College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Mason Teacher Educators Share Innovative Program with Chinese Teachers

March 1, 2019

In the spirit of collaboration—and self-reflection—two professors from the College of Education and Human Development gave a talk about an innovative new assessment model to a visiting group of nearly two dozen teachers and faculty from schools in China.

The talk focused on “flipped assessment,” a self-assessment model for teachers in which they use self-study methodology alongside their peers. It was led by CEHD professors Anastasia Samaras and Paula Azevedo, who were invited by the Schar School of Policy and Government.

The goal of flipped assessment is for teachers to examine their role as educators with the help of their colleagues, improving efficiency and providing educators with an opportunity to grow and learn. Teachers and administrators who lead by example as continuous learners can become agents of change.

The visiting group was made up of 23 teachers from primary and secondary schools in China’s Shaanxi province, as well as directors and deputy directors of academic affairs. Their mid-January visit to Mason was designed to help them learn about teacher assessment in the United States.

During the session, Samaras and Azevedo posed a question: What would happen if you were allowed to share your questions and mistakes with friends, so you could all learn from them?

One teacher noted that goal-based self-assessment can improve students’ learning and teachers’ professional development.

“Too often in our schools, teachers face punitive consequences for students’ low test scores,” Samaras says. “They are not offered collaborative spaces to explore their professional growth and their role in addressing their students’ gaps in knowledge.”

The group was enthusiastic, Samaras says, and the Chinese educators recognized—and appreciated—the importance of the work they all do.

“Teachers face similar challenges on a global level,” Azevedo says. “This workshop reminded us of that. We are a network of diverse educators yet with the same professional goal—to embrace our role in our students’ learning. We can learn from each other.”