CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.
Celebrating Success with New Hampshire Educators
Professional development sometimes gets a bad name, but I believe there are few things more powerful than the energy in a room when educators collaborate to shift teaching and learning. During our March PACE institute, we asked participants to share about a success they’ve had in Quality Performance Assessment (QPA) work this year. Although some of these same educators had been nervous or uncertain during the earlier October and January institutes, they were starting to see transformations in their and their school’s practice. The following quotations from these participants illustrate the transformation that occurs when educators are empowered to develop richer measures for student success.
Success #1: Refining Instruction
Implementing and revising performance assessments helped educators shift their instructional practices to make learning deeper and more meaningful for students.
- “It has helped me envision the whole cycle of student learning in one topic area and how all the inter-related strands work together.”
- “The success I have had is thinking about my instruction. How can I prepare my students to extend their thinking and go beyond?”
- “Huge adjustment in rubric writing and development – more clear, constant revision. I like how much more accurately they reflect students’ learning and ability.”
- “Our tasks are more meaningful for students. Teachers have deeper understanding of Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and what a performance assessment is.”
- “Allowed me to look at competency, not one assessment fits all. Allowed me to separate behaviors from work and grades.”
- “Successful, meaningful project work for students with opportunity to assess their own growth.”
Success #2: Increased Rigor
Performance assessments helped educators increase rigor and reconsider the level of critical thinking they expect from students.
- “I felt that the two assessments I created this year truly added rigor and helped my students demonstrate their abilities. Having perspectives from other districts as well as other grade levels has helped fine tune things.”
- “I have taken some older end of units and turned them into QPAs. This has made me rethink—how well do they meet the standard? What level of critical thinking am I expecting? This is very fulfilling work.”
Success #3: Increased Student Engagement
Educators noticed that performance assessment can increase student engagement and have begun incorporating more student voice and choice.
- “I have been able to develop more engaging learning experiences that reach higher depths of knowledge.”
- “I am a kindergarten teacher, and we have used a math QPA in my classroom. […] I love love it! The students love it more!”
- “Opened my eyes to student choice.”
Success #4: Learning from Protocols
Structured professional learning protocols helped educators to de-privatize practice, learn from colleagues, and engage in a cycle of iteration and revision.
- “Going through the protocols has allowed me to use great feedback to improve – which is the focus of education – always learning, teaching, improving.”
- “Teachers sharing, teachers being vulnerable, teachers working to improve.”
- “It is extremely valuable to review the work of others with input from many individuals.”
- “It has brought good conversation to our school. We are looking at our work with different eyes!”
- “I have really appreciated having the opportunity to validate and calibrate tasks with many different people. With multiple age levels and content areas represented, we are given great feedback to tighten our tasks and rubrics.”
- “To feel more comfortable with Calibration Protocol. Not to be afraid to realize we have been using a not so great rubric for years. Now we can change it.”
- “I have been able to present three times and each time the process gets better and better.”
Success #5: Learning from State Network
Educators were able to learn from colleagues and bring those insights back to their buildings.
- “The exposure to other teachers and how they treat the material has emboldened me to take greater risks.”
- “Allowed me to work with others across the state.”
Success #6: Creating a Shared Vision within Schools
Lead teams successfully brought their knowledge back from institute days and diffused it throughout the school to ensure staff has a common understanding of the purpose and practice of performance assessment. Performance assessments have become an integral part of teaching and learning.
- “Our teachers have had the realization, in examining and thinking about many types of assessments and their purposes, that a performance assessment truly shows what a student knows and is able to do. We have achieved a higher level of knowledge regarding PACE across all grade levels and among all teachers.”
- “Bringing staff together and focus on improving teaching and learning. Staff is beginning to speak the same language.”
- “Teachers have really stepped up to the plate, creating and implementing QPAs in their classrooms with collaboration and challenging each other. I look for QPAs now when I observe/evaluate teachers.”
- “Expanded my staff’s conception of assessment. Increased collaboration and moving us in the direction of higher expectations.