Archive for the 'Life-Long' Category

Self-Assessment as Critical Skill: Formative Assessment as a Stepping Stone

I am painfully aware that helping students to be able to self-assess is a slow task. On the other hand, I realize how critical this skill is as a lifelong skill. Unless students can self-assess, they will not be able to improve on their own. I certainly do not want my students dependent on me for the rest of their lives to make sure that they are “correct”. I want them to be able to determine for themselves what they are doing and how well it helps them to get to their desired goal. They should be empowered to make their own decisions about the things they do. They do need our help in developing from very structured self-assessments  (Right or Wrong for lower level answers) to evaluating their decisions without any given criteria. Students need to transition through this process.

Formative assessment provides a wonderful stepping stone to self-assessment. As students learn to assess others, they learn what is important about the learning, how that learning can be demonstrated, and  how to identify and implement formative feedback.  They develop the skill to objectively look at their own work. They understand  that they have the techniques to improve.  As one of my English students said, ” I’m learning to look at my own paper as I do when I peer review another student’s paper.”

How do you help your students to be able to self-assess? Do you use formative assessment as a stepping stone?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.


Improving Students’ Self-Assessments Skills for Increased Learning

Part of the handout for the conference session:

Reasons for student self- assessment

Closed- ended assessment

Some examples:

Check answers against a paper or digital “answer” key.

Take online quiz.

Transitional assessment

Some examples:

Take online tests until ready for “real” test

Learn the quality in an assignment

Open -ended assessment

Some examples:

Self-assess and change strategy if necessary

Digital portfolio updates

Students' Self Assessment Growth Chart


For any one who is interested in implementing formative assessment in the classroom, my book,
Formative Assessment: Responding to Students is available through Eye-on-Education.

LifeLong Learning-Part 5: Students use different learning strategies for different situations

Students Different Strategies for Different Situations

K12 and even college students often employ very few different learning strategies. However, once they enter the real world of business, they will employ many different learning strategies depending on the situation. They will go beyond the memorization of a chart or to the application of a simply formula according to a well-defined structure. They will be asked to solve unique problems that contain many variables, involve many people, and includes diverse cultures.

How do we prepare them for using different learning strategies for different situations while they are in K12?

As students role play in online simulations such as SimCity, they come to develop a more divergent thinking strategy. They realize that one decision can impact on many other aspects of a city.

When students identify and problem solve with students from other countries, they develop a global culture strategy. Students work on local mini-solutions to global warming that are equally valid and yet unique to each culture and country.

Often students will discover that imaginative solutions can overcome problems. Many new problems require creative solutions rather than relying on old answers. As we have students use analogies and metaphors in the class, we begin that creative thinking.

How do you use technology to promote different strategies?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

LifeLong Learning-Part 4: Students Integrate Learning from Various Subjects

Subject areas compartamentalized or integrated

Our students will soon graduate and then be in real world settings where they will be required to integrate knowledge from different subject areas. They will not be in compartamentalized subject area learning “Why are we doing math? This is Social Studies class, not math!” They will integrate their learning from the various subject areas in their projects.

How do we help students prepare for this aspect of their lifelong learning?

Have interdisciplinary assignments. Have them interview people about the local history of a specific area such as a park and prepare a detailed presentation. They combine English and Social Studies skills and use a variety of technology to record the people talking about the park, capturing images of the park, and showing timelines.

Have them do problem based learning (PBL) such as solving the traffic flow around the school or planning an elementary playground. Such problems require that student integrate Math, Science, Social Studies and English skills. They are not doing academic problems but dealing with real world problems that are messy. PBL activities incorporate the use of various technologies.

Have the students work with an expert in a field. A school may work with an environmentalist through videoconference to change school procedures to minimize school pollution.

How do you integrate various subjects into meaning projects in your classroom through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


LifeLong Learning-Part 3: Students Learn From Their Peers, Teachers, Mentors

Students learn from

A third aspect of lifelong learner is learning from different types of “teachers.” Students can learn from the classroom teacher but they can also learn from peers and mentors. Since our students will be on their own after their graduate from school/college, we can help them to see the value in learning from others.

How do we foster learning from others?
Do we have students work collaboratively where they learn from each other? (Collaborative work is very different than group work.)
Do we encourage collaborations that go beyond the classroom such as getting help through IM, Skype, etc from people who live in other locations?
Do we have our students teach a concept to other students in distant locations and have other students teach our students through Web resources such as videoconferencing?
Do we help our students to create instructional videos on standards based topic for YouTube?
Do we have them work with a mentor in a field of their interest through email, Skype, phone calls, etc.?
Do we encourage our students to participate in a blog on an standards based topic and share their learning with the class?
Do we have our students contribute to a Wiki about a standards based topic? To correct others?
Do we ask students to research and create their own topic report through connecting with an expert and bringing that expert virtually into the classroom?
Do we help students to assess the “teachings” of others?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

LifeLong Learning-Part 2: Students Plan Their Own Learning

Teacher or Student Selected

Another aspect of lifelong learning is for students to plan their own learning. This planning goes far from giving students choices of the teachers’ pre-selected activities in the class. A beginning step is for students to design their own activities for their learning of a topic. English students may select their own way of showing the differences between two pieces of literature as long as they show three differences with examples. They may decide to do a word processed essay, a PowerPoint presentation, an imovie, a podcast, etc.

When students set their goals for the course, they take a big step in being lifelong learners. As the teacher tells the major standards goals for the course, the students can decide on what particular areas they want to develop for themselves. They can monitor their process toward their own goals and decide if they need teacher mentoring, peer mentoring, web-based assistance, etc.

An even bigger step is for students to help set the goals for the course. Students can talk about the types of communication that they think are important in the business world and these can be incorporated into an English course.

Teachers may find it difficult to let go of the reins but the students will have to be in control of their own reins very soon and we are to help prepare them for their future.


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


How Do We Help Prepare Students for Their Life-Long Learning?


Elementary school prepares our students for middle school. Middle school prepares them for high school. High School prepares them for college. College prepares them for a job. So who prepares them for life? When do we prepare them for their future? Our fixation on having students’ pass academic tests but still not knowing the basics of life is sad.

My father used to complain that I went to college for four years and still did not know how to hold a hammer. He was wrong!! I went to college for eight years.

Do we help to prepare students for their future in terms of being a life-long learner? Do we provide opportunities for them to weight their decisions within the classroom? Do we provide opportunities for them to self-assess when they have to create their own “rubric”? Do we provide opportunities for them to set their own goals and measure their own progress? Do we provide opportunities for them to think of both pros and cons for situations and then make decisions? Do we provide opportunities for them to solve real-life problems?

We can use technology to bring the world into the class for our students so that their learning experiences are not academically-sterile but real-world complex!

How do you prepare your students to be life-long learners? Will their know how to hold a hammer (have life-long learning skills) after your class?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


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