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Eliciting Student Voice During Instruction

Washington state is becoming the first in the nation to include student voice as a standard in the edTPA teacher certification portfolio assessment. They define student voice as:
Ongoing reflective self-assessment expressed in the words of the learner for the purpose of improving teaching and learning.
 The edTPA breaks the portfolio down into three tasks: planning, instruction, and assessment, and plans to add a rubric addressing student voice to each of the tasks.

Looking at the rubrics, I am reminded of how Hattie & Timperley and Black &Willam describe the elements of effective feedback. The edTPA essentially calls for the teacher candidate to demonstrate evidence of the following elements in their planning, instruction, and assessment:

 Hattie & Timperley and Black & Willam call for feedback to describe:
Where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?
I had the privilege of running a workshop with the current Seattle University Master in Teaching teacher candidates this week and was inspired by how readily they expressed motivation to develop effective feedback systems in their classroom and incorporate student voice into the classroom culture. Through a workshop exit ticket they also communicated a clear need for examples and strategies for eliciting student voice during instruction. Looking at the proficiency description for the edTPA student voice instruction rubric (#17), it comes at no surprise that more examples and strategies are needed. I'm not sure that in-service teachers are reliably meeting this hefty standard!

The edTPA rubrics tell us that proficiency in this standard requires that:
  • Students can express why the learning targets are important to learn (how they will use the concept or skill).
  • Students use tools or strategies to communicate what they are doing well and what they need to improve to reach the learning target.
To reach a mastery level, the standard requires that:
  • The teacher and students work together to define learning targets and their importance.
  • The teacher and students work together to create or revise tools/strategies for reflecting on their learning and areas for improvement. 

So, how are effective teachers supporting student understanding of the learning targets and what tools or strategies are they using to help student learn and monitor their own progress?


  1. High school STEM teacher Amy Morriss is using daily feedback questions to formatively check-in on student understanding and as an opportunity to support on-demand feedback for students who need it. 
  2. Secondary French teacher Azima Thakor (@MmeThakor) uses learning maps to support students in charting and reflecting on their own progress towards mastery. 
  3. Secondary writing teacher Carla Meyrink (@carlameyrink) is flipping feedback through student conferencing, where she can ask questions that elicit student understanding of concepts and purpose, all focused concretely on a piece of work. 
What tools or strategies do you use to help your students understand the learning targets and monitor their own progress?


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