Using Evidence to Guide Teaching and Learning

This group is associated with an online course, facilitated by Scott Filkins, author of Beyond Standardized Truth: Improving Teaching and Learning through Inquiry-Based Reading Assessment. The group will explore the core principle that improving student learning requires purposeful observation and inquiry, allowing you to make informed decisions about practices and interventions.

Course participants will explore:

  • Purposeful feedback & the role of grades 
  • How to analyze patterns in student work to provide more precise teaching 
  • The role of talk in class as an assessment tool

Unlike most traditional online courses, participants are  committed to the 4 C's of participation by:

  • Creating meaningful materials to be taken up in schools immediately.
  • Collaborating with those enrolled in the course as well as those that take an interest in this topic within the Literacy in Learning Exchange.
  • Circulating the ideas and artifacts being created as part of this learning process.
  • Connecting with others of similar interest in this group space long after the course itself is completed.

As such, we encourage and invite all followers into this group space for meaningful collaboration on using evidence to guide teaching and learning.

Multiple districts
Rural/Small town
Mid-size city
Building administrator
Classroom teacher
District administrator
Instructional specialist/coach/mentor
Professional Development/Curriculum coordinator
National Council of Teachers of English
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Introduction: Using evidence...

My name is Anne; I work an an IBMYP  and Montessori school in Connecticut.  I currently work with 7th and 8th grade students. 


1. "At its essence, true formative assessment is assessment that is informing-to teachers, students, and families."  

Formative assessment is a constantly occuring process, a verb, a series of events in action, not a single tool or static noun....teachers must be involved in every step...and have flexibility to make decisions throughout..."

These quotes spoke to me as we are currently using digital assessment folders that are kept current and are accessible to the school community.  These digital folders show up to date records of student writing and thinking from practice notebook type assignments to higher stakes published pieces, we also include imovies and thinking maps w/in these folders.  Conferences and revision are a large part of these folders  so at anytime students, parents and teachers can look in to the folders and see how a students writing and thinking is changing and where that individual student needs more support.   We've made sure that since the beginning the year the students do not "resolve" any comments on their work so as the year their growth can be wittnessed.  The folders are not without their challenges as well, however, for the first year of setting this up, it seems as though the communication with school, student and home is valuable. 


2. A reach for me comes up in the converstaion on page 4 in regards to "Tools and Strategies..."  Although the assessment folders are helpful, I need to work on more quick, and detailed running records and maintain those throughout the year.  I start with book lists to monitor what the students are reading and their pacing and then that sometimes falls by the wayside or put on the back burner.  Reading conference notes are a weakness of mine as when I conference with students and take notes, I find it hard to manage the both well and time is surely a factor as I end up taking too long with one student and short changing another.  I would love to find solid ways and examples of how people are keeping running records to aid in formative assessments.