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Classroom assessment and grading practices have the potential not only to measure and report learning but also to promote it. Like successful athletic coaches, the best teachers recognize the importance of ongoing assessments and continual adjustments on the part of both teacher and student as the means to achieve maximum performance.
Unlike the external standardized tests that feature so prominently on the school landscape these days, well-designed classroom assessment and grading practices can provide the kind of specific, personalized, and timely information needed to guide both learning and teaching.
Classroom assessments fall into three categories, each serving a different purpose. Summative assessments summarize what students have learned at the conclusion of an instructional segment. These assessments tend to be evaluative, and teachers typically encapsulate and report assessment results as a score or a grade.
Familiar examples of summative assessments include tests, performance tasks, final exams, culminating projects, and work portfolios. But by themselves, summative assessments are insufficient tools for maximizing learning. Waiting until the end of a teaching period to find out how well students have learned is simply too late.
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Two other classroom assessment categories—diagnostic and formative—provide fuel for the teaching and learning engine by offering descriptive feedback along the way.
Diagnostic assessments—sometimes known as pre-assessments—typically precede instruction. Teachers use them to check students' prior knowledge and skill levels, identify student misconceptions, profile learners' interests, and reveal learning-style preferences. Diagnostic assessments provide information to assist teacher planning and guide differentiated instruction.
Examples of diagnostic assessments include prior knowledge and skill checks and interest or learning preference surveys. Because pre-assessments serve diagnostic purposes, teachers normally don't grade the results.
Formative assessments occur concurrently with instruction. These ongoing assessments provide specific feedback to teachers and students for the purpose of guiding teaching to improve learning.
Formative assessments include both formal and informal methods, such as ungraded quizzes, oral questioning, teacher observations, draft work, think-alouds, student-constructed concept maps, learning logs, and portfolio reviews.
Although teachers may record the results of formative assessments, we shouldn't factor these results into summative evaluation and grading.
Keeping these three categories of classroom assessment in mind, let us consider seven specific assessment and grading practices that can enhance teaching and learning.
Use summative assessments to frame meaningful performance goals.
On the first day of a three-week unit on nutrition, a middle school teacher describes to students the two summative assessments that she will use. One assessment is a multiple-choice test examining student knowledge of various nutrition facts and such basic skills as analyzing nutrition labels. The second assessment is an authentic performance task in which each student designs a menu plan for an upcoming two-day trip to an outdoor education facility.
The menu plan must provide well-balanced and nutritious meals and snacks. The current emphasis on established content standards has focused teaching on designated knowledge and skills. Teachers should then present the summative performance assessment tasks to students at the beginning of a new unit or course.
This practice has three virtues. First, the summative assessments clarify the targeted standards and benchmarks for teachers and learners.
In standards-based education, the rubber meets the road with assessments because they define the evidence that will determine whether or not students have learned the content standards and benchmarks.
The nutrition vignette is illustrative: By knowing what the culminating assessments will be, students are better able to focus on what the teachers expect them to learn information about healthy eating and on what they will be expected to do with that knowledge develop a nutritious meal plan.
Second, the performance assessment tasks yield evidence that reveals understanding. When we call for authentic application, we do not mean recall of basic facts or mechanical plug-ins of a memorized formula.
Rather, we want students to transfer knowledge—to use what they know in a new situation. Teachers should set up realistic, authentic contexts for assessment that enable students to apply their learning thoughtfully and flexibly, thereby demonstrating their understanding of the content standards.
Third, presenting the authentic performance tasks at the beginning of a new unit or course provides a meaningful learning goal for students. Consider a sports analogy.
Coaches routinely conduct practice drills that both develop basic skills and purposefully point toward performance in the game.The discrepancies appeared often enough to concern faculty, many of whom returned to this theme in their written reflections.
Themes in Faculty Reflections The reflections faculty wrote after the workshop pursued matters that had arisen while puzzling at writing from other classes and hearing colleagues puzzle about writing from their own.
Guide for writing funding proposal An excellent small step that can occur prior to requesting funding is a need assessment that you conduct (survey, interviews, focus groups, etc.).
Have the letters addressed directly to the funding agency. (Do not use a general "To Whom It May Concern" letter - it makes it appear that you are applying. This article presents a model of reflective writing used to assess a U.S.
general education first-year writing course. We argue that integrating reflection into existing assignments has three potential benefits: enhancing assessment of learning outcomes, fostering student learning, and engaging faculty in professional development. January 9, To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to recommend Miss Shannon Krebs for a position with your school corporation.
Miss Krebs possesses many characteristics that . Writing a To Whom it May Concern Letter can be a daunting task if you are unsure of how to start this letter.
This type of letter may be necessary to write when providing a personal or business reference for someone when you do not know the recipient of the letter. Most assessment documents are used to evaluate finalized information like work outputs while a formative assessment typically focuses on the processes of monitoring.
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