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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Hello. I’m Jim Ryder, professor of science education at the University of Leeds. I’m delighted the Science Learning Network, working with the University of Leeds, has developed this six-week online course on assessment for learning. Chris Harrison and Dylan Wiliam have been working in this for many years. And I really respect the work they’ve done. For STEM subjects in particular, we know there are some very challenging topics taught in compulsory schooling and in further education. Chris and Dylan will show you how AFL gives teachers a powerful set of techniques and approaches to drill down into their pupil’s level of understanding and probe their misconceptions. With this information, teachers are better equipped to choose the best strategies to move their student’s learning forward.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds This online course has been developed to support your professional development. And before we start, I’d like to suggest some ways you can get the most from this course. One of the biggest obstacles for teachers of professional development is time. A great advantage of an online course is its flexibility. And I’d encourage teachers to make this course work for you, around your day and your working practises. From our research at Leeds and the work of the Science Learning Network, we also know that collaboration between teachers is very important for effective professional development. It’s really fruitful to work with others when trying out new approaches. Doing so gives you support, motivation, and the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds One of the great things about an online course is that enables collaboration by groups of teachers who are not on the same site. So throughout the course, please do take the opportunity to share your experiences, questions, and comments in the discussions. In engaging with this course, it can certainly be helpful within your organisation to draw together a group who can talk about it and compare your experiences of trying the approaches described in your lab or classroom. There’s a final, really important point to keep in mind. This course will show you a number of techniques and approaches for using assessment for learning. I’d encourage you to try them out. But also don’t be afraid to adapt them to your own needs.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 seconds Teachers work in a variety of settings. No school or college is the same, no classes are the same. Teachers are really good at adapting resources to their class. And it’s important that you feel able to the same with AfL strategies. All the research we have done has shown that when teachers adapt methods to their classroom or lab settings, they become more successful and more effective in developing their students’ learning. The key is to experiment with new ideas in your context. Evaluate together what happens and adapt and learn from each other’s experiences. I hope you enjoy the course.

Getting the most from this course

Professional development is essential for teachers to progress as teaching practitioners. But there are many challenges in integrating professional development into regular practice.

In this video Jim Ryder, professor of Science Education at the University of Leeds, suggests how you can get the most from this online course. In particular, Jim:

  • stresses the value of collaborating with peers - both at your own place of work and online - to put into practice the ideas and approaches suggested by Dylan Wiliam and Chris Harrison;

  • emphasises the value of experimenting, with a view to adapting methods to your own classroom or lab settings.

Remember that when you click a person’s name in the comments you can see their profile, and you can make connections with other learners, course educators and mentors by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button. If you are doing this course with colleagues from your school or cluster of schools, we would encourage you to follow each other. Then you’ll easily be able to see comments from the people you know.

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This video is from the free online course:

Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching

National STEM Learning Centre

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