How to get students thinking about learning, not grades
In Croatia, like in many other countries, effective classroom assessment is rare. Teachers are more likely to emphasize rote learning and meeting the required state standards.
For that reason, OA Step by Step Croatia piloted an innovation project. The model was piloted during the 2016/2017 school year in six selected schools in Croatia, and financially supported by Open Society Foundations.
In this project an innovative way of assessing children’s learning was introduced, as well as an innovative way of introducing Professional learning Communities (PLC). About 30 teachers participated in a 3-day training on formative assessment and its implication,s which was followed by continuous support provided through PLCs, organized and managed by OA Step by Step experts and mentors. During the PLC meetings, teachers learned to use PLC for group reflection while discussing new approaches in assessing students’ learning. Their focus was on a wide variety of methods that teachers use to conduct in-process evaluations of student comprehension, learning needs, challenges and academic progress during a lesson, unit, or course. They were also exchanging ideas for adjustments to lessons, instructional techniques, and academic support.
The results of implementation of formative assessment strategies in teachers practice were present and shared during the conference "Formative monitoring - an opportunity, not an illusion" , organized in partnership with the Faculty of Teachers Education of the University of Rijeka. During the keynote speeches by PhD. Assistant Professor Petra Pejić Papak (Faculty of Teacher Education at the University of Rijeka) and Sanja Brajković, (Director of the Open Academy Step by Step Croatia), the concept of formative assessment was unpacked and introduced. The panel
discussion included the topic of change and the various forms of support needed by
practitioners and institutions in order to be able to implement new, innovative practices and
improve quality of teaching, learning and assessment.
This event gathered as many as 140 teachers, professional associates and heads of elementary schools, university professors, representatives of the Education and Teacher Training Agency, which gives us the right to conclude that we managed to put the formative assessment in the spotlight as an important theme in the field of education.