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Getting Smart Podcast

Jan 24, 2018

Recently, Tom Vander Ark and Mary Ryerse of the Getting Smart team were with teachers and administrators from the Austin, Dallas, and Tulsa School Districts, talking about formative assessment. These districts are all part of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation sponsored initiative called “How I Know,” which aims to design meaningful, formative assessment practice. This is a multi-year project that will support teachers’ development and implement formative assessment practices in the classroom.


In this podcast, Tom interviews the “How I Know” project team and asks them two main questions: What is formative assessment? And, what are your hopes for the project? You’ll hear from over half a dozen project participants on each topic, including Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s Project Lead, Cheryl Niehaus; Project Lead, Danielle Neves; Executive Director of Teaching and Learning from the Tulsa Public Schools, and Dallas Teacher Residency Co-Founders, Robert Dehaas and Elizabeth Kastiel; Nancy G. of WestEd; first grade teacher, Stephanie Peppers from Tulsa; Administrative Supervisor of Academics, Katie A. from Austin, Texas; and Tracy Nájera from Education First.


Key Takeaways:

[1:28] Tom asks Cheryl what formative assessment is and why it’s important now.

[3:28] Danielle’s thoughts on formative assessment.

[4:46] Formative assessment; broader than reading, writing, and problem-solving.

[5:15] What formative assessment is to Elizabeth.

[5:48] A variety of strategies; Robert’s thoughts on formative assessment and the importance of teachers working with the students.

[6:27] How Elizabeth views formative assessment from both the students’ and teachers’ perspectives.

[6:37] Nancy speaks about the process of formative assessment and teachers’ role in the process.

[7:30] How Stephanie works with primary school students in regard to formative assessment.

[8:11] The tools and strategies that formative assessment includes.

[9:30] Katie speaks about the different forms formative assessment can come in.

[10:14] Katie’s thoughts on extended challenges, promoting deeper learning, and rethinking learning experiences.

[12:14] What Danielle, Robert, and Elizabeth want from the initiative and their hopes for the next couple of years.

[15:04] Further thoughts from Nancy, Stephanie, and Tracy on formative assessment.

[16:14] How Stephanie sees the “How I Know” initiative helping in her classrooms in the future.

[17:14] Hopes for the future for the school districts as a result of the initiative.

[18:22] Why this initiative is so timely right now and how it complements other initiatives.

[19:19] How formative assessment practice is critical to creating more personalized learning models.

[20:19] What success will look like, if all goes as planned.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Tulsa Public Schools
Dallas Teacher Residency

Education First


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