The personal learning network for educators
I am worried that educators miss the true meaning of assessment like missing the true meaning of Christmas.
Giving a "test" isn't about devising a 50 question multiple choice, fill-in the blank, short answer, and extended response on paper using a pencil. It isn't using a bank of test questions to deliver the test online and send results to students via email. Testing isn't about having student memorize facts to regurgitate and then say that they have learned. Testing, really assessment, is about none of these things
Assessment is about knowing exactly where a student stands in relation to a standard. Whether that standard is Common Core, state or district written, a student is measured against that standard. The term measure is a misnomer. Measure implies a number can be applied to the depth of learning and is not possible in the traditional sense. For example, a student is given a 25 question standards aligned test and earns a 90%. Depending on the educator's interpretation of the verbs in the standards being assessed, the student is really being assessed on interpretation and thus flawed. Assessment is really knowing where students lie along a continuum of learning.
The continuum of learning is most essential in assessment; the driving question being: "Where is the student along the continuum of learning?" Tough question but it can be answered.
The answer lies in using a talent based model where learning learning behaviors are described in detail from novice to expert. Using this method relies heavily on educators working together to discuss the exact learning behaviors (standards based of course) being assessed because one person's interpretation is like having one resource cited during research becoming biased. Along the continuum are four designations: novice, emerging, proficient, advanced.
Teachers are really looking for their students to be proficient. Why not advanced? Advanced is the ability to apply multiple areas of learning and tools to demonstrate what has been learned. Let me clarify demonstration tools. A demonstration tool is something the student creates to show what has been learned thus a tool. So, to be advanced, a student would have to pull in multiple streams of information from different content areas and display that with a depth of understanding. This is learner driven and not teacher assigned. This is intrinsically motivated because there is a thirst for learning.
An educator must become the learning coach to achieve this kind of assessment. Will every child want to develop an advanced understanding of the standard? Certainly not, but it should be an expectation that every child achieves proficient understanding.