Icon for: Erin Furtak

ERIN FURTAK

University of Colorado Boulder
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Cristina Heffernan

    Cristina Heffernan

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 09:23 a.m.

    What sorts of technology tools are you using for the formative assessment? 

     
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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:27 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Cristina - while the majority of the co-designed formative assessments have been paper-and-pencil, teachers in some schools have used PhET simulations, and we are piloting some of our co-designed items in the Illuminate platform this spring. 

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  • Icon for: Jonathan Margolin

    Jonathan Margolin

    Principal Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 10:39 a.m.

    Was the problem of practice how teachers can use formative assessment for three dimensional learning? Or was it how to build a common language about formative assessment? In any event, what is the project doing to develop these formative assessments?

     
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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 12:29 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Jonathan - our original problem of practice had to do with how we could build common language around and ownership of formative assessment between teachers and students. For the last several years, we have worked to support high school teachers in content-specific professional learning communities in the Formative Assessment Design Cycle, in which teachers iteratively learn about student ideas with the support of learning progressions, design formative assessment tasks, rehearse using those with students, enact the assessments, and then identify next steps for instruction. 

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  • Icon for: Frank Davis

    Frank Davis

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 12:10 p.m.

    I am very interested in the idea of research practice partnerships, particularly, in school settings. How to cross boundaries between school leaders/ administrators who must deal with issues of accountability usually through summative assessments, teachers who must deal with teaching students at various levels where formative assessments would be most helpful, and researchers who have interests as well as a need to contribute to various research domains of study – including improving various school based practices is a difficult and key question. From your video I can see some of these tensions as you discuss teachers concerns. 

    I understand some of this work in the beginning stages involves building a common language about formative assessment with the NGSS as a context. Could you give an example of this language that is helping to bridge these boundaries.

     I am also wondering how issues of diversity of students’ backgrounds are also being considered in this language about assessments.

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    Sheila Homburger
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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 02:33 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Frank - we have done a lot of work to help teachers see formative assessment as something they already do everyday - that is, ask questions and attend to information about what students know and are able to do. From there we have worked to help identify compelling questions relevant to students’ lived experiences that can then be used as compelling phenomena that students want to explain, and which are the launching point for formative assessment activities. We have also done work to develop rubrics and checklists for formative assessment tasks that support students from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

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  • Icon for: Mac Cannady

    Mac Cannady

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 09:21 p.m.

    Great video and very helpful explanation of how you approached this work. I really appreciate how you described the origin of the research and practice partnership, specifically that it came from the practice side of the partnership. 

    Can you offer some insights for other researchers to establish the sorts of relationships or connections that might foster more research and practice partnerships? 

    Thanks!

     
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  • Icon for: Erin Furtak

    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 09:04 a.m.

    Thanks for your question, Mac - what has been so special about this relationship was that I was invited in by the district, rather than me approaching the district as I had in previous work. I have found that just getting out there in settings where I will interact with curriculum coordinators and teachers has led to this and other productive partnerships - e.g. presenting at state science meetings, observing teacher candidates in the field, and letting people know that I want to partner and learn “with and from” each other. 

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  • Icon for: Susan McKenney

    Susan McKenney

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 08:28 a.m.

    Nice story - thanks for sharing! I wonder if any of the collaboratively developed resources are already available for others to see? I'd be really interested to see some of the assessments (or the rubrics/ checklists for checking them).

    Kind regards,
    Susan

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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 09:01 a.m.

    Thank you Susan - we are in the process of collecting all of our facilitation guides, checklists, and sample assessments for dissemination. You will be able to access them this summer at https://www.colorado.edu/cadre/.

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    Susan McKenney
  • Icon for: K. Renae Pullen

    K. Renae Pullen

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 11:17 p.m.

    How exciting! Thanks so much for listening to the teachers and engaging the leaders as a part of your challenging work.  I would love to learn more about the process teachers take to develop multidimensional tasks.

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  • May 15, 2019 | 02:02 p.m.

    Hi Erin,

    Not only do I find you work very interesting, but I also loved the narration and visual representations on the video.

    Could you please give some examples of how the research team supports teachers in identifying next steps for instruction after enacting the assessments? Are you also working together on identifying next steps to further develop the assessments?

    We are very interested in this because our teachers recently started using formative assessment surveys of students' understanding of the goals of discussions using scientific argumentation. We currently identify next steps during reflection discussion sessions in groups of teachers and professional learning leaders.

    Thank you so much for sharing about this very interesting project!

    Warmly,

    Coralie

     
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  • Icon for: Erin Furtak

    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:55 p.m.

    I am glad you liked the video, Coralie! We have worked in DBR cycles for several years to figure out “what works” in identifying next steps which, in our experience, has been the hardest for teachers to identify.

    one approach we have used is the “piling activity” where teachers have to make at least three stacks of student work capturing different qualities (different ideas, models, explanations, etc.) teachers do this in pairs, and making three or more piles helps them look at nuances in student work beyond right and wrong. Then for each pile, we discuss how to support those students.

    more recently we have applied the “Student Work focus session” approach developed by my colleague Derek Briggs, in which facilitators and/or teachers preselect a limited set of student responses, make copies of those (3-5 is usually plenty), and then a PLC examines those samples together with a learning progression. This really helps teachers focus and go deep into student work, and also to identify next steps based on the levels of the learning progression.

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    Mia Dubosarsky
  • Icon for: Perla Myers

    Perla Myers

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 02:09 p.m.

    Nice video! Thanks so much for sharing about your partnership and how the project came about. There is so much to gain from collaborations between school districts and universities! What are some initial lessons learned from this project

     
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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:57 p.m.

    Thanks for your question, Perla - a key lesson I have learned is about what “mutualism” truly means in a partnership. I connect with my district partners on a weekly phone call, and there is always plenty to discuss and negotiate to keep up to speed with what is happening in the district, and in the research. We ask questions of each other, identify and discuss shared readings, and make sure the project represents “our” needs collectively, not just one side or the other. Communication, trust, and rapport have been just key.

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  • Icon for: Momo Hayakawa

    Momo Hayakawa

    Researcher
    May 15, 2019 | 03:38 p.m.

    What grade levels are you working with? Our project aligns to K-2 NGSS - however, we're running into the challenge of most NGSS aligned materials, assessments, etc. are developed for older students. Do you have insight as to why the focus is on older students (3rd grade and beyond)?

     
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    Erin Furtak

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 03:50 p.m.

    Thanks for watching, Momo - since our partnership began we have completed different smaller projects k-12, but the primary focus of our work has been grades 9-11. It’s been my experience that there are not quite as many materials in high school either - the primary focus of development for many assessments has been middle school (at least as much as we have been able to find).

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