How can teacher groups assess student work productively? By focusing on improving teaching, not on proving students "got it."
With the proliferation of data teams, lesson study groups, and professional learning communities, teachers today have plenty of opportunities to analyze student work together. But collaborating in teacher groups can be challenging and— sadly—unproductive, even when teams use recommended protocols.
For the past five years, we have studied eight professional learning communities of secondary-level math and science teachers who engage in inquiry centered on assessing student work. We've witnessed the challenges teachers encounter in sharing differing beliefs about teaching and learning, finding resources that inform their inquiry, identifying which student work to consider, and making sense of students' thinking in relation to learning goals.