What is an Assessment?

  • The purpose of an assessment is to understand what each student knows and how the teacher impacted their learning – not to simply assign scores or grades.
  • Teachers should use assessments to evaluate their impact and modify instruction.
  • If an assessment doesn’t inform instruction, then it has little effect on student learning.
  • More formal instruments, such as tests or quizzes, should be used to help teachers effectively and efficiently understand student learning.  Informal instruments, such as observations or interviews, are also effective tools.  The value of any assessment is found in the actions they inspire and inform.
  • Differentiate tools as needed.  Don’t be handcuffed to a particular instrument or assessment strategy.
  • Your judgements about student learning matter. Don’t be afraid to use your expertise. 
  • Student attitude towards the content and their belief in their power to learn are powerful influences on learning. Assessments effect how students view themselves. 
  • Assessments should create positive feedback loops where students see themselves becoming better. Be cautious of students who label themselves negatively because they failed to meet a learning goal.
  • Students who do not know an essential skill or concept should be provided additional opportunities to develop and demonstrate mastery. Learning goals should have target dates, not strict deadlines.
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