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KnowledgeBases > Collaborating to Improve Teacher and Student Work

Seeking input from colleagues and experts implies a willingness to interact with other knowledgeable teachers and educators on ways to improve instruction and student work from the output of assessments for learning. The challenge lies in how to collaborate effectively with others to do so. Two resources from the Center for Collaborative Education, Looking Collaboratively at Student and Teacher Work and Professional Collaboration to Improve Teacher and Student Work offer guidance and insights on how teachers can collaborate effectively to improve instruction. Though written in the context of the "Turning Points" design model for middle school change, these documents provide useful examples of effective collaborative processes all teachers can embrace.

Looking Collaboratively at Student and Teacher Work makes available a collection of protocols with discussion and rationale for looking at student work to improve instruction. The six protocols addressed in this guide include the following:

Consultancy Protocol—Provides assistance in solving a problem or gaining insight into a dilemma. While useful for looking at student work, the Consultancy Protocol is especially effective for working collaboratively to problem solve around a particular instructional issue or challenge.

Collaborative Assessment Protocol—Provides a systematic way of looking at a piece of student work to see what it reveals about the student’s thinking, knowledge, skills, and what matters to him or her. It also shows how the things that matter to the student relate to teachers’ learning goals and instructional practices.

Standards Protocol—Provides a format for analyzing student work in relation to specific learning goals and a scoring rubric.

Charrette Protocol—Provides a fresh perspective to a piece of work or a project to move it forward during development, or to improve its quality during revision.

Assignment Protocol—Provides insights into how an assignment, project, unit or other piece of teacher work will enhance student learning.

Vertical Slice Protocol—Provides a snapshot of what students know and are able to do by looking at a cross-section of ordinary work produced in a school over a narrow period of time.

Each of these protocols offers a structured process for specific areas of instruction. The guide provides supporting advice for using each one. They can be helpful as a group of teachers gather to assess the output from their classroom assessments as they consider adjustments in their instruction and future assessments.

As teachers interact together, the guide suggests the following norms be applied to the effort.

Stay focused on the question or problem.
Give balanced feedback that acknowledges strengths as well as gaps in student work and teacher assignments.
Listen thoughtfully and openly.
Respect differences and focus on understanding where different opinions and ideas come from.
Reveal your thinking to others.
Be reflective, patient, and persistent.
Look openly and critically at the evidence.
Look for patterns in the work.
Be willing to change.

The second resource, Professional Collaboration to Improve Teacher and Student Work, presents a series of brief stories with examples of teachers interacting to improve their instruction and the students' work.

To read each of these complete documents, click on each of the resources below.


Looking Collaboratively at Student and Teacher Work, Turning Point Guides, Center for Collaborative Education
Professional Collaboration to Improve Teacher and Student Work, Anne Wheelock, Conversations, Vol 1, Number 1, Fall 2000

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