Dylan Wiliam, Assessment Expert, to Join the National Learners Conference

dsc01697We’re excited to announce another influential and innovative speaker joining us at the 2017 Performance Matters National Learners Conference. Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London, will be sharing his insights during his session, “How formative assessment improves teacher effectiveness and student learning.”

How Teacher Effectiveness and Formative Assessment Improve Student Learning (Thursday General Session)

There is now a large and growing evidence base that helping teachers develop their use of minute-to-minute and day-by-day assessment is one of the most powerful ways to improve student learning. However, adopting formative assessment involves far more than adding a few “quick fixes” to teachers’ classroom repertoires. It involves a fundamental shift in focus, from what the teacher is putting into the process to what the students are getting out of it. And, helping teachers develop what they do in classrooms is more a process of habit change than of knowledge acquisition, which requires different kinds of teacher professional development, and draws on a different research base.

Assessment Literacy (Wednesday Focus Session in the strand Unify Assessment: Building Highly Effective Assessments)

Assessment literacy—an understanding of both the meanings and the consequences of educational assessments—is an essential component of teacher expertise but there is little agreement about the term’s meaning. In this session, participants will learn about what makes some assessments better than others, why student progress measures are almost entirely useless, why most tests will never produce useful diagnostic information on students, and why most school assessment systems do not do the things they are intended to do.

After a first degree in mathematics and physics, and one year teaching in a private school, he taught in urban schools for seven years, during which time he earned further degrees in mathematics and mathematics education.

In 1984 he joined Chelsea College, University of London, which later became part of King’s College London. During this time he worked on developing innovative assessment schemes in mathematics before taking over the leadership of the mathematics teacher education program at King’s.

Between 1989 and 1991 he was the Academic Coordinator of the Consortium for Assessment and Testing in Schools, which developed a variety of statutory and non-statutory assessments for the national curriculum of England and Wales.

After his return to King’s, he completed his PhD, addressing some of the technical issues thrown up by the adoption of a system of age-independent criterion-referenced levels of attainment in the national curriculum of England and Wales.

From 1996 to 2001, Dr. Wiliam was the Dean and Head of the School of Education at King’s College London, and from 2001 to 2003, he served as Assistant Principal of the College. In 2003 he moved to the USA as Senior Research Director at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. In 2006 Dr. Wiliam returned to the UK as Deputy Director of the Institute of Education, University of London. In 2010 he stood down as Deputy Director to spend more time on research and teaching.

His recent work has focused on the use of assessment to support learning  (sometimes called formative assessment). He was the co-author, with Paul Black, of a major review of the research evidence published on formative assessment and since then has worked with groups of teachers all over the world on developing formative assessment practices.