The field of assessment has been concerned almost exclusively with the measurement of developed ability. This kind of assessment was described by Vygotsky as retrospective in orientation. It looks at yesterday’s development.
But assessment can and should also be prospective. It can be used to describe and forecast developing abilities or dynamic development. It can be used to catalyze development. And through these uses, it can guide learning and teaching.
In her work, Cynthia has developed prospective assessments and used them in the design of Learning Cultures. Learning Cultures assessments are embedded in the curriculum, where they are used to catalyze learner development and to give feedback to learners and teachers to guide their behavior. These assessments are not designed to measure ability. They are not designed for formative purposes, to inform instructional planning, though they can be used that way. Rather, they are designed to serve as instruction by causing learning to begin immediately in the assessment context and to result in new development.
The Learning Cultures Rubrics are the procedural rules that describe routines and assign roles to learners and teachers in ways that require learners to collaborate and take greater responsibility for learning. There are rubrics for each of the Learning Cultures formats.
LEARNING CULTURES RUBRICS
In most of the Learning Cultures formats, embedded assessments are used to structure activity and to provide information to learners and teachers to guide their behavior. These assessments are used catalytically, to bring into being new forms of development. Commonly-used Learning Cultures assessments appear below.
Cooperative Unison Reading is a method of group reading instruction that is played like a rule game. The Cooperative Unison Reading Rules can be laminated and used as a reference in reading sessions. The rules serve as assessment probes that bring about interactions that support higher-level thinking.
The Cooperative Unison Reading Record is a method of group reading assessment. The record is structured so that teachers can horizontally transcribe language interactions of the format activity.
Writing is approached in Learning Cultures as a form of action. Students are required always to be intentional about the purpose they bring to their writing, which influences the topics they select to write about and they forms their writing takes. The Writing Conference Record is used to structure interactions between learners and teachers in ways that support the achievement of purpose.
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