Maximizing Your Impact on Learning

This month’s #822chat has been absolutely on fire with ideas related to measuring and monitoring student progress!

Saturday’s chat focused in on using formative assessment to make teacher collaboration effective, and Tuesday’s chat broadened the focus to maximizing learning overall.

Two major themes emerged:

  1. Focusing on what works within a culture of trust.
  2. Our best impact on learning occurs when we are our best selves.

What Works, Culture of Trust

When it comes to best practices, most schools are on the wave of formative assessment and PLCs (professional learning communities).

These practice may vary widely, but the language is there and many common ideas are readily observed:

  • Using data to discuss student learning
  • Teachers discuss student learning
  • Focusing on efforts to improve student learning

So we asked a question:

Using formative assessment data – what are some specifics that make this effective?

Beyond the basics of teachers meeting and talking about student learning, there was a theme regarding the instructional climate.

Discussing what “worked and what didn’t” requires trust.

When we’re honest about what’s working, we’re also honest about what’s not working.

This vulnerability requires trust.

Without trust, it will be difficult to dig deeply into student learning.

“PLCs must have conversations about the entirety of the learning standards(s).”

Surface-level conversations might not be enough if we are going to leave nothing out and hit necessary rigor levels.

Best Selves and Learning

Taking student learning to the next level sometimes requires intrapersonal growth first. At least, that was the theme from educational leaders.

Knowing better = doing better.

It’s not enough to “provide” training of professional development. It’s about instructional leadership, honing craft, and supporting.

The key here is instructional climate. It’s about a trusting climate where it’s okay to try new things.

And sometimes, there may not be a metric to explain the results.

More Thoughts on Maximizing Impact on Learning

“Formative assessment certainly gives actionable data, but when a student is actively engaged, wrestling with the topics or concepts, that’s when I know for sure.” -Jennifer Farmer EdS, @MrsFarmer73

“Formative assessment helps drive meeting our students needs. When my team collaborates we bring all sorts of data and observations to guide how support and practice.” -Abigail French, @awfrench1

“When that kid runs up just to give a hug and say hello. That’s how I know I’ve reached maximum impact on social and emotional needs.” -Mrs Higgins, @MrsHigginsAP

We’d love for you to add to the conversation.

How do you know when you’re maximizing your impact on learning? What ways do you see are helpful for PLCs to increase their impact on learning?

Leave your thoughts in the comments on this page! >>


  1. It was such a great chat yesterday! We saw many familiar faces and welcomed many new educators!

  2. Matt Foster – Writer, Educator, Creator, and Lover of Outdoors. Co-founder of Principals' Seminar, LLC. Co-founder of TeamTom Education, LLC. Business Development at Mafost Marketing. Sailing Exploration at The Foster Journey Dad and Family Man who travels the world on a sailboat @thefosterjourney.
    Matt Foster says:

    I know I’m at my best learning when connecting with other energetic educators. The connection holds immense value to me. (Plus, the veggie conversation at 822chat was interesting yesterday!)

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