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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Find your Assessment Community

Working by ourselves in isolation is hard. When we are the ones tromping a new path in a new direction, it is easy to get discouraged. I was thinking about how hard it is to walk alone when I was walking through the woods after three days of snow.  I looked ahead and saw undisturbed snow as far as I could see – not one footprint. This is going to be a lot of work,” I thought.

I was right. It was a lot work. Just like it was a lot of work in the 1980s when Rick Stiggins, Terrance Crook, and others were laying the foundation for what would become the field of classroom assessment. Every one of us who have come along and followed in their footsteps has found it easier to make a difference because of the work they did. We benefit from the hard work of those whose steps we follow. We need to find our assessment community and continue to expand the community as much as we are able to do so. And share who we are learning from and what we are learning with others. After all, we benefit from the shoulders upon which we stand.

Right now I’m in the airport on my way to Atlantic Canada. I’m doing this blog because my flight is delayed – the reality of air travel these days. Over the coming week more than 250 people will be travelling to Fredericton from all across North America and as far away as Finland, Scotland, Israel, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and New Zealand. The International and Canadian Symposium delegates and the conference attendees are making the trip because we know that ‘together we are better.’

These events can only happen because every single participant – presenter, delegate, conference attendee – is donating their personal time to engage in conversations that will go beyond what any one of us know and on to that place where together we can create something more on behalf of learners. Everyone shares the hard work they've done and the learning that is hard won!

It is together that we can share what we’ve learned about learning and assessment in classrooms, in faculty groups, and across systems. We will each leave with resources to support our own work in the area of classroom assessment – assessment in the service of learning.

And, most importantly, we will leave with HOPE that this work we’re engaged in – this tough work – is worth it for the learners whom we serve.

We hope to see you there! If you can’t come, watch #AforLconversationfor updates and ‘word bites.’

All my best,

PS NEWS!!! There is one spot available to a Canadian who wants to be a delegate to the Canadian Symposium. If you want to have that spot you need to be able to get yourself to Fredericton for 5:30 pm Tuesday, April 7th, and stay until Saturday, April 12th, at 4:30 pm. There is a registration fee and accommodation plus related costs. If you are interested, please get in touch with me through Twitter :-)

PPS There is a lot of snow in Fredericton, NB –  100 cm of fresh snow last week. Has the metaphor become reality? Please send along your best wishes that we all make it through the drifts to the conversations.

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