Friday, October 25, 2013

How to get into an Assessment State of Mind

This week I seemed to have found myself in various professional settings discussing assessments.  The usual suspects of 21st century jargon were tossed around the room during faculty meetings, professional developments, common planning times, workshops, and courses.  You know the ones, high stakes, state mandated, performance based, standardized, formative and summative, standards based, and more.   As I reflected on what I learned and what I was reminded of, I realized that for all the talk we do about them, the nature of the actual assessment and resulting data matter very little unless it is coupled with a specific mindset that allows for both teacher and learner to do something useful with it.  What do consumers of assessment data need to keep in mind?

  • Loosen the definition of “assessment”, valuable information can be found in almost anything students do.
  • Ask yourself what the purpose of a particular assessment is before you assign it.
  • Recognize that self reflection can be a valuable piece of the assessment puzzle.
  • Immediate and constructive feedback is always important.
  • If there is a way to assess it an authentically, do it!
  • Be prepared and have a system in place to capture evidence of understanding for whenever students demonstrate it.
  • When assessing student work, right and wrong alone is not enough.  The process must leave room for “why” it’s right or wrong.
  • Be transparent.  Students need a clear understanding of what is being assessed and what the criteria is.
  • Create a culture in which assessments don’t have a negative connotation but rather are viewed as roadmaps to improving achievement.
  • Recognize that the same tenets we hold true for assessing our students should be adhered to when we are being assessed.  

1 comment:

Brian Fernandes said...

These "roadmaps" are extremely helpful with the CCSS as we are looking at students as they travel and grow toward end of year ELA standards. Smart is not something that you are, it is something you become. Brian