Blogs on Assessment

Assessment

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

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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Heather Wolpert-GawronFebruary 7, 2014

In Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury writes that the grandma's kitchen was warm, exciting, and full of "organized chaos." I like to think that my classroom environment is also like that. Well, at least it's a positive spin on the piles of books, the stacks of papers and the uneven bulletin boards that define my middle school classroom.

But when teaching study skills and organization, it's vital that I model a more perfect world. One of the ways that I help my students -- and myself -- to organize our assignments is to create checklists.

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Todd FinleyJanuary 2, 2014

"Change your language and you change your thoughts." -- Karl Albrecht

Understanding Academic Language

Academic language is a meta-language that helps learners acquire the 50,000 words that they are expected to have internalized by the end of high school and includes everything from illustration and chart literacy to speaking, grammar and genres within fields.

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Terry HeickDecember 13, 2013

Roughly put, learning is really just a growth in awareness. The transition from not knowing to knowing is part of it, but that's really too simple because it misses all the degrees of knowing and not knowing. One can't ever really, truly understand something any more than a shrub can stay trimmed. There's always growth or decay, changing contexts or conditions. Understanding is the same way. It's fluid.

Yes, this sounds silly and esoteric, but think about it. While morsels of information -- math theorems, for example -- may not change, the context in which students use them do change. Which in turn changes how we consider and use that morsel.

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Cindy BryantDecember 3, 2013

For many years, intelligence was thought to be static (fixed) and could not be altered. Informal research has shown this to be particularly true when it comes to students thinking about their mathematics intelligence. But with the advent of advanced technology and cognitive labs, psychologists and neuroscientists have found that aspects of intelligence -- and even intelligence itself -- can be altered through training and experiences.

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Michelle Lampinen, NBCTDecember 3, 2013

Last week, I was composing a rubric to go along with a writing assignment for my juniors. The assignment, though cleverly disguised as an end-of-unit essay for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is actually a mock paper for the IB Language and Literature curriculum. For this assignment, students select one of six prescribed (by IB, not by me) questions to answer in the context of a text they've read. They then develop an 800-to-1000-word response that is grounded in the text.

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Bob LenzNovember 20, 2013

How about that post professional development evaluation survey? We've all done them; but what have they done for us? Professional development (PD), when well done, can make a huge difference in teachers' knowledge and skills. But it can be challenging to evaluate how PD transfers to actual classroom practice.

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Ben JohnsonNovember 19, 2013

When Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe wrote Understanding by Design (UbD) they did what no other educator had ever accomplished. They unequivocally cast assessment in the central role of teaching and learning by making the forceful argument that testing should not be the afterthought of instruction, but the central point of instruction.

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Vanessa VegaOctober 23, 2013

Millions of teachers and thousands of districts in 45 states are currently undergoing a sea change in the way that they teach and assess students. The new Common Core Standards for learning have been phased into states and districts since 2010, and the digitized Common Core Assessments are scheduled to deploy in states that have adopted them as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

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