I recently read Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam (2011).
I’ve owned this book for years, but have just now gotten around to reading it. DW makes a compelling case for using frequent and shortened assessments, both through his rock solid reasoning and through exceptional writing skill. Should’ve read it as soon as I laid my hands on it.
Some of my biggest takeaways:
Ø The skill of the teacher is THE most important variable in determining the efficacy of the learning environment.
Ø The evidence of learning the goal we seek as teachers, period.
Ø Feedback that does not affect either a change in aspiration or a change in effort is useless.
Ø Feedback should cause THINKING.
Ø Students don’t learn what we teach; if they did, we could simply keep a record of what we taught (rather than records of what they learned).
Ø Much like athletic coaches, teachers must not only identify talent, but nurture it, produce it, coax more from it than the students themselves believe possible.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“As Michael Barger says, ‘The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.’” (p. 22)
“The only teachers who think they are successful are those who have low expectations of their students.” (p. 29)
“After all, what sense does it make to talk about a lesson for which the quality of teaching was high but the quality of the learning was low? It’s rather like a surgeon claiming that an operation was a complete success, but unfortunately, the patient died.” (p. 48)
“The study from Harvard University mentioned in chapter 1 showed that the impact of having an outstanding teacher in kindergarten can be detected in the annual salaries of those students thirty years later.” (p. 160).
I shoulda read it as soon as I laid my hands on it.