on 23 October 2013
Wiliam is a leading educational theorist who is a rare beast: an academic who actually speaks directly to teachers. This book is jammed packed with invaluable insights into how teachers function and how they can best amend and improve their practice. Wiliam is both an idealist and a pragmatist: he has noble aims for education and profoundly believes that assessment needs to be a positive, constructive experience for both teachers and learners. He re-casts teachers as "learners" but not in a patronising fashion, and offers the important perception that many teachers need to improve what they already do well and that they need to be empowered to make decisions as to what they need to have more training in. He wants to avoid a "top-down" approach to CPD, which he shows nearly always doesn't work in the long term. The book is very well-written; extremely lucid. My only gripe is that the publisher needs to have an active table of contents for the Kindle because this would make the book more teacher-friendly.
on 16 December 2013
Dylan Wiliam on formative assessment is always a treat. No surprises then that this paper (it cannot be described as a book) was packed full of insight and interest. It is only suitable for those who have already worked through his earlier "embedded formative assessment", as it describes research on how the strategies contained in the earlier book can be implemented in schools through the establishment of teacher learning communities. The author cannot be faulted for being honest about how difficult change is to achieve, but I did feel that I would have been more encouraged had the case study of teacher learning communities given been more successful. But the encouragement Wiliam offers does not come through saying the journey will be easy, only that it is worth the effort.