How Deep is your Learning?

blue scissor near papers
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

My first thought when it came to evaluating the effectiveness of new pedagogies was to create a student survey. As Paulo Freire said, “Teaching begins with students, not teachers.” As I mentioned previously, I arrived at my current school when the PYP was being introduced. This proved to be a challenging yet rewarding experience for both myself and my students. Just before the end of the year I sat down with a group of five students and asked them how they felt this year was different from the previous.  A couple of students mentioned that they enjoyed a greater emphasis on asking questions and, as the year progressed, a feeling that they could shape our units of inquiry. The thing they all agreed on was they enjoyed the opportunities for collaboration more than anything else. When students are happy they are more engaged and so I feel that this is a good starting point. I was curious how else I could measure the effectiveness of new pedagogies.

With each year I have worked at my current school, a new model for measuring student growth has been introduced. If I take writing as an example, my first year we had grade-level rubrics designed for assessing students, the following year teachers and students created rubrics, after that a skills rubric for writing was introduced, this year that rubric has been refined to correlate to the How Language Works training that teachers have taken this semester. I feel as though changes are nothing new to educators, however, without consistent rubrics, I do feel as though it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness year to year as to how writing has been taught. We are still working towards implementing assessments that are “comparable across different types of tasks, subjects, schools and systems,” just as Fullen mentions in chapter 5 of A Rich Seam.

One area I was interested in digging deeper about was the use of the Tripod survey as a tool for measuring student engagement. I feel as though surveys that are aligned with the 7 C’s framework could be a useful tool for measuring the effectiveness of new pedagogies and curricula as they are introduced to the school.

“Making assessment much more intrinsically formative is a starting place, as it would develop students’ capacity for incorporating feedback in ways that are much more like how performance is measured in non-school contexts.” – Fullen, Langworthy, A Rich Seam.

Much of the feedback I currently give to students is formative in order to guide them towards the ILP and SSP goals. I am currently using the Wilson reading intervention program with a few students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia. This program is highly explicit and involves a lot of questioning in order to help students solidify their understanding of the English language. I am currently in the process of preparing for the possibility of returning to distance learning at some point in the future. Looking back at how my department supported students before it seems as though the learning specialist helped individual students work through assignments set by classroom teachers. While I feel this would be highly important to ensure student engagement I am also wondering how reading intervention can be successfully integrated into an online-only program that is engaging and allows for the level of feedback that students need in order to make progress.


When I look at the 6 C’s of Deep Learning I feel as though I am doing a pretty good job of planning lessons that help build the competency of character. I try to build resilience in students by showing them how their hard work has resulted in their progress towards goals. Where I want to get to is to feel as though I am delivering lessons that consistently include all of the 6 Competencies for deep learning. I am hoping that through my COETAIL Course 5 project I will be able to do this and, just as importantly, that I will be able to assess this.

One Reply to “How Deep is your Learning?”

  1. Hi Simon,

    I enjoyed reading your post very much. Especially, I love your creativity while naming your posts and the interconnection between the title and the content. I have to admit that I am a little bit jealous, because I am always twisting my brain trying to come up with something original. Tripod survey – it is a great finding for measuring students’ engagement. I wonder how effective this tool is? I will spend some time exploring it, thank you for sharing. Have you used an assessment as a survey before? A survey as a form of possible assessment made on Google forms might be a good option as well, it also allows teachers to be even more specific. I think that even a rubric can be transferred to a survey form which would be even easier for students to fill in.

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