Dear educator colleagues:
Starting this Fall, 2016, Stanford University is pleased to offer a set of free online courses (MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses) to help your state and local educators use innovative assessment practices – instructionally-focused formative assessment and curriculum-embedded performance assessments for deeper learning, with a focus on language that will support English Learners. The new forms of innovative assessments are rich with language and often require different forms of argumentation and justification to support student understanding and engagement with content. In these assessments that are embedded in instruction and the curriculum, the inclusion of academic language is integrated by design, connecting language to content and critical thinking. Information on the MOOCs are detailed below.
Please mark next Wednesday, May 25 at 9:00 PDT/12:00 EDT for a webinar about these offerings, and how you might prepare your district staff to engage in these free resources. Over the years, Stanford University has developed considerable experience in supporting teacher professional development through these online resources, and has developed various collaborative arrangements with districts and states throughout the nation. In our webinar, we will also review some of the “best practices” from this experience, and address any questions you may have in utilizing them in your district or state.
Please use the information below to join the webinar, and read further for details…
The MOOCs will focus on instructional improvement and student learning related to both the academic standards and the English Language Proficiency standards of your state. In this particular offering, we are especially targeting Oregon, Washington and Iowa because they share standards as well as annual summative assessments in both academic areas (in ELA and Math) and English Language Proficiency – i.e., they both use the SBAC and ELPA21 assessments. However, if your state has adopted similar standards that are college- and career-ready, these courses should easily translate to the needs in any setting.
Starting this coming Fall, we will offer MOOCs that address two related strands in which participants can develop competencies:
Strand A - Language as Formative Assessment: This strand will consist of two courses that build the capacity of teachers to observe student language as a formative assessment practice during instruction. One course will focus on student-to-student discourse, and the second course will focus on the language of argumentation. Both of these uses of language are part of the practice standards in the Common Core as well as essential components of the CCSSO/ELPA21 standards. In the MOOCs, the assignments will focus on obtaining samples of student language across disciplines (ELA, Math and Science), analyzing and sharing them with colleagues in the course, and learning different ways to extend and deepen the quality of the language.
Strand B – Building Performance Assessments: This strand will build educators’ capacity to use and develop curriculum-embedded performance assessments that fit local contexts. Course activities include reviewing sample performance tasks and developing a performance task that is aligned and embedded with a specific curricular unit and performance outcomes. A second course will focus on improving the tasks by obtaining and analyzing student work samples from the performance assessments in relationship to student and community assets and funds of knowledge.
Each of the four courses (2 in each strand) will take approximately 35 hours of learning time. Successful completion of the assignments for each course will result in a “Statement of Accomplishment” which can be used by systems to recognize professional development units or, if graduate credit can be awarded, through the local granting institution.
These courses are based on highly popular MOOCs developed by Stanford University through Understanding Language and SCALE (Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity), with over 50,000 teachers registered. The courses support various aspects of English language development and performance assessment development.
Our experience shows that the most successful MOOC rates of completion are accomplished when participants collaborate in face-to-face settings in between the online sessions, such as in organized professional learning communities or during after-school meetings led by district coaches. In recognition of this fact, we will be offering a set of learning opportunities this summer to help familiarize potential facilitators with the content and the online platform. These opportunities will focus on the content of the MOOCs, managing the online MOOC platform, and facilitating skills for hybrid environments that combine online learning with face-to-face sessions. These will be offered in July-August, and will also be available throughout the course meetings.
Please forward this information to your districts or to anyone else interested in your state.
Thank you for your interest in our resources!