Engineering effective tasks, activities, and discussions that elicit evidence of learning

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Dylan Wiliam (@dylanwiliam)

Engineering effective tasks, activities, and discussions that elicit evidence of learning

Unpacking Formative Assessment

Where the learner is going

Where the learner is now

How to get the learner there




Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions

Eliciting evidence of learning

Providing feedback that moves learners forward

Activating students as learning

resources for one another

Activating students as

owners of their own learning

Eliciting evidence

  • No hands up (except to ask a question)
    • Choose students at random
    • No opting out
  • Avoiding questions altogether
  • All-student response systems
    • Decision-driven data collection
  • Hinge-questions

Hands up

Surprising responses

Student responses to random questioning

What psychology tells us about learning

  • Review of the research on student self-study strategies
  • Focus on strategies that are relatively easy for students to use
  • Evaluation in terms of generalizability of findings across
    • different material to be learned
    • different learning conditions
    • different kinds of student
    • different measures of learning

Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, and Willingham (2013)

1. Elaborative interrogation

Generating an explanation for why an explicitly stated fact or concept is true

2. Self-explanation

Explaining how new information is related to known information, or explaining steps taken during problem solving

3. Summarization

Writing summaries (of various lengths) of to-be-learned texts

4. Highlighting/underlining

Marking potentially important portions of to-be-learned materials while reading

5. Keyword mnemonic

Using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials

6. Imagery for text

Attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening

7. Rereading

Restudying text material again after an initial reading

8. Practice testing

Self-testing or taking practice tests over to-be-learned material

9. Distributed practice

Implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over time

10. Interleaved practice

Practice that mixes different kinds of problems, or study that mixes different kinds of material, within a single study session

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