Session title: Assessment and the Art of Lazy Teaching

Using assessment to develop the expert learner

Typical inspection issues

  • Teachers do not effectively check the learning that has taken place. Teachers do not know whether learners have understood or retained prior learning. As a result, not all learners make the progress of which they are capable.
  • Staff do not make enough use of the information available about learners to accelerate their progress or help them attain higher grades.

Duration

Assessment and the Art of Lazy Teaching is a half-day session.

Information for event organisers

It doesn’t take long to gauge the maturity of pedagogy in a learning provider. Visiting a handful of lessons and reading a selection of lesson plans can give a very strong first impression. Is there a culture of TLA*, TL or just T?

The ideal is that teachers begin their creative lesson planning by stating clearly how they would like learners to be different by the end of the lesson. The rules for these outcomes are that they should focus on what learners will be able to do as a result of the lesson (difference), rather than what they will do in the lesson (stuff). The outcomes should also say what will be ‘visible’, to enable learners and/or teachers to evaluate the extent to which the outcomes are being achieved. Only when these outcomes are written in this transformational way can they inform the planning of creative teaching strategies to achieve them.

But even when this outcome-led planning works well (TL), many teachers miss the final major ingredient. Its omission can have a profound impact on either learning outcomes, the teachers’ work/life balance, or most often, both. The missing ingredient is ‘A’ – Assessment; or more specifically – Formative Assessment – or as I prefer: Informative Assessment.

When reading teachers’ lesson plans or watching them work, it’s clear that for many the completion of the ‘assessment’ column is nothing more than a bureaucratic exercise. Typical text (and typical practice) is just: ‘Q&A’. Sometimes there might be the word: ‘Quiz’, and other times: ‘Completion of handout’, etc.

That this limited pallet is due to a lack of assessment strategies could be easily argued. However, the more likely culprit is simply that for staff, the letter ‘A’ stands for (summative) Assessment. ‘Assessment’ that simply establishes where a learner ‘is’.

‘Informative Assessment’, however, is very different. While it begins with a process to establish where a learner ‘is’, this is only the easy first step. For it to be formative, in must lead to step 2, which is ‘positive change’.

The preferred change is that learners articulate the distance from where they are to where they want to be (i.e. the highest grade criteria), together with the steps needed to get there. A possible additional or alternative change is that the teacher redesigns the very next lesson strategy to mitigate the identified learning issues.

The Assessment and the Art of Lazy Teaching session focuses on the former, and will introduce delegates to the Fifty Shades of Assessment (50 Informative Assessment strategies). These are learner-centred and should not require additional work by the teacher. So they will not look at:

  • general questioning techniques
  • the giving of feedback, or
  • the marking of learners’ work.

If your staff would like a bigger bag of tricks that will make their life easier and turn their learners into independent, expert learners, then this could be just the session they’re looking for.

* TLA

  • Set learning outcomes that have ‘visibility’
  • Design inventive teaching strategies to produce the desired learning
  • Design informative assessment strategies to project manage the journey

Publicity information for potential delegates

Ask most teachers what the toughest part of teaching is and they’re as likely as not to say: ‘mark work’; particularly if they have to take it home to do it. Other comments might include: ‘Motivating learners to work between lessons’, or ‘Not having enough time between lessons to help learners catch up’.

‘Assessment and the Art of Lazy Teaching’ is a training session aimed at helping to resolve these issues. It will introduce you to wide range of formative assessment strategies, all of which require learners to work differently rather than teachers to work harder. If you would like a bigger bag of tricks that will make your life easier and turn your learners into independent, expert learners, then this could be just the session you’re looking for.

This session will enable delegates to:

  • use their understanding of the Fifty Shades of Assessment* to select appropriate formative assessment strategies for different types of lesson
  • use an effective target-setting strategy to help project manage the development of their assessment work
  • review their current lesson plans and, where necessary, add new informative assessment strategies.

These outcomes should also enable delegates to:

  • more effectively monitor the progress of learning over time.

What the delegates say

  • For an overview of feedback on this session, please click here.

These comments can be invaluable when generating curiosity about forthcoming training.

Timing

Assessment and the Art of Lazy Teaching is a 3.5-hour session. This session would combine well with the following courses in a staff development day:

Contact

To discuss your requirements in detail, please phone or drop us a line.