Leading the Development of Formative Assessment within the Team
"We are seeking ways to improve the quality of our work, and thus we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate professionally with Ms. Mateja Peršolja.
With her assistance, we have progressed in introducing and implementing formative assessment of pupils' progress. Through her rich professional contribution, she managed to awaken the intrinsic motivation of our teachers to find paths of co-creation with the pupils. She is always well-prepared for our meetings and her work is concrete and highly professional. After each meeting, she promptly produces notes that serve us for further activities. In addition to working with the group, Ms. Mateja also conducts consultations with the principal, thus jointly shaping the school's developmental orientation.
I believe that her work represents a high added value to our school's developmental orientation. We are gradually spreading this orientation within the team and always have her constant support.
Undoubtedly, as a school, we still have a lot of work in this field, but we have chosen excellent support and a companion in Ms. Mateja.
Irena Sivka Horvat, Principal of OŠ Vojke Šmuc Izola
"With Ms. Mateja Peršolja, we are introducing a new approach step by step, with careful consideration and confirmed good experiences. Formative assessment helps us: to listen to each child entrusted to us, respect them, empower them with a healthy self-image, and encourage them to gain knowledge and values through their own effort."
Sonja Arbeiter, Principal of 2nd Primary School Slovenska Bistrica
"Greetings. I thank you once again for all the information and, most importantly, the support. You gave us the feeling that we are doing well. We know we need to improve, but now it will be much easier."
A teacher from a school with whom we explored paths and co-created formative assessment over an extended period
"Perhaps you are not aware, but you have truly helped me A LOT. Most of all, I liked your HONESTY and the possibility of admitting that you don't have the answer yet... The meeting was great, and the group was pleasant.
Now I understand the essence finally... of course, I am still learning... I have the desire, I'm motivated, and I'm making an effort..."
Feedback from a participant in a seminar
Schools We Collaborated With or Conducted Initial Seminars With:
OŠ Dragomelj, OŠ Branik, OŠ Sv. Ana, OŠ Prevalje (2023), OŠ Sežana, Oš Franceta Prešerna Maribor, OŠ Frana Erjavca, 2. OŠ Slovenj Gradec, OŠ 8. talcev Logatec, OŠ Deskle, OŠ Žužemberk, OŠ Podbočje, OŠ Črna (2022), OŠ Gorje, OŠ Koper, OŠ Vodmat, OŠ Črni Vrh, Gimnazija Ormož, OŠ Dobrovo (2021), OŠ Milojke Štrukelj, OŠ A. Aškerca Velenje (2020), OŠ F. Roša Celje, OŠ Preska, OŠ Toneta Okrogarja, 2. OŠ Slovenska Bistrica, OŠ Preserje pri Radomljah, Oš Frana Kranjca Celje (2019), OŠ Danila Lokarja, OŠ Griže, OŠ Petrovče, OŠ Antona Globočnika Postojna, OŠ V. Kraigherja Ljubljana, Oš Šmartno v Tuhinju, OŠ Dobravlje (2018), OŠ Velike Lašče, OŠ I. Skvarče Zagorje ob Savi, Oš Velika Polana (2018), 1. OŠ Slovenj Gradec, OŠ J. Vege Moravče, OŠ Ormož, OŠ Jarenina, OŠ Kostanjevica na Krki, OŠ Ormož, OŠ Ribnica na Pohorju (2017), OŠ Miklavž na Dravskem polju, OŠ Koper, OŠ Sladki Vrh, OŠ Destrnik – Trnovska vas, OŠ Vojke Šmuc Izola, KUPM 2016
Successful Stories of Formative Assessment Implementation within the Team
Experiences and Insights from Teachers in One of the Slovenian Schools:
- The meetings we have within the formative assessment group are how all educational conferences should be: discussions about the quality of teaching, planning improvements to our teaching.
- With the introduction of formative assessment, pupils become active, which accelerates their acquisition of knowledge, improves retention, and makes learning lasting.
- The learning process, with formative assessment, is placed in the hands of the pupil as an individual; they become aware of their prior knowledge, understand the goals and process, define their criteria, and dictate the pace of learning.
- I'm realizing that pupils can be motivated to become active learners.
- For subjects where structure is essential, this teaching method is very welcome.
- The crucial aspect is working with pupils to be aware of goals and the path to achieving them.
- At such meetings, I get ideas for how to cover certain subjects.
- I'm fascinated by the motivation and independence of pupils, a different approach to knowledge, and peer support and collaboration.
- In the meetings, I receive interesting ideas. I see that formative assessment can be implemented in various subjects; it's not as complicated as I had imagined.
- I'm thrilled by the positive classroom atmosphere and pupils' engagement.
- I like it when I see colleagues' concrete examples, the entire process, and video recordings.
- I'm enthusiastic about the authenticity, sincerity, and realistic assessments. Now I'm learning how even sixth graders can perform critical self-assessments if we guide them in the process of setting performance standards.
- I'm learning how the roles of both teachers and pupils are changing: on one hand, the teacher's role is shifting, and on the other, the pupil's role is expanding, becoming more active in the learning process.
- I'm fascinated by the realization that I'm on the right track.
Why Do We Focus on Supporting Teachers?
By thoughtfully investing in teachers and the school system, we are investing in the future of our country and society. Material conditions (school appearance, room size, etc.) alone do not guarantee quality public education. The key lies in teachers, where the differences between teachers within a school are four times greater than the differences between schools. Experiences from other countries (Dylan Wiliam) show that the only most crucial factor in the educational system is teachers (not changes in curricula, norms, standards, ICT, textbooks, etc.). A study (Yeh, 2011) on the cost-effectiveness of 22 learning approaches reveals that formative assessment is the most cost-effective compared to comprehensive school reform, computer-supported learning, longer lessons, higher teacher education, higher teacher salaries, class size reductions, 10% increases in spending per pupil, high-stakes exams...
Dr. John Hattie emphasizes that we attribute excessive importance to achievements. He states, "The variable that best predicts health, wealth, and happiness in later life is not educational attainment, but the total number of years of schooling. Keeping pupils engaged in the learning process is a highly desired educational outcome. As pupils decide how long they will stay in school between the ages of 11 and 15, the experience of attending school and learning in these years must be productive, challenging, and engaging for them. This increases the likelihood that they will stay in school longer." Furthermore, meta-analyses in Visible Learning find that "people with a completed secondary education live six to nine years longer than those without, have better health, and are less likely to be involved in criminal activities or receive social assistance. These costs significantly outweigh the costs of demonstrably successful education, resulting in increased tax revenue, reduced healthcare spending, and lower public assistance expenditures. In addition, young people have the opportunity for higher incomes, better health, and greater happiness."
Some paths of development in foreign schools as examples of good practice:
Example for learning Walkthrough(VL Walkthrough Tool (2013) for download):