By Amy Washam
When I introduce the Review and Assessment Component to participants during an initial SIOP training—the training where educators first learn about the 8 components and 30 features—I often joke that Review and Assessment is not the last SIOP component. Since I have made this statement at the end of the third and final day of training, I will inevitably see signs of displeasure on the faces of new, and often brain-weary, SIOPers. It’s not that these new SIOPers don’t love the model, but after three days of examining every possible feature of good instruction for English learners, we are all rejoicing that the ninth component never materialized.
So why do I continue to torture participants by implying there is another component after Review and Assessment when clearly there is not one? It is to make a point. While Review and Assessment is the last component listed on the SIOP Protocol, it should not be the last component implemented into our lessons. Effective instruction is rarely a linear process that begins with direct instruction, moves on to student practice, and then provides review before finally assessing learning. Teachers should not wait until the end of a lesson, or even half-way through the lesson, to review and assess student learning.
Waiting to review new learning after it is taught and practiced results in missed learning opportunities. Research shows that retrieving information from memory shortly after it is learned can increase the chance that students will remember the information (Roedigger & Karpicke, 2006). By purposefully choosing and implementing activities and techniques that help students recall newly learned information, teachers can promote more learning opportunities. When we ask students to turn and talk to their partner about what they just learned, we are asking them to retrieve, and therefore review, the information. And this reviewing of information should occur often and throughout the lesson.
These short information retrieval opportunities can double as formative assessments. When teachers are engaged in direct instruction, it can be difficult to assess student understanding. While we are explaining and modeling, we can assess student compliance and maybe even measure their interest in the lesson, but we can’t assess what students are thinking unless they are producing something. Frequent formative assessment opportunities allow insight into student understanding, which in turn allows teachers to adjust their instruction as needed, including providing feedback to students on their output.
An effective SIOP teacher uses activities and techniques that allow students to retrieve the information and language they have just learned. Doing this also provides the teacher the opportunity to continually assess student progress and adjust instruction as necessary. Therefore, in effective SIOP instruction, Review and Assessment is not the last component implemented.