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How To: Adjust Your Teaching Style to Your Students' Learning Style
How to Home
How To: Adjust Your Teaching Styles to Students' Learning Styles
How To: Develop as a Professional
How To: Implement Standards, Curriculum, and Assessment

Assessment Strategies to Promote Learning
Sharon Longert

Classroom assessment falls into three categories that serve different purposes.

Summative 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 experience.

Diagnostic 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.

Formative 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.

Assessment and grading can measure and report learning, it can also promote learning and teaching. Here are some assessment strategies toward that end.

  • Present 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.

  • Show 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.

  • Offer 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 and skills.

  • Provide 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.

  • Encourage self-evaluation and the students will become capable of knowing how they are doing and what they need to improve.

These 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 evaluation expectations.

Jay McTighe and Ken O'Connor, Seven Practices for Effective Learning, ASCD, November, 2005.

If you have a question or suggestion, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.

 

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