The following post was inspired by the article:

Learning a click away in Danville High School class
Noelle McGee
Saturday, February 14, 2009 7:00 AM CDT

Check out the article above. Bottom line, it is a story about a teacher who has an electronic tool that allows him to embed lots of formative assessment (checking for understanding) in his class. Since doing this, he has noticed that both student engagement and student performance has increased and based on those factors he is adapting his instruction more often and enjoying his job more.

Here’s what the story and the teacher missed. It’s not the tool, it’s the practice. Sure the tool helps. It’s new, it’s novel, it’s fun. But a teacher checking for understanding is a critical best practice that most teachers completely overlook. Not on purpose; but because they get rushed to cover material and become too task centric.

In the R4 Active Teaching Academy, a significant amount of time and practice is spent with teachers to train them on how to embed formative assessment in their lessons and how to do it frequently. The R4 Hyper-Monitoring protocol tracks how often teachers engage in formative assessment, giving teachers the frequent feedback they need to gauge the quality of their instruction.

Without tools, support, training and discussion a typical teacher is observed checking for understanding only about 20% of the time. With tools, support, training and discussion that increases to 70% to 80% of the time. The results? Just as reported in the article; increased student engagement, increased student performance, and increased enthusiasm by the teacher.

Now, thumbs up or thumbs down if this makes sense.

Your turn…