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  • Writer's pictureGary Chapin

Sparks: A Conversation with Young Whan Choi

By: Justin Wells

Executive Director, Envision Learning Partners

Tucson Convening Design Partner

Introduction by Gary:

Young Whan Choi served as the “Manager of Performance Assessments” at the Oakland Unified School District (it’s kind of exciting that such a thing exists). He’s also a longtime friend of the Assessment for Learning Project. He recently published a book, Sparks Into Fire: Revitalizing Teacher Practice Through Collective Learning, and he’s also the host of The Young and the Woke podcast.

Our very own Justin Wells, Executive Director of Envision Learning Partners, recently sat with Young Whan to discuss his book and how it intersects with the themes of the Assessment for Learning Project. Here are three short excerpts, followed by the complete interview.

Clip #1 What is the role of emotion in Oakland Unified capstone projects?

Clip #2: How can performance assessments support learner belonging, equity, and liberation?

Clip #3: How do we push students in a performance assessment system?

Grab a cup of coffee. Watch the whole dang thing here!


Young Whan Choi (he/him) has been a teacher in South Korea, New York City, Providence, RI, and Oakland, CA, during which time he developed expertise in project-based learning, curriculum design, and culturally relevant teaching. Currently, he teaches the next generation of social studies educators at UC Berkeley. He is the author of Sparks Into Fire: Revitalizing Teacher Practice Though Collective Learning (Teachers College Press, 2022) as well as articles for the Washington Post, EdSource, The East Bay Times, EdWeek, and others. He produces and hosts The Young and the Woke podcast.

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