I’m one week into my new job, and people keep asking me what I will be doing. I’m not entirely sure what the job will entail, but I have a broad idea. I’m going to take a stab at explaining my work.
I have been seconded for 1.5 years to the Alberta Assessment Consortium. A secondment means I still get paid by my previous board, who are then reimbursed for my services by the AAC. I maintain my benefits and pensionable service as if I had remained at my board. I will have to find myself a job somewhere within that board when I go back, though, because they don’t hold my old position for me.
The AAC is a tiny, non-profit organization whose aim is to support good assessment practices in classrooms across Alberta. Our office in Edmonton has a staff of 7. I think there are some people working for us in the southern part of the province, but I’m not sure who they are yet. The AAC is not (typically) funded by Alberta Education, so they rely on member school districts, their annual conference, selling resources, and workshop requests to pay the bills.
My role is a result of a grant from Alberta Education to the AAC to do a research study. We will be looking at formative assessment in high school math, and its effect on completion rates. I will be working with teachers, in their schools, around this topic. Exactly how that work looks will be up to the individual schools involved, and could look different in different schools. I may do whole department PD. I may coach individual teachers. I might do demo lessons. I might write some performance assessments. I have not been hired to write multiple choice tests. This is not the assessment branch of Alberta Education that creates our province-wide exams.
The schools involved will be across northern Alberta, and most have already been selected. I’m not entirely sure which ones they are yet. Because this position is funded by the government, there will be some deliverables. I will have to video the work, and create a report. There will be some performance tasks to be written. I am excited about the challenge of bringing my passion for assessment and math instruction to some schools I’ve never visited before. This work will be fun.
Many people have asked about my availability for workshops through this organization. Right now, we don’t know the answer to that question. Because the government is funding my position with a grant, my priority with the AAC has to be to the research project on formative assessment and the schools involved with it. I can’t take time away from the project to do other work. We may discover in a few months that I have time to do another workshop or two, but the reality is that it is a big project that could consume all my time. Was that sufficiently vague?
I will still share ideas on this blog when they occur to me. I am still working in math education. I look forward to interacting with other math educators on this blog and on Twitter. Heck, I may even run into some of you in person.