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Oftentimes the thing that turns a hunch into a real breakthrough is another hunch that’s lurking in someone else’s mind.”  

- Steven Johnson

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The Idea Collider is a design-inspired series of three sessions over the course of a month, facilitated by Morgan Vien of Envision Learning Partners and Tara Curry-Jahn of Leadership+Design.


As part of a cohort of up to 20 educators, you’ll bring a promising assessment for learning practice from your school, classroom or youth-serving organization (or one you work with). You’ll give and receive feedback, iterate, connect different practices, and share what you’ve created with the AFL community.

Participation is by application, and does not have a cost. Participants should plan to attend all three sessions.

Deadline extended!

Due Monday Feb 22, 12pm ET

This simple but profound concept has guided our design of the AFL 2021 experience: “Good ideas normally come from the collision of smaller hunches, so that they form something bigger than themselves.”


We think of the AFL 2021 experience as one big space to surface ideas and hunches about ways for assessment to empower students, deepen their understanding, and be a force for more equitable learning.

The Details

Who is it for?

The Idea Collider is about developing and sharing classroom-ready assessment for learning practices. We are looking for instructional leaders at the school or district, innovative teachers, and youth development educators who can speak to the nuts and bolts of practices, and who are eager to compare notes and learn with peers.


This year, we are able to offer the Idea Collider at no cost to participants. 

How to Apply

Please complete this form, in which you'll respond to the following prompts in approximately 1000 words or less, total. 

  1. Introduce yourself

  2. Why are you interested in the Idea Collider and what do you hope to gain from participating?

  3. What practice would you like to bring to the Idea Collider, and how does connect with the AFL 2021 Guiding Question

  4. What questions or ideas do you have about deepening/extending/connecting this practice? 

  5. How does your identity (however you define it) impact you as an educator and learner? 

Your application is due by Monday February 14.


When does it take place?

The Idea Collider is designed for participants to attend all three sessions. These sessions take place: 

  • Tuesday March 2, 10-1pm PT/ 1-4pm ET

  • Thursday March 11, 10-1pm PT/ 1-4pm ET

  • Tuesday March 16, 10-1pm PT/1-4pm ET


There will also be an exhibition of learning on Tuesday March 23, 4-5:30pm PT/ 7-8:30pm ET.


To enable teachers to attend, small grants for substitute coverage will be available. 

What kinds of practices are you looking for?

Assessment for Learning includes (but is not limited to) practices like:

  • Performance Assessment

  • Instructionally embedded formative assessment

  • Student-led conferences

  • Capstone projects

  • Portfolio defenses

  • Portraits of a graduate


More broadly, we invite assessment-related practices that:

  • Support more powerful and inclusive student engagement and ownership of their learning

  • Help families, students and teachers partner to support learning

  • Create space for reciprocal (rather than top-down) accountabilities

  • Take a justice-oriented approach to assessment and learning

The Idea Collider is primarily focused on practices that students participate in directly. That said, if you have a practice at the district or state level that meets the criteria above, we will consider it! 

How will you choose which participants?

We will ask these questions as we review your application:

  1. How well can the practice help inform the AFL 2021 Guiding Question?

  2. We're looking for classroom-ready practices. To what extent has the practice has been utilized and tested with students?

  3. In what ways can the participant speak authentically to the experiences of educators and students of color? 

  4. How strong a learning orientation does the participant show? 

How to Apply
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