According to Jean Moon, "Building expertise in examining student work is the next generation or tier of work teachers will be doing in assessment. And the way this will be done is through small study groups of teachers, subject specialists, and even building administrators who meet to look in depth at a topic of mutual interest" (3). Developing Judgment is designed as a professional development resource for teachers to use alone, with one or two colleagues, within a study group.
Developing Judgment provides images of elementary teachers engaged in collaboratively looking at student work in mathematics in order to move from assessment based on "intuition" to "informed-expert judgment." The book follows a group of teachers, grades 1 through 5, through a sequence of sessions, each one involving a "guided conversation around student work."
Five sessions are described: 1. Creating conversations around student work; 2. The sorting process (exploring the criteria for assessing student work); 3. Looking at student work across time; 4. What constitutes a good classroom activity? 5. Looking at student work across grade levels
For each session, Moon presents goals, sequence of activities, and suggestions; extended excerpts from the study group's discussion; her reflections on the session; and more ideas for the reader's study group. The book includes reproducible samples of the student work discussed by the teachers in the study group; the goal, of course, is for readers to be able to apply this approach to their own students' work within their own study groups.
In reflecting on the study group project, which produced this book, Moon identifies three "areas for refinement":
- Meeting times have to be sacrosanct.
- Teachers should be encouraged to observe one another's students completing an assessment task that will be discussed in an upcoming meeting.
- Group leadership should be shared among all members. (88)