Saturday, May 26, 2007

Assessment for Learning: What I've Learned this Year

In looking back on the 2006-2007 school year, I have to admit I learned a great deal. That's what I love about this profession--even in my seventh year of teaching, I'm still learning as much as I did two, three, even four or five years ago. Here's what I learned about assessment for learning this year:
  • Short quizzes that are quickly graded and returned to students are great for rapid feedback on student learning.
  • Self-evaluation sheets work well after assessments. When the whole class has committed the same errors on an assessment, handing out a self-evaluation sheet allows kids to see which questions were missed most and thus require further instruction. When a student has committed many errors on an assessment and needs to differentiate between simple mistakes and unlearned concepts, a simple question by question evaluation helps make them aware of this.
  • Test blueprints, or a study guide that lists the learning target for each question on an assessment, help students prepare for tests, but the targets on them must match the objectives that students have been learning in class. In other words, students must understand what the question is asking simply by looking at its learning target.
  • Teachers should give a variety of assessments. Students have different learning styles and creating assessments based on those learning styles allows every kid to shine. Furthermore, not all kids are good test takers. There are still some considerations that be must be made though:
    • Assessments should still evaluate what the kids have learned - learning targets must be embedded in the project. I have seen many assessments that required students to create a product, dioramas come to mind, that in no way assesses what they have learned over the course of a unit.
    • Students must be aware of what the learning targets are. In other words, they should know why they are doing the project and why certain requirements are in place.

Check out: | Digital Cameras in the Classroom | Education in a Flat World

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