over the years, but what’s really needed is classroom-level reform:

Over the past decade, education reformers have focused the lion’s share of our attention on systemic reform—to the point where conversations about Common Core implementation are often even dominated by how the standards will impact things like state accountability, teacher evaluation, certification, and on.

Of course, those are all important. But if Common Core is really going to “change everything,” we need first and foremost to focus on what these new standards mean for teaching and learning.

Yet, in many ways, the classroom is a black box to systemic reformers. While many leaders have made it their business to understand inputs and student achievement outputs, too few have focused their attention of what it takes to drive achievement within the four walls of an American classroom.

We’ve blogged numerous times on the five core strategies that comprise our formative assessment based teacher professional development program. These five core strategies map nicely to the Common Core State Standards (systemic reform) while impacting the classroom on a daily basis at the student level (classroom reform).

1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning targets and success criteria
2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning
3. Providing feedback that moves learners forward
4. Activating students as the owners of their own learning
5. Activating students as instructional resources for one another

All of these core strategies help support the one big idea that is: students and teachers continuously using evidence of learning to adapt what happens in the classroom. This idea and the five core strategies that support it are central to Dylan Wiliams’ research in (ironically) Inside the Black Box.

Over the next couple Formative Assessment blogs, I’ll break down these five strategies and map them to the Common Core State Standards; each can play a strong role in delivering the higher level, critical thinking that the Common Core requires. Share your thoughts in the comments below and come back soon!