School Improvement in Maryland

Sample Professional Development Activities

Schools and districts may also want to incorporate the tools into their professional development activities. The following examples are some of the outcomes and strategies that might be of interest to teachers.

Outcome: To develop a deeper understanding of the intent of the indicator/objective

  1. Ask participants to examine the context in the VSC of the specified objective
    • What is the relationship of the objective to the indicator and standard?
    • What are students being asked to do on this objective?
    • What is the cognitive demand of the objective?
    • When is that objective first introduced in the VSC?
    • How does the objective develop across the years?
    • What would you expect a student to know before he/she came to your grade level?
  2. Read “Clarification of Indicator and Objectives” on the the Examining Student Work Discussion.
  3. Ask participants if their understanding matched the information in “Clarification of Indicator and Objectives.”

Outcome: To determine what a proficient response should include

  1. Have participants read the text, “Persistence” (pdf) and the question that students were asked.
  2. In teams, ask participants to reach consensus on what a 6th grade student would need to include in a response to this question.
  3. After teams have reached consensus, have them listen to the Pikesville team reach consensus.
  4. Ask them to respond to the following questions:
    • Did your team arrive at the same conclusion as the Pikesville team?
    • If not, in what ways did you differ?
    • Did their discussion change your mind in any ways?
    • In what areas did the Pikesville team agree most quickly?
    • In what areas did they have more difficulty agreeing?
    • Were there any unresolved issues at the end of the discussion?
    • If you used your definition of proficiency and they used their definition, how would diagnosing student responses be different?

Outcome: To diagnose student strengths and needs and to determine where to go with the student next instructionally

  1. Have participants read the text, “Persistence” and the question that students were asked.
  2. Provide participants with handouts of student responses
  3. In teams, have participants diagnose student responses by answering the following questions:
    • What does the student demonstrate that they know and can do?
    • What does the student still need to learn (or at least demonstrate that they know)?
  4. In same teams, have participants identify instructional next step.
    • What would you like to ask the student to give you better information about what they know?
    • What would you focus on in your individual feedback to the student?
    • What would you have them do?
  5. Have participants listen to the Pikesville team diagnose student responses.
    • What were the points of agreement? Disagreement?
    • What were the best strategies?
    • Did you hear any new ideas?
    • What would you model for your students?
    • After reading all of the class papers, what would you do instructionally with the whole class? With groups of students?
    • For students who had a proficient response where would you take them next?
    • What would you have them do while others are still mastering proficiency?
  6. Show participants annotated student responses.

Outcome: To develop consistent interpretation of student performance and consistent application of the criteria for proficiency.

  1. Have teachers field test one of the questions with their class(es).
  2. Ask students to bring three student responses to a grade level team meeting. The papers should represent a paper from the top, bottom and middle of the class.
  3. Follow the protocol on the formative tools web site.
  4. At the end of the protocol, ask the team the following questions:
    • Do you have a good idea of what your students know and still need to learn from this activity?
    • Do you have a good idea of what you will do instructionally next?
    • Did you get any new ideas for instructional strategies from the discussion?
    • Did you revise your thinking in any way about what your students knew or still needed to learn?