In a previous blog, we set out to map the five core formative assessment strategies to the Common Core State Standards. In it, we shared thinking that suggests that what’s needed most for Common Core success is classroom-level reform involving teachers and students; delivering higher-level thinking starts here.
The first two formative assessment strategies we’ll refer to clearly map directly to the Common Core:
1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning targets and success criteria
2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning
It’s important to remember that the Common Core is a set of standards and not curriculum. Teachers need to be clear in the direction their instruction is heading, understanding (and sharing) their learning targets, and formative assessment helps to inform and order the steps to meet these targets. Generally speaking, students must understand what they are expected to learn before they can take responsibility for their own learning. In many instances, students have incorrect conceptions of what they are learning, why they are learning it, and what quality work looks like.
Teachers need to develop learning targets that allow them to identify comprehension to make sure the students understand quality work and outcomes. They need to know 1) where the learning is going; 2) where the learner is currently; and, 3) how they can get the learner to the defined learning targets. Using formative assessment strategies can help accomplish this higher-level of thinking and understanding, key drivers of Common Core success.
In our next blog, we’ll map the last three of the five formative assessment strategies to the Common Core State Standards, showing how metacognition can play a key role in higher-order thinking, helping bring students to the forefront of their own learning.