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A Few Thoughts on Assessment

28 Jun

I read Rick Wormeli’s Fair Isn’t Always Equal last month. Here are some of my thoughts that I’d like to record…

It doesn’t matter if students do every problem or not. It matters that they learn and master the material. (Reflection from pg. 22).

My significant energies must go toward FORMATIVE assessment, not summative assessment. EACH DAY I should be able to answer the following questions: What did I learn about a/my student(s) mastery today? What did I do with that knowledge? How is my classroom different as a result of this information? (Reflection from pg. 28).

If I don’t do anything with an assessment, I might as well have not given it. Every assessment exists for the purpose of informing instruction and moving students forward in mastery. If I don’t do anything with an assessment for these purposes, I gave it only to give a grade or to manage my classroom. This, in my opinion, means I’ve failed for that day because I was existing in survival mode. Similarly, what can I have students do with every assessment. If they don’t learn from it, why did I bother grading it and giving it back? (Reflection from pg. 30).

I need SUBSTANCE at ALL TIMES. If the activity/problem/assignment does not move them toward mastery of the material, there is no point in it being completed. Do not do it because you did it before or because it is easy or will fill in the time. Keep an arsenal of those quick, short activities that enhance understanding. (Darn! I forgot the page number here.)

Do not use grades to motivate, punish, or sort students. Use them to document student and teacher progress. To provide feedback to stakeholders and to inform instruction. Emphasize learning, not compliance. (Reflection pg. 102).

Homework before learning will only cause students to learn wrong and practice wrong. Then this wrong skill is internalized and will take 10 times as long to forget and re-learn. Only assign problems students are ready for. If they are not ready, do not assign. It’s ok if you get behind the pacing guide. Do what you need to do to get mastery. (Reflection on pg. 116).

I’ll be mulling these things over. It was a good summer read.


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