Monday, November 30, 2009

Meaningful Assessment

How do we know if our learners have learned?  Sometimes we ask them outright:

Baby Blues Nov 29

And sometimes we get meaningless answers!!
There are better ways to assess learning.
A good article - Why Every Student Needs Critical Friends, by Amy Reynolds, describes one way of involving the learner in assessment.
Understanding formative and summative assessment is the subject of this clearly written article in the December 2007 issue of Educational Leadership.  It urges the teacher to help the learner answer these three questions:
  1. Where am I going?
  2. Where am I now?
  3. How can I close the gap?
A list of possible assessment tools is part of this extensive learning module from edutopia, a reliable source of good information for educators.
Developing valuable and meaningful assessment is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching and learning.  I urge you to find out more.  I also urge you to try different types of assessment in your classroom, knowing ahead of time that some will work better than others in helping your students answer the 3 important questions above.  And remember, if they can't answer question #1, they can't begin to answer the other 2 questions.
It won't be perfect when you start, but if you are serious about evaluating learning and helping your students do the same I am sure you will get better at it as you go along.

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