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begun planning for next year’s expansion to include a pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten les- son study team. To assist them in building their understanding of the process, the new team members will be able to observe as next year’s third and fourth grade lesson study work con- tinues to unfold. This year’s team will be able to mentor new team members, helping them meet the challenges of developing a lesson study model suited to their needs in the primary grades. The hope is to extend the existing learning community, building connections across grade levels, and beginning to align mathematics instruction throughout the school.

Referring back to the existing literature on formative assessment, it is not surprising that the lesson study team members began to focus on issues of student empowerment and student ownership of learning as a result of their work with formative assessment. In their landmark article, Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment, Black and Wiliam (1998) offer suggestions for improving the practice of formative assessment, includ- ing helping students become the primary users of formative assessment data and increas- ing the use of student self-assessment. The Ten Principles of Assessment for Learning (2007) also emphasize student ownership of assessment and learning, stating that students must understand what it is that they are expected to achieve (Learning and Teaching Scotland). To help students achieve those goals, assessment should provide students with guidance on how to improve, develop students’ ability to self-assess, and ultimately promote student self- reliance. In light of those recommendations, the findings of the present study further confirm that the project participants developed a clear understanding of formative assessment and are well-positioned to expand their assessment practices in the coming year to include stu- dent self-assessment.

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the principal and teachers of Price’s Fork Elementary School: Dol- lie Cottrill, Larry Elkins, Kiah Ferrell, Nancy Kaloupek, Vicki Kitts, and Mindi Walker. Without their hard work, dedication, and professionalism this project could never have succeeded. Price’s Fork is truly a wonderful place for kids. We would also like to thank: Somik Ghosh, Jolene Hamm, Brian Mott, and Mike Murphy of Virginia Tech for their help with research, data collection, and analysis; Dr. Lois Graham, Director of Elementary Education for Montgomery County Public Schools, for her support throughout the project; Laura Williams, Grant Writer for Montgomery County Public Schools, for her unfailing willingness to help meet a loom- ing deadline; Dr. Jay Wilkins of Virginia Tech for his guidance and patience over the last four years; and Dr. Patsy Wang-Iverson for lending her expertise on lesson study. Finally, we would like to thank VASCD for supporting our project. PFES has been awarded two additional grants to expand lesson study within the school, and we sincerely appreciate being given the op- portunity to establish this important work.

Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

Spring 2010

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