This blog post was written by Sandra Sanderson. Sandra is a FIP Specialist for the Central Region, a part of a regional support system available to help your LEA advance the use of formative instructional practices.
The 2014 OLAC Action Forum confirmed everything I believe about the ability of formative instructional practices (FIP) to increase student learning and achievement when implemented through the Ohio Improvement 5-Step Process (OIP). In the sessions I attended, teachers and school leaders shared stories of how they developed exciting new practices and implemented them through collaboration. Their stories were full of anecdotal evidence about how they didn’t just complete the required OIP 5-Step forms as a matter of compliance, but instead used this process to make real changes in their teaching practices and their students’ learning practices. Yes, you read that right, I really did mean to say “students’ learning practices” not just student learning. It was evident that these teachers and school leaders collaborated in their TBTs to find ways to encourage students to take ownership of their learning. As every practice shared was based in the four core components of FIP, it further confirmed that the work we have done in the past three years with teachers and school leaders to embed FIP has made an impact, but our work is not yet done.
As a FIP Specialist, some of my work involves collaborating with teacher-based teams (TBTs) who are implementing the OIP 5-Step process. As such, it is imperative that teachers and school leaders understand that FIP really is the work of the OIP 5-step process at the teacher-based team level of implementation. When TBTs are first learning how to move through the OIP 5-Steps, this connection is sometimes unclear. I help to bridge the two together by showing them the formative work they need to do at each step of the OIP 5. This helps them to see practical ways to implement FIP in their classrooms without making it feel like “one more thing” to accomplish. The following bulleted points represent a summary of how I encourage teachers to connect the dots.
Step One: Teachers collect and chart pre-assessment and baseline data to identify how students are performing and progressing. During this step, teachers need to connect the data with learning targets based on standards. The practice of auditing an assessment to identify those learning targets helps teachers make this connection. In addition, teachers need to organize clear learning targets in a logical learning progression that shows mastery for the grade level. This progression must also include differentiated learning targets for students who need either “laying the base” or “going beyond” targets. The FIP goal for this step: Teachers connect assessments with the learning targets for the cycle of instruction.
Step Two: Teachers analyze student work specific to the data collected and charted in step one. They must consider students’ strengths, challenges, misconceptions and what it will mean for students to master the standard. Teachers begin to make their assessment plan which includes a test blueprint. The FIP goal for this step: Teachers create a test blueprint that will align all instruction and assessment.
Step Three: Teachers establish shared expectations for implementing specific effective changes in the classroom. This is a time of collaboration during which teachers select instructional strategies based on best practices. They plan lessons that include formative instructional practices that will monitor student learning during the instructional cycle, and create assessments from the test blueprint. The collaboration at this step will support teachers’ efforts to align instruction and assessments during the cycle of instruction. The FIP goal for this step: Teachers create learning activities and assessments based on learning targets using the test blueprint.
Step Four: Teachers implement changes consistently across all classrooms. Step four is a time of action for teachers and students. Teachers implement the instructional strategies, lessons and assessments created in step three of the process in their classrooms and create opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning. Students set goals and are engaged in analyzing their formative data and keeping track of their progress towards mastering their learning targets.. Teachers create opportunities for students to work collaboratively giving peer-to-peer feedback as in addition to self-assessment. The FIP goal for this step: Teachers implement the plan decided upon in step three and encourage student ownership of learning through formative instructional practices.
Step Five: Teachers collect, chart and analyze pre/post data and determine effectiveness of practices. They collaborate during TBT time to share formative and summative data collected during step four. The focus will be on the summative data with teachers comparing pre and post assessments to assess students’ growth in learning of the identified learning targets for the cycle of instruction. They will also analyze effectiveness of the instructional strategies, lessons and assessments from step three and discuss their students’ effectiveness in taking ownership of their own learning. The FIP goal for this step: The sharing of assessment results, effectiveness of instructional strategies, lessons and assessments, and students’ success in taking ownership of learning will impact teachers’ work in the next instructional cycle as they begin the cycle again at Step One.
Formative instructional practices help teacher-based teams use best practices in leadership and work through Ohio’s Five-Step Process for improvement. Watch the video to learn how these practices inform each step of the process.