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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL NEWS
Luxembourg School Hosts National Teacher Conference
By Chris Starr 25-Mar-14
Basic education reform has been a contentious issue in Luxembourg for the past several years, and a hot topic at the center of that debate is school assessment practice. So this is perfect timing for one of the world’s leading authorities on school assessment to be travelling to the area for a two-day workshop, hosted by the International School of Luxembourg (ISL). Dylan Wiliam is the co-author of the book Inside the Black Box, which is considered to be the seminal work on classroom assessment. His teaching techniques have been featured on prime time television in the UK in the form of two one-hour BBC documentaries entitled The Classroom Experiment. For fans of formative assessment, he is nothing short of a rock star, who campaigns for simple changes in classroom methods that can generate both dramatic student results and improved educational standards. Governments throughout the world have been engaged in costly research and detailed policy-making in order to raise their national standards of learning and school performance. Amidst all the talk, decision making, and pressure on classrooms from the outside, Mr. Wiliam claims something is missing: “Learning is driven by what teachers and pupils do in the classroom. Here, teachers have to manage complicated and demanding situations, channelling the personal, emotional, and social pressures amongst a group of 30 or so youngsters in order to help them learn now, and become better learners in the future. Standards can only be raised if teachers can tackle this task more effectively— what is missing from the policies is any direct help with this task.” Help with this task is exactly the aim of the Assessment for Learning Workshop. Teachers will learn how to develop minute-to-minute and day-by-day assessment skills that can powerfully improve their students’ learning prospects. They will learn which techniques have worked for increasing educational achievement, and which have not. They will discuss what formative assessment really is, and what it is not, and they will be given hands-on techniques and strategies that they can use in their classrooms and share with their colleagues to support measurable improvements in their learning communities. The Assessment for Learning Conference at ISL was sponsored by Chapters International and open to all teachers and administrators throughout Luxembourg and beyond. The conference, took place earlier this month; ISL received no income from this conference, as all registration fees go to Chapters International in order to cover conference costs and support their ongoing efforts to provide practical, professional development experiences for teachers worldwide. While we await an update from Mr. Starr on the event itself, visit http://www.chaptersinternational.com to learn more.
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