Blogs on Assessment

Assessment

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Move past high-stakes testing and expand your understanding about the different types of effective assessment.

Andrew MillerApril 15, 2014

Standardized testing is one of the "lighting rod" issues in educational policy debates. Whether it's a group of teachers boycotting a test in Seattle, districts across the United States tying teacher evaluations to test results, the new PARCC or Smarter Balanced Assessments being implemented, the ranking countries with PISA scores, or the SAT trying to revamp itself, the debate and topic of standardized testing simply will not go away. So what is an educator to do? With all these forces in play, whether at the district or federal level, it can be disheartening and daunting for an educator to create learning in the classroom. With all the changes, there is always pressure to teach to the test. But I think we can do better.

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Bob LenzApril 14, 2014

Education is, of course, about so much more than filling minds with facts and figures. Teachers everywhere know that education is about developing minds for all kinds of future experiences: college, careers that will evolve over time, and community and civic life. So how can we know if we are developing minds -- and citizens -- for the future? The right kinds of assessment tell us far more than whether or not students are gaining knowledge.

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Denise Pope, Ph.D.April 11, 2014

Stories of cheating in schools often make national headlines and are frequently met with widespread shock. How could such actions occur on the campuses of elite colleges and high schools? What's going on with kids these days?

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Matt LevinsonApril 2, 2014

For many students, the process of learning new material can feel like swimming in an ocean with fish moving in many different directions. Additionally, the information itself can feel like fish swimming in the minds of students -- overwhelming them, causing anxiety, uncertainty and even fear. They can feel as if what they're trying to learn has no order, especially when context is lacking.

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Bob LenzMarch 21, 2014

Most educators, policymakers, and parents agree that today's students need a mix of knowledge, skills, and dispositions to prepare them to be successful and engaged citizens. Given that students need a mix of these things, educators, policymakers, and parents are also asking, "How do we know if students are learning both what we are teaching and what they need to know to succeed?"

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Judy Willis MDMarch 17, 2014

If we hope to construct enduring understanding in our students, it's critical that, now more than ever, we know their strengths and interests. By incorporating students' strengths and weakness into authentic learning experiences from the beginning of each unit, while at the same time including opportunities for feedback, metacognition and revision, we promote a variety of cognitive and emotional benefits that can lead to academic success.

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Judy Willis MDFebruary 19, 2014

We are facing a problem with tests in education.

Students are strongly influenced by the implied messages they deduce from what is being tested, especially when the test is emphasized as high stakes in terms of their grades. Further, they can draw dangerous conclusions about their own role in the learning process by what is done with the assessment results.

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Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 18, 2014

In an earlier post, I wrote about both the Common Core Standards and what I call the "common sense" standards. Teaching ethical academic behavior online seems to hit both. When I talk about ethical academic behavior, I'm not talking about manners so much as giving credit where credit is due. After all, just because the kids can access information within two clicks doesn't give them the right to claim information as their own.

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Linda S. LevstikFebruary 13, 2014

When I was an elementary and middle level history teacher, my students investigated worldwide human patterns and variety. They examined how shadows of the past stretch across the present, influencing ideas about what it means to be human and to live humanely in a community. In the process, I noticed that early adolescents started with some surprising misconceptions about human intelligence, innovation and agency, especially in the most distant reaches of the human past. These misconceptions present challenges for preservice teachers in my middle level methods course, especially when they teach the deep past -- the period for which we lack written documentation.

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Antony SmithFebruary 11, 2014

Needs and Responses

As a reading instructor and former elementary school teacher, I understand the importance of instructors learning to respond to students' needs and interests. To foster adaptive teaching, I provide opportunities for preservice teachers to work with individual students through tutorial experiences embedded in my methods course, BEDUC 410: Knowing, Teaching and Assessing in Reading, Writing and Communication. During part of six class sessions, my preservice teachers meet one-to-one with third grade student buddies at a local school and engage in informal reading conferences to explore five dimensions of reading.

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