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Monday, 6 January 2014

Making a Difference

2013 was quite the year! Sandra and I spent time in December reflecting on the year. I loved reading the 'Daily Good' posting about Five Ways Kids Have Inspired Us Through Play This YearAnd what about this young man who has built a car powered by air out of Lego? Consider a non-profit called Apathy is Boring. Two amazing young people who decided to take action to engage and encourage others to get involved in voting started it. Their families and the educators who have taught them over the years have made it possible for them to make a difference.
I've been inspired this past year by educators whose unceasing efforts make a difference.
Consider...educators who are working with students and families to develop a reporting process that focuses on communicating evidence of learning. They are finding ways to reinvent reporting using the gifts of technology. They are finding ways to move beyond letter grades and percentages - inventions of more than a hundred years ago!
Consider...professors who are changing assessment courses--to better reflect the reality of today's classrooms. In particular, two professors who piloted our "Flipped Classroom" assessment resources. They have used these resources to engage pre-service teachers in important conversations during class time while giving them the option of revisiting key concepts over and over again on their own. This is another example of technology supporting personalized student learning.
Consider... the many educators who supported Sandra and her colleagues as they worked hard to complete the French language version of Setting and Using Criteria and make it available to our French colleagues. It is long overdue. I am so thankful for all the work that went into making Établir et utiliser des critères a reality. It is flying into teachers’ hands and supporting their work!


I know 2014 is going to be GREAT in part because we are such a collaborative collection of professionals. One example that comes to mind immediately is Assessment for Learning: Canada in Conversation with the World which is scheduled for April 2014 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Imagine - all the International delegates are donating their time and energy so information and ideas about assessment from all over the world can be brought together in one place for five amazing days. 
Every spot at the International Symposium is taken with teams coming from more than 12 countries – amazing, eh? Invitations to the Canadian Symposium went out late in November. We expect to have representatives from every province and territory in Canada and from several national organizations. The Canadian Conference is also filling up quickly. If you haven’t registered yourself and your team, please do so soon so you won’t be disappointed. The Canadian Conference is a time for all of us to learn about the deliberations of the International Symposium - we'll be the first audience!
There are so many more examples of people doing amazing things in support of students and their learning. I hope as this New Year begins you take time to appreciate all that has been accomplished before setting goals for the months to come. Just like our students, we need to appreciate and celebrate our many successes. After all, our successes give us the strength we need to tackle the goals we've set.

Happy New Year!
All my best,
PS Are you a doctoral student? Are you interested in attending the entire five-day event in Fredericton, NB in April 2014? We have a limited number of spaces – ten – for observers to be part of a doctoral seminar where they will spend their time between the International Symposium and the Canadian Symposium and have time to meet other doctoral students from across Canada who are also interested in assessment. Your registration will include your attendance at the Canadian Conference as well. Go here to apply.

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