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When correctly incorporated into classroom practice, the formative assessment process provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening. The process serves as practice for the student and a check for understanding during the learning process.
The week before school ended last spring, one of my students asked what I planned to do with my summer vacation. I told him I was taking classes at the local university, and he blanched. He paused a moment and then asked, “But why?” I smiled and told him that I like learning.
So, what is this fidelity of implementation thing? Simply put, fidelity of implementation describes the extent to which delivery of an instructional practice adheres to the protocol on which it was developed or field tested. Or as my father liked to say when I was fiddling with assembling models as a kid, “Do it the way the instructions say.”
After several long, deep breaths, I begin to remember what these first weeks are really about. I won’t be overwhelming my students with an explicit lesson on narrative writing during day one. I won’t be diving into comprehension quizzes on day two. I must go slow to go fast. Establish norms. Build my classroom community.
In his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” (Kahneman, 2011), Daniel Kahneman tells us many critical things about how our minds work, and how those processes affect the manner in which we make decisions.
The essence of learning is change. For learning to take place, there must be a change in behavior, cognition, or emotion. In all cases, learning is change. It's not just a good idea, it's the law. If there is no change, there is no learning.
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