Assessment for Learning 2016

Gathering Baseline Evidence
Our next step in our AFL journey is to begin gathering baseline evidence so we can measure the progress our teachers and students make throughout the year.  I have devised a timetable which enables each of the Lead Teachers to oversee their teams.  They will then interview the teachers around what messages they give to their students about learning, and then ask their students the same questions.  This is a powerful exercise in teachers hearing the messages that they give their students, and do they align with what they think they are conveying.  The growth in student voice from our students last year was outstanding.  It was highly evident the messages the teachers were giving their students around being a learner, and what helped them to learn.  I have no doubt again this year, it will be a very worthwhile exercise. 
Devising the whole school time table for teacher and student baseline interviews was a 'feat' (Just about needed timetabling 101! ).     Gathering Teacher and Student Voice
AFL Beginning the Year
As part of our Teacher Only Day and Professional Development our Assessment for Learning Lead Teachers , lead our Staff PLC on Building Learning Focussed Relationships.  This year we have the added strength of the Lead Teachers presenting and sharing their journey, which is very empowering in motivating and assisting our teachers.  
Firstly as a team we met together and discussed the key points to convey to the staff.  From this we then planned our presentation.  

I believe the AFL Lead teachers did an outstanding job of conveying Building Learning Focussed Relationships and the relevance and importance it has to our everyday teaching practice.  Listening to each of the teachers, I found it to be highly engaging and motivating.  

Expectations by the end of term 1  
  • Have formulated Learning Behaviours with your students, evident by classroom display, student voice, classroom culture, integrated with our Theme“Ready Steady Go”

AFL End of Year
Our Lead Teachers have had their final conversations with Barbara-Anne, gathering end point student voice, and teachers reflecting on their progress to date.  Barbara-Anne was very complimentary regarding our Lead Teachers and their progress towards implementing the AFL capabilities in their teaching practice.  She commented our student voice was some of the strongest she has heard, with the students being able to clearly articulate what they were learning and why, and success criteria self assessment enabled them to understand their next learning steps.
This is an example of a group of year 6 students, talking about the main messages the teacher gives them.  

"At the start it was about behaviour in our learning and now we are looking at how you can be more involved in your learning, active reflection which helps you to improve on your learning.  We can’t let other people distract us or distract other people.  Take responsibility or your learning and your mistakes and don’t blame others.  Don’t let anyone else hijack of your learning.  You have to take control and stay on track.  LI tells us what we are learning – global and specific LI so we know what we are aiming for.  SC help us – the LI broken down – what we need to concentrate on.  Reflecting on your learning – looking back at your work to see if you can improve it.  Can you take your learning and put it into other learning?  Can you take it a step further?  Use exemplars so they give you a model or a diagram of what you need to do.  Shows you what the learning looks like.  Self and peer assessment – fresh eyes on your work.  They can see what you might overlook.  To get other people’s point of view to re-craft and edit and make your work better".

New Vision for 2016
The Leadership team has talked about AFL for 2016, and wanting to embed this practice school wide with the Lead teachers and myself facilitating the Staff PLCs.  As the Lead Teachers have gone through the process and can see the huge impact and change it has brought about in their teaching practice, it will be powerful for them to be able to share their experiences with the staff.  We convened together to discuss the new direction for next year, and what their roles would be.
Lead Teachers Role 2016
Help to lead Staff PLCs - Revisiting capabilities, refining and motivating teachers & students
Guiding Team PLCs - Unpacking capabilities, discussing readings, progress achievement & student voice (language of learning) check against capability matrix
Best practise - Teachers able to observe your practise, also model
Observations - Marie & TL to observe teaching & learning (align with appraisals)
Meet as a Team - Discuss direction and termly expectations

I have then created a 2016 Overview for AFL.  As the year becomes so busy, it is important to map the direction so we can then keep AFL at the forefront of our vision and teaching and learning.

Active Reflection Term 3 week 8
Barbara-Anne continues to observe and give feedback to our lead teachers with AFL.  The feedback that we have shared regarding the progress and achievement of the teachers and students has been very positive.  The way the students are able to articulate their learning and the student voice that is gathered is astounding in some classes.

AFL 2016
During our Leadership Day I shared with the Team Leaders the AFL model for 2016.  We discussed videoing practice and establishing AFL across year levels.

Assessment for Learning 2016
End of Term 2 Reflection
We are now half way through our AFL Professional Development.  I know for most of our Lead Teachers it has been an intense 2 terms that continues to push their ideas around their teaching practice and how they can refine this to assist their students.  As all staff are taking part in the AFL staff PLCs many of our teachers are trying the strategies around the AFL capabilities within their own classes with their students.  During our last staff PLC the student voice was shared with the teachers.  It measures their thinking at the beginning of the year around learning and what helps them. Each time Barbara-Anne is at Cockle Bay for professional development, student voice is gathered from the Lead Teacher's students.  It is amazing to see the growth in their thinking and how clearly they can verbalise their clarity around what helps them to learn.  This clearly shows the success of AFL thus far.  It is very exciting to hear how articulate our students are, because of our teachers.

I thought is was timely as we are now half way through our journey that I conduct a PMI with our staff asking for their thoughts and opinions as to our AFL PD.  The comments were mostly positive, and the 'minus' comments gave me food for thought in regards to tweaking a few things next term.  

Having been through the process myself I acknowledge that it can be very hard going and at times there are some real lows.  I feel that a few of our teachers may be going through this period.  Next term I am going to include time for the Lead Teachers to come together and discuss 'the pit' and help them to redefine the purpose behind lifting their practice.  In my quest to coach and mentor these teacher I came across this piece of invaluable information about observations,
How to see observations

Key points:
  • The focus of any observation is the LEARNING and the STUDENTS – not the teacher. For example, if the feedback is that the teacher needs to improve their questioning, then such a comment must be based on concrete evidence from the learning in the lesson, and only when such a comment would drive the learning forwards.
  • Once the condition of the learning has been established, then the observer can consider what the teacher has done/is doing to cause this learning to happen (for good or ill)
  • Reflection/diagnosis must then take place regarding what would have helped push the learning on even further, whether that means something the teacher needed to do or not do, or something students themselves need to do/not do.
  • Feedback absolutely must help the teacher develop and cause greater learning in the future– if this doesn’t happen, the feedback is pointless. But it is not enough just to feedback; the nature, timing, and level of dialogue in the feedback are all crucial.
  • Feedback should be a two-way conversationan adult-adult conversation, and not a parent-child conversation involving blind acceptance of what is being said. Professional dialogue and collaborative reflection are an essential part of productive feedback.
  • Feedback is more important that the grade given- I have made it a habit to ask for feedback first and grade last; after all it is the feedback which helps me improve and helps me understand the experience my students are having.
Observation as a Process

Staff PLC, Week 4/ Self Assessment
Barbara-Anne our facilitator this week lead our staff PLC on self assessment.  This PLC unpacked the key components to teaching self assessment with the children.  Barbara-Anne was very responsive to our teachers needs.  She enabled the teachers to reflect and self assess their current practice.  The handouts Barbara-Anne used also guided the teachers understanding in building their capabilities around creating successful self regulated learners.  During this session the teachers were engaged and sharing their journeys thus far in self assessment.
How I Self Assess in Writing
Self Assessment
Teaching Self Assessment



AFL Reflection Term 1
AFL dominated our Staff PLCs this term.  The Lead Teachers had 3 classroom observations, which also consisted of their children being interviewed.  We delved into making learning intentions clear ensuring that the content and context were not mixed together.  We also unpacked Success Criteria and how this helps to steer the children with their learning.  As well as Barbara-Anne facilitating school wide PD, I have had to consider timetables, conveying information to Lead Teachers and teaching staff around their own organisation in regards to developing their ideas and knowledge.  The following are links to this organisation as well as presentations from Staff PLCs

Term 1 Assessment for Learning, Building Learning Focussed Relationships
We began our Assessment for Learning professional development today.  The focus was understanding Learning Focussed Relationships and how this impacts on our teaching and the culture we build from the beginning of the year in our rooms with our children.

The teachers had to make a ballon dog, firstly without any clarity about how to construct one.  After we had given it 'a go' Barbara-Anne then re modelled the lesson giving us clear success criteria, so we could all be successful learners.

It became apparent to us that having clear learning intentions, using 'think alouds' an exemplar and modelling the process, all helped to make the learning easy to understand and achieve, just what we want for our students in the class room

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