“Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning.” (Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: shifting the focus from teaching to learning by Huba and Freed 2000).
The first thought that pops into my head when we talk about assessing our students is standardized testing. There should be no argument that standardized testing does not show the full learning and understanding that occurs throughout the year. The Onion, a satirical website, has a video and an article that hammers home why standardized testing is less than stellar when assessing our students. (video has foul language) Standardized testing is only one kind of summative assessment. There are many other ways to assess students without having them fill in bubbles for three hours at a clip.
Another major problem with summative assessments are that they only show what you learned, or didn’t learn, at the end of the unit or year. It is too late in most cases to have the students learn or relearn the material after the year or unit. However, they do show if the standard has been met which is one purpose of teaching. We need summative assessments, just not standardized testing as the only summative assessments to assess our students.
The other type of assessments are formative assessments. These are the assessments that can change the way students learn. They find out where the students are during the unit and help them either catch up or propel them forward to the next lesson. Formative assessments can be quick hitters or more in depth. The point of them is to find out are the students where they should be during the unit and where should they go from there.
Both assessments are needed to make sure the students are understanding, and can demonstrate the standards. The job of the teacher is to make these assessments fun and exciting while still collecting the data needed to identify the needs of the class. My hope is that this week we will hear about assessments that are engaging to the students as well as interesting to the students.
Q1. What technology do you use to help you assess students?
Q2. What assessment do you use that does not need any technology?
Q3. How much do assessments factor into modifying your units?
Q4. How does standardized testing effect your teaching or observations?
Q5. Is it possible for formative assessments to tell if the students have met the standards? Why or why not?
Q6. How do you keep abreast of the new assessment tools that are constantly being introduced?