to Promote Learning
assessment falls into three categories that serve different
assessments summarize what students have learned
at the end of a period of time. These include tests, final
exams, culminating projects, and portfolios. These scores
appear on report cards and transcripts, but are not really
useful as learning tools. They come at the end of the teaching/learning
assessments precede instruction. Teachers can “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.”* (McTighe and O”Connor) These assessments
are not graded, they guide the teaching process.
assessments are ongoing and give feedback to students
and teachers to guide teaching to improve learning. Included
are oral questioning, observations, draft work, think-alouds,
learning logs and portfolio previews.
and grading can measure and report learning, it can also promote
learning and teaching. Here are some assessment strategies
toward that end.
the performance assessment tasks to the students at the
beginning of a unit of study. They will know what to anticipate
and will be able to focus on what the teachers expects
them to learn and what they will have to do with the knowledge.
models of work that illustrate the levels of quality expected.
A four point rubric communicates to the student the elements
of quality and the standard used for evaluation. This
gives the student a goal for their work.
a few good choices that match the goal of the content
standard – assessment gains meaning for the learner
when there are options for demonstrating knowledge, understanding
feedback that is timely and specific regarding the student’s
strengths and weaknesses. Note areas of improvement and
what the students need to work on in the future. Consider
allowing the student to revise and refine their work based
on the feedback, within a reasonable time period.
self-evaluation and the students will become capable of
knowing how they are doing and what they need to improve.
assessment strategies address factors that motivate students
to learn. Students put effort into their work when they know
the learning goal and how they will be evaluated; when they
think the goals and assessments are meaningful and relevant;
when they believe they can successfully learn and meet the
and Ken O'Connor, Seven Practices for Effective Learning, ASCD, November, 2005.
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