Professional learning community focused on assessment for learning: teachers’ reported levels of adoption and changes in attitude

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MacDowell, Venessa M.
The empirical evidence on changing educators’ assessment practices shows what pedagogical changes effectively increase student achievement, but the question remains about how to support educators in making the necessary lasting changes. In this present study the what is formative assessment, specifically the six assessment for learning strategies that matter (Halbert & Kaser, 2008, adapted from Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall & Wiliam, 2004, see Appendix A), and the how is a structured professional learning community (PLC) over a six month period. Eight secondary school humanities educators engaged in six PLC sessions, of which, three were learning focused and three were application focused. Throughout the study, the six AFL strategies were examined, two per PLC, at both a learning session and an application session. The premise is when educators are given on-going support in the form of leadership; facilitated collaboration; learning, practice, and reflective time in the school day; resources; and multiple opportunities to develop and share their own “…living examples of implementation…” (as cited in Wiliam, Lee, Harrison, & Black, 2004, p. 51) a change in mind set and practice will result. Findings of this present study supported the hypothesis. The eight educators after the treatment at month six, reported an increase in the level of adoption for each the of the six AFL strategies.
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