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sessment, it was clear from the participants’ responses that their awareness had increased through participation in the lesson study process. Three related changes emerged from the data: changes in teachers’ thinking about formative assessment; changes in teachers’ use of formative assessment; and changes in teachers’ instructional practices based on formative assessment data.

Participating in the detailed lesson planning of the lesson study process led teachers to seek out additional information about how their students were learning, and to use that data to guide their planning. The resulting changes in teachers’ thinking about the use of formative assessment are demonstrated in the reflections of three participants:

A lot of times in the public schools, we focus on the teacher. We worry about what we’re doing and what we’re supposed to be doing next. [Lesson study] allowed us to take a step back to look more closely at what the kids are thinking and what the kid’s perspective is. When you do that, you realize that not every kid thinks things through the way we might expect. As they work things out on scratch paper and as they share their answers, we have the opportunity to look closer at how students are processing the lessons, and then come back and evaluate that and make decisions about how to do things differently.

I could see the results and how [formative assessment] impacted teaching. In looking at a lesson, seeing it from end to end, it helped us plan for the next lesson. What I was learning from each observation, each discussion, was just… was so wonderful because it created my own list of questions. It allowed me to look at teaching in a new way.

The format in developing the lesson really helps you to think critically about how students learn and how they are getting the concepts. If they are not getting something, I need to go back and re-teach and re-think about how I can make those experiences more successful for them.

Participants also reported changes in their use of formative assessment, as highlighted by the responses of four of the participants:

Did my way of checking to see what they know before I move on change? It did – I became more aware… I’m getting documentation every day now – just quick 3-5 minute checks.

[My use of formative assessment] has increased. In the past, I would do most of my assessment at home grading papers. This has led me to do more

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Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

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