The ASOT Reflection

Region 9 High Reliability Schools-March 2019

Design Area Spotlight: Assessment

The design area of assessment is new to the updated version of The Art and Science of Teaching. It falls under the feedback lesson segment as it is part of the feedback loop between teachers and students. According to Marzano, "assessment is a feedback mechanism for students and teachers." The key, though, is that although students are being assessed, the idea of measurement over time takes precedence.
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Element 4: Informal Assessments of the Whole Class

We know that informal assessments of the whole class help teachers determine how well students are learning the content. It helps determine pacing, direct instruction and reteaching opportunities as well. Here are some of the recommended strategies within this element:

  • Confidence Rating Techniques: hand signals or technology; allow teachers to determine where students are struggling
  • Voting Techniques: specific questions/prompts, multiple choice or true/false; can include physical movement
  • Response Boards: students respond on boards or cards; provide feedback about students' understanding including specific areas of difficulty; teacher look fors: missing info, key words, procedural clues, justifications of how/why, extrapolation/application
  • Unrecorded Assessments: students score own assessments; provide direct/immediate feedback; data used to track not grade

Digital tools can be used to aid in collection of responses as well.

The Right Questions, The Right Way

An article by Dylan William, published in Educational Leadership, March 2014

The Most Effective Assessments Teachers Have Used

Ideas from teachers, provided to ASCD

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Element 5: Formal Assessments of Individual Students

Just like we know that informal, formative assessments help guide our instruction, we know that sometimes we need formal assessments to more accurately monitor and track what students are learning. These might look like:

  • Common Assessments: planned during PLCs; can use proficiency scales as the basis; teachers create and compare results together
  • Student Demonstrations: demonstrate understanding of a topic; typically used with skills, strategies or processes; could include a "think aloud"
  • Student Interviews: one-on-one conversations with student in which student explains his/her knowledge of the topic
  • Observations of Students: unobtrusive and anecdotal in nature; ties to "withitness"
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You've got questions...we've got answers!

In one of our recent ASOT sessions, we asked participants to leave us any questions they had. We'll address some of those in this section each month.

If you have any questions for this section, please let us know by emailing Christy at

Where can I find reproducibles of graphic organizers like those seen in training?

Christy says...

Some of the graphic organizers mentioned in Element 8: Recording and Representing, like the alphabox or lotus notes, can be found on our website under the ASOT tab. Others, like the placemat and the Frayer model are found online. Here are some great sites for finding graphic organizers of all kinds:

Still, others like the comparison matrix are found online in the compendium. That one seemed to cause some confusion in a recent training, so let's take a closer look at it. You've probably seen real-world examples of these.

In classrooms, a comparison matrix might be used to compare attributes of stories, genres, periodic elements, animals, historical events, types of government, etc. Take a look at some examples below.
Some great information about the usefulness and purpose of graphic organizers can be found here.

How can I use different types of notes (sketchnotes, Cornell, etc.) in my class?

Miranda says...

Note-taking matters! There is so much research in our world of education that helps us understand the importance of note-taking. This podcast from the Cult of Pedagogy combs through three decades of research to highlight some key ideas when implementing note-taking into your lessons. This article from Scholastic not only discusses the research behind note-taking, it shows how you can add visuals to class note-taking to make them even more powerful!

If I had to narrow down two takeaways in regards to note-taking from my experiences, it would be these two things:

1) It is imperative to explicitly teach students HOW to take notes AND to ACTIVELY MONITOR your students while you are explicitly teaching them. Develop some system to hold them accountable for their notes. After a busy week of note-taking in my classroom, I would assign a grade to their note-taking by using a note-taking rubric I provided them when we set up our journals at the beginning of the year.

2) Expose your students to many styles of note-taking. Taking notes is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. Your students will latch on to the style that helps them be most successful. This video is one of my favorites that shows a synopsis of 5 different styles of note-taking that students may adopt.

If you're interested in discussing this topic further, please feel to reach out!

What is the difference between declarative and procedural knowledge?

Marisa says...

It's important to keep in mind that declarative and procedural are just two types of knowledge. The information below originates from Cairo University:

Declarative versus Procedural Knowledge

A second important distinction in the study of memory is between declarative and procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge is knowledge about facts and things, knowledge that something is the case. In contrast, procedural knowledge is knowledge about how to perform certain cognitive activities, such as reasoning, decision making, and problem solving.

Declarative memory

The memory associated with cognitive skills not directly attributable to muscular or glandular responses. The complete memory may be acquired through a single exposure, but practice is beneficial. Declarative memory is required to recall factual information, and it is sometimes called fact memory. The ability to recognize a face, recall a number, or recall any verbal or sensory information requires declarative memory.

One important use for the declarative‑procedural distinction is to describe the kinds of learning students may achieve. A novice student in a teacher education program, for instance, may memorize principles of classroom management (e.g., "Allow students to make value judgments.") as declarative knowledge, but he may have little or no notion of how these principles actually would be used in effective teaching (procedural knowledge).

Although it has not been described with the terms declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge, the declarative‑procedural distinction has been implicit in the work of a number of learning theorists‑for instance, in the work of Benjamin Bloom and his associates. In Bloom's analysis, for instance, a contrast was drawn between lower levels of learning (i.e., knowledge, comprehension), in which facts, concepts, and rules are learned and understood, and "higher‑order" learning (i.e., application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation), in which knowledge is used as part of higher level cognitive processes.

Of course, not all procedural knowledge is "higher‑order" knowledge based on more fundamental declarative knowledge. Procedural knowledge can be quite simple and only implicitly linked with declarative knowledge. A young child, for instance, who remembers how to unlatch the door, turn off a faucet, brush her teeth, and open a book, is showing her recall of procedural knowledge.

Also, procedural knowledge often is "automated" we often begin "doing" without any apparent conscious attention to what we are doing or why we are doing it. In a lecture class at a university, for example, most students will enter the class, find a seat, take out a notebook, and begin taking notes with little or no conscious attention to the task. Similarly, as we read, decoding words and comprehending the meaning of what we are reading ordinarily occurs quite automatically. Sometimes, however, our searches of declarative knowledge come at least partially under conscious control. ("Who is the author of Hamlet?")

In most learning, of course, there is interplay between declarative and procedural knowledge. A concert pianist learning a new song by Domenico Scarlatti, for instance, may search her memory for declarative knowledge about that composer's preferred method of executing certain embellishments such as the appoggiatura, mordent, and trill‑declarative knowledge that will be utilized in the development of procedural knowledge. Conversely, procedural knowledge has undeniable impact on declarative knowledge. Like most experts, our pianist has procedural knowledge about how she best recalls information about composers and their works and will search her declarative knowledge accordingly. Yet another cluster of procedural knowledge‑her skills in performing‑enhances and gives substance to the declarative knowledge she possesses (e.g., "Scarlatti intended for the mordents to be played according to the basic tempo of the passage. That would mean that they should be thirty‑second notes here.")

In most school learning, similarly, there will be goals for the acquisition of both declarative and procedural knowledge. One important goal of education is the development of relatively large, stable, and interrelated sets of declarative knowledge. As educators, we expect students will be "knowledgeable". At the same time, however, we place a considerable premium on knowing "how to." For the practitioner, usable knowledge is critical. Especially in applied programs such as journalism, architecture, teaching, management business, and medicine, procedural knowledge is an important outcome of the educational process.

From: Cairo University

Summer Sessions

Registration opens April 1!

We are so excited to offer several professional development sessions this summer.

First, we are hosting a Mini-Summit June 25 and 26. Each day is a separate session, so you can attend one or both. Dr. Tammy Heflebower, Dr. Phil Warrick, and Dr. Tina Boogren will all be here as keynote speakers. We will have breakout sessions presented by leaders and teachers from our region who have seen the benefits of HRS and ASOT. It is free for those in our region, and you do not have to be on an HRS campus to attend (so feel free to share!). If you know someone outside our region that might be interested, please pass along the information. Registration for non-Region 9 participants is $150 for the two-day conference.

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However, the Mini-Summit isn't all we have to offer this summer!

Proficiency Scales

There will be a proficiency scales training June 20. The session number is #347124. This is designed for teachers who have been trained in ASOT to implement Element 1 in the classroom.

ASOT Follow Up

We are also hosting what we call ASOT Follow Up sessions July 23-25. These are designed for teachers who have been through ASOT training (in any year) who want to work on applying those elements to their own classroom practice. These sessions are stand-alone, so feel free to attend one, two or all three days. The session numbers and content are here:

July 23 #347314 Feedback

July 24 #347315 Content

July 25 #347316 Context

ASOT for Young Learners

On July 18, there will be a session for teachers of young learners in adapting the elements of ASOT to the particular needs of younger students. The session number is #347125.

Please see the document below for more information.

Resource: R9 HRS Site

We are so excited to launch our new website this year. You can find it at There is a tab just for you as an ASOT teacher complete with files and documents that will help you reach your goals. Take a few minutes to explore the site or take a look at the ThingLink below for a tour of the site. Be sure to let us know if we can add anything that would be especially helpful for you!
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ASOT in Action Submissions

We know you work hard to try new things and to be the best teacher you can be. We want to celebrate all that you do and share what is working in classrooms across our region. If you have tried an ASOT element and think others could benefit from the idea, please consider taking a few pictures or even a video and submitting them to us to be included in future newsletters or other shared resources.

You can use the form below for easy submission of your photos and/or videos or you can email them to with a brief explanation of what you tried and what you thought of the strategy.

Coming Up!

Group 4 ASOT, Part 3

Tuesday, March 26th, 9am to Wednesday, March 27th, 4pm

301 Texas 11 Loop

Wichita Falls, TX

March 26-27 (Session#329905) is the third and final two-day session for Group 4 in ASOT.

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