EA Blog

Arinui: Reflection on our first year

This month Arinui, the appraisal tool developed by Evaluation Associates, turns one year old. And as with any first birthdays, we are celebrating some milestones. For so long, Evaluation Associates had heard frustrations from teachers and leaders about how to use appraisal for improvement, not just compliance. They were often overwhelmed with piles of evidence to generate and...

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Tags: appraisal

Use hacks for innovative curriculum design with students and teachers

“Design Thinking can be a powerful vehicle for deeper learning of content, more divergent thinking and building the thinking skills capacity of learners.” – Ewan Macintosh New directions require a fresh approach. Too often we focus on working together to produce a ‘product’, rather than focussing on the impact of our work or the changes that we wish to...

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Tags: curriculum designthinking

9 key things to consider when choosing an e-asTTle writing prompt

There are a number of reasons why your choice of e-asTTle prompt is important. I have outlined 9 of these below. I know from my work with schools that many of you do have questions regarding this assessment tool. Questions I am commonly asked include: Does the writing purpose matter? Can we use the same prompt or do we use the same purpose but different prompt?...

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Tags: assessment

Empowering learners: sharing the locus of control

“You don’t have to be frightened about learning. You just have to be prepared to ask lots of questions . . . to find out what you don’t know. I like helping the others too . . .” Derek - Year 6 ‘priority learner’  Confident, connected and actively involved life-long learners The New Zealand Curriculum requires us to produce these...

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Tags: locusofcontrol activelearning students assessmentforlearning

The power of teaching as inquiry

I love visiting Year 1 classes. I’m always in awe of the skill and enthusiasm and energy of Year 1 teachers who provide students with their first experience of learning at school. I find it especially fascinating how these teachers teach students to ‘break the code’ of reading and writing – to create meaning out of lines and squiggles on a page. It is amazing and...

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Tags: teachingasinquiry students

Leading the learning of others – how ‘open to learning’ are you?

In my travels around schools over the years I’ve worked as a facilitator, I can’t think of one school leader who didn’t want to make a difference. I have seen incredibly dedicated and hard-working principals, DPs, HODs, team leaders and tutor teachers who strive to improve teaching, learning and achievement. These leaders and I have occasionally had different ideas about how...

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Tags: opentolearning

Developing and encouraging active learners

"If we position our students to be successful, they will be successful." Pauline Gibbons  Active learners – learners who are able to take ownership of their own learning – are becoming successful lifelong learners. Active learners believe in themselves as learners and understand that they are able to exert control over their learning. They know that if...

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Tags: activelearning assessmentforlearning

12 top tips to make the most of the new PLD system

The world of Professional Learning and Development (PLD) is changing dramatically – signalling a really exciting opportunity for schools. The Ministry of Education will no longer contract providers to deliver set programmes and allocate schools to those programmes. Instead, each school or CoL will determine the areas they need to focus on, and design a professional learning programme...

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Tags: pld

How to create a 21st century assessment and reporting system

Empowering students to lead their own learning … online The days of traditional assessment and reporting are numbered. Hour upon teacher hour of assessment and report writing, at nights and in weekends, making decisions in isolation from the students … why not create a system that deeply involves the students in the process, and harnesses the benefits for their...

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Tags: assessment reporting

How to make the most of teacher appraisal

There’s lots of talk about appraisal in schools at the moment. ERO are auditing 10% of the practising teacher certificates that are renewed each year. Schools are understandably trying to ensure that their systems meet requirements. This ‘compliance mind-set’ can mean lost opportunities – it takes the focus away from appraisal as an invaluable process for...

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Making a difference through teaching as inquiry

Teaching as inquiry, in my mind, is a relatively simple concept that has been made more complex and less effective by the perceived demands of compliance. From my point of view, if teaching as inquiry is effective then the classroom teacher: has the goal of improved student learning as the main and central focus is professionally curious is a practical, pragmatic and yet...

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Tags: teachingasinquiry

Evaluation Associates welcomes Chief Executive

Evaluation Associates is excited to announce that Anna Sullivan has joined the team in the new position of Chief Executive. Anna’s appointment reflects the growth of Evaluation Associates and she joins current directors Michael Absolum and Mary Chamberlain in leading the organisation. Anna is an experienced education leader and professional learning and development specialist and she...

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Coding for kids

Should all children learn to programme a computer? asks Ian Stevens from our Wellington office. I was recently asked if I thought if it was a good idea for all children to learn to code, as in, programme a computer. My answer was yes, although I did point out that I also believe all children need to learn to climb trees, dance, hit a ball, make friends, swim,...

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Tags: curriculum students

Who's doing the thinking?

Much has been written about the value and power of effective feedback on student learning. We know it helps students improve their work and can enable them to get past the ‘hard bits’ of learning. Feedback is something that is highly valued by students, and it works. However, can teacher feedback actually be doing a disservice to the student? One of the most quoted phrases from...

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Tags: activelearners

And you finished exactly on time!

Richard Ellsworth, music teacher from Pinehurst School, guest blogs about the parallels between teaching and BBC broadcasting. One of the best things about the Assessment for Learning PLD is having your lesson videoed and then watching it back. You know how it feels to be trying to teach in a calm and purposeful way while your inner voice is going ten to the dozen and...

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Tags: pld

James's Dream

The boy had finished the set work – identifying similes from metaphors and coming up with his own examples of each. He was thumbing through a logging magazine when he looked up and asked me if I worked in Wellington, a city about an hour and a half from his provincial town. When I said I did, he asked, ‘Do you know Rawhiti Terrace? I prune trees there. I am going to be an...

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Tags: students

Assessment in the Service of Learning

Mary Chamberlain reports from the International Symposium on Classroom Assessment 2014. In schools where assessment is being used in the service of learning we are seeing devolution of power. Responsibility for learning is being shared with learners. Creating the conditions that enable students to take shared responsibility for their learning is important because students who are...

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Tags: assessmentforlearning

Whānau matters - how you can create partnerships for learning

As a teacher who is also Māori, I place significant value on whanaungatanga – building and maintaining relationships. And, as an educator, I know how critical it is for schools to build learning-focused relationships with parents and whānau. At the beginning of the year it is important to consider ways you can effectively begin building this important relationship with the...

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Tags: assessmentforlearning learningfocusedrelationships

Starting the year right – building learning-focused relationships

If we want students who are confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners, how do we maximise the beginning of the school year to ensure this happens? We often use words such as ‘learning’ and ‘learner’ with our students, yet how often do we stop and check that they understand what these words actually mean? It seems to me that with a new year...

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Tags: assessmentforlearning learningfocusedrelationships

Evaluation is the thing

In my first blog I gave my thoughts on evaluation and I’m back to worrying about evaluation again. Here’s a definition of evaluation from that first blog: “The essence of all learning, the essence of teaching, the essence of all systematic improvement has, at its core, careful measurement of where things are in relation to where they should be”. The...

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Tags: assessment evaluation

Teaching science in primary schools

I struggle to understand why science is very largely absent from primary school teaching. Why so many primary teachers either don’t like science or are scared of it or are otherwise reluctant to really accord it the importance it deserves in the NZC. ERO likewise has its concerns, as were made evident recently in its latest report on the state of science teaching. This report, and the...

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Tags: curriculum

Why bother with professional learning and development (PLD)?

Have you been on the net recently? Silly question. Of course you have. Have you used the web to learn stuff? Used Google to learn about a holiday destination? Used LinkedIn to find someone who can help you? Used YouTube to learn how to play the guitar? Used the Education Gazette on line to learn about job vacancies or Ministry updates? Of course you have. But what about...

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Tags: pld

Evaluation

This is my first blog so it seems appropriate that I should start my blogging life with an explanation of why my company is called Evaluation Associates. Most of what we do is more commonly called professional development for teachers and school leaders, so why aren’t we called Professional Development Associates? Do we have the wrong name? Should we change? After all, evaluation is more...

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Tags: evaluation