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Issue 3, July 2018


Guy Claxton, Professor of Education, King's College London was a keynote speaker at this year's IEA Assessment Conference 2018: Fostering student agency and self-regulated learning, speaking to 'Building learning power' in today's students, across year levels and educational sectors. During his address, Guy discussed some of the desirable outcomes of education developing 'successful learners' and the significance of the independent learning dispositions that education must deliberately cultivate in every student.

In this article, Guy provides some guidelines on how to get the intended outcomes and the evidence you need without having 'negative effects on the spirit of the enterprise'.

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Terminology in brief

An exploration of terms in the educational space and their meanings. For a growing list of terms see our wordlist.

Self-regulated learning

Self-regulated learning (SLR) is an area of educational psychology developed by psychologist Barry Zimmerman. Learn about the three phases that guide self-regulated learning, and how you, as an educator, can support students in this area.

Student agency

Learn about the four aspects of agency and how they apply to student agency.

Zone of proximal development (ZPD)

What is this ZPD that everyone is talking about? Just more psychobabble? Absolutely not. Find out more about ZPD and Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky.

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Case studies in focus

Improving literacy through differentiation and the importance of effective feedback

Louise Eldridge

Louise discusses improving literacy through differentiation and the promotion of self-regulated learning by providing students with effective feedback. This case study focusses on task design and feedback for the school's Year Eight Geography cohort with whole faculty involvement.

Improving literacy through backward design and differentiation

Mandy Loveder

Mandy looks at improving literacy through backward design and differentiation, highlighting the importance of implementing a whole school approach by providing a cohesive methodology across curriculum and year levels.

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Assessment Notebook

A collection of quotes, articles, and other interesting references exploring broad themes around assessment.

If a project is not intriguing and engaging, if it is perceived by students as thinly disguised busywork, if it is so loosely specified and supervised that students just flounder listlessly, if it is overprescribed and overcontrolled, if students are unprepared for the degree of responsibility and maturity required to make it work, if they have not yet learned to work productively and respectfully together in a group-then inquiry-based learning can be, as some critics point out, a waste of time. But if some basic design principles are followed, and teachers navigate the middle way between being laissex-faire and being overcontrolling, so that students grapple productively with the challenges that arise, then its impact can indeed be transformative.

- Claxton, G 'The Learning Power Approach', Corwin, 2018, p 180
Helping children learn what they need to know to do well on school tests in not the same as helping to develop their broader ability to face new challenges with confidence and craft.

- Claxton, G 'The Learning Power Approach', Corwin, 2018, p 215
Challenges and problems can derail your creative process ... or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.

- Tim Harford
View TED talk
Laskowski, T, ed. 2018, 'Learning to write, writing to learn', special issue, Educational Leadership, vol. 75, no. 7
Zimmerman, J 2002 'Becoming a self-regulated learner: an overview', in , Theory into Practice, vol. 41, no. 2, Spring 2002
If a student fails to understand some aspect of a lesson in class, he or she must possess the self-awareness and strategic knowledge to take correction action.

- Zimmerman, BJ 2000, 'Attainment of self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective' in Boekaerts, M, Pintrich, PR, Zeidner, M (eds), Handbook of self-regulation, Academic Press, San Diego, pp 65
Becoming a self-regulated learner
Panadero, E & Alonso-Tapia, J 2014, 'How do students self-regulate? Review of Zimmerman's cyclical model of self-regulated learning', in Anales de Psicologia, May 2014
How do students self-regulate?
Quigley, A, Mujis, D & Stringer, E 2018, ‘Metacognition and self-regulated learning: Guidance report, Education Endowment Foundation, London
Metacognition and self-regulated learning
We state emphatically that, upon its intellectual side education consists of the formation of wide-awake, careful, thorough habits of thinking. Of course intellectual learning includes the amassing and retention of information. But information is an undigested burden unless it is understood. It is knowledge only as material is comprehended. And understanding, comprehension, means that the various parts of the information are grasped in their relations to one another - a result that is attained only when acquisition is accompanied by constant reflection upon the meaning of what is studied

- Dewey, J 1933, How We Think, Heath, Lexington MA, p 78-9
By providing educational contexts in which agency can be nurtured, educators create contexts where students are in charge of their learning and imagine alternative possibilities and pathways. Such rich learning spaces can provide generative contexts where students can problem solve, imagine, and create new possibilities.

- Vaughn, M 2017, 'Making sense of student agency in the early years', in Phi Delta Kapan, April 2018, p 66
Making sense of student agency in the early grades
Thinking is much more fun than memorizing

- Brookhart, S 2010, How to Assess Higher-Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom, ASCD, Alexandria VA
Once you have learned to ask questions - relevant and appropriate and substantial - you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever it is you need to know

- Postman, N & Weingartner, C 1971, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Penguin Books, London
Stobart, G 2014, The Expert Learner: challenging the myth of ability, Open University Press, Berkshire
If students learn how to judge their success and failure as opportunities to improve and learn they can then control their attribution style so that it is more adaptive and , as a result, better control their emotions…..when students make adaptive decisions, the willingness to perform the task again is maintained whether keeping the same strategies or using new ones to obtain better results. On the other hand, when defensive actions are taken, students try to avoid performing the task again so as not to experience new failures. Among the effects of the defensive decisions are: apathy, lack of interest, procrastination or even learned helplessness.

- Panadero, E & Alonso-Tapia, J 2014, 'How do students self-regulate? Review of Zimmerman's cyclical model of self-regulated learning', in Anales de Psicologia, May 2014, p 458
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

- Thomas Edison
I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up, and boy does that help - particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.

- Charlie Mumger, Vice Charman of the Berkshire Hathaway Conglomerate (from his University of Southern California Law Commencement Speech, May 2007)
Students 'search for significance', they want meaning and fight the forces of insignificance.

- Leadbeater, C 2018,'Student agency' presentation to the 2018 ACARA Curriculum Forum with Charles Leadbeater, Sydney, 9 May 2018

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