What is AIW? AIW stands for Authentic Intellectual Work and provides a structure for teachers to analyze student assignments and assessments, student work, and, eventually, instruction. Teachers collaborate to provide feedback on the academic challenge and value beyond school of the student tasks. The groups also analyze student tasks to see if students are given the opportunity to expand their ideas and offer better evidence of learning.
How does the process work? During the lunch hour, teachers in grades 6-12 of all content areas meet in mixed content groups of six to seven teachers. Each week, a teacher brings a previously used or new assignment or assessment to be analyzed by the team which uses an AIW scoring rubric to provide feedback on the rigor, expectation of student evidence, and “real- life” value. Teachers then provide suggestions for improvement after scoring.
Why is the faculty engaged in this learning process? The MV faculty is committed to doing whatever they can to improve student achievement and make classes as meaningful as possible. Teachers are now in their second year of the program, and the AIW coaches are in their third year. The faculty has noted the value of this professional development opportunity. Teachers have noticed a greater focus on higher-level thinking and more opportunities for students to be problem-solvers in and outside of MV’s walls. “At the heart of the matter, AIW is about collaboration,” stated math teacher Matthew DeVore. “Time spent with my colleagues to better my assessments and instruction is at a premium in today’s educational setting. I truly appreciate the feedback from my peers.” Teachers appreciate the scheduled opportunity for collaboration and sense of unity in the school, the professional feedback on instruction, and the awareness of what’s going on in other teachers’ classrooms. “As a single person department I enjoy the fact that my AIW group is cross curricular and can provide feedback in the stem areas with my Ag classes to push MV students even further! It’s a good sounding board for everyone to learn from,” stated Dawn Mausser. Spanish teacher Jen Ries added, “AIW has helped me look outside of what I usually do and allowed me to use my co-workers to my advantage to use new and different strategies I wouldn’t have thought of alone in my room. As the only foreign language teacher here, I wouldn’t have the opportunities to work with or get help from others. AIW has provided that.” Teachers also appreciate how the AIW process supports and enhances other professional development concepts.