Three district campuses share best practices in teaching with Assessment for Learning


Several Dallas ISD schools are becoming known for their success with a method that allows teachers and students to recognize and respond to student learning during learning – in other words, monitoring student learning to provide ongoing feedback. In Dallas ISD, 17 campuses – 10 elementary and seven secondary schools – use this method, known as Assessment for Learning. And recently, Moises Molina High School hosted a site visit by Region 12 principals who were interested in seeing the method in action.

“Molina is fully invested in Assessment for Learning and we are excited to keep providing professional learning opportunities to our teachers (on and off campus), peer observations for teachers, and continuing to grow the work,” said Emily Brokaw, academic coordinator at Molina, adding that Molina has been involved with the program for six years since it was originally piloted in the district, and that Principal Jacob Nunez has been a strong proponent.

Two other schools recognized for the work – C.A. Tatum Elementary and Lenore Kirk Hall Personalized Learning Academy – were tapped to share best practices used by their teachers due to their success with Assessment for Learning (AFL) and Visible Learning (VL).

Tatum, which like Molina is one of the four founding district schools for the AFL program, recently became the first urban school in Texas to be named a Visible Learning Plus-certified school. Visible Learning Plus is a professional development program for teachers that provides an in-depth “review and change” model for schools.

During the Region 12 visit:

  • A panel of teachers spoke about the impactful professional learning experiences that have contributed to their success with Assessment for Learning and how the program helps them focus on the quality of student learning rather than the quantity of classwork.
  • Brokaw, the academic coordinator, shared a Problem of Practice that Molina has been grappling with: “How might we accelerate our new teachers’ professional learning?” and described the school’s new teacher professional learning plan, called Jaguar Essential Knowledge & Skills Academy.
  • A panel of students shared the importance of advocating for themselves as learners and the impact of having teachers who take an active interest in their students.
  • In classroom observations, teachers showed how they use learning goals and success criteria to help students achieve clarity in their learning.

Adam Flores, Teaching and Learning department project manager, said: “The success of Assessment for Learning is grounded in its definition, which is the planned, ongoing process used by all students and the teacher during learning to elicit and use evidence of learning to improve student understanding in any subject – all in the name of supporting students’ ability to become self-directed learners. When we see that happening consistently in a classroom, we know the students will find success.”

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