And you thought your test-taking days were over?
A Commentary on the InTasc Rubric Standards 6, 7 & 8 for teachers. These standards tell us exactly what for, why and how assessment matters.
You thought your test taking days were over?
Wait a minute – I am the teacher. Why should assessment matter for me?
Guess what? You administer tests! They not only judge students’ progress; they are a measure of the journey on which you’re taking them. They are a measure of how far you’ve gone and how far you have to retrace back.
If we are going to move forward with educational strategy, then assessment is integral to every child’s education and every instructor’s process.
Luckily for us, InTasc Standard 6 breaks down easily and practicably! Teachers take heed: pre-assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment.
Perhaps you don’t put much credence into tests? Perhaps you aced tests with so much certainty that you took nothing away from them? Or perhaps you were so traumatized by the statistical measures placed on you that you have no faith in what tests offer? (Check that last one for my personal profile…)
Well, it’s time to reevaluate how tests can actually serve us. It’s time to use assessment for a productive efficient purpose: not as a backbreaking, sweat inducing, ‘stay-up-all-night-in-panic-mode’ attack on your integrity and intelligence, but as a goal sustainer. A goal setter. An algorithm of forward and back that sets a goal of success.
(Zoom in on InTasc standard 7 – ) Teachers! Use scores to recognize: what have we covered? Did my students digest any of this information? Can they apply it moving forward? Are they thinking critically? Did we move through our content at the right pace for each learner? And how do I even know the answers to any of these questions?
Assessment results can be taken as percentages, as correct and incorrect answers, as fun mini-projects that build up to a grander leaning objective … all this data is a show of what each student’s prior knowledge can contribute to classroom learning.
Scores that are high, scores that are low, and scores that are everywhere in between – middle, mid-high ,mid-low – teachers will benefit from taking these data points and, based off of them, reiterate or accelerate whatever unit material is necessary. Whether it be through station rotations, through a class wide review and progressions, or through flipped classrooms … the list is endlessly innovative. And the best part is, with considerable access to technology that is growing ever increasingly worldwide, access to knowledge can and will extend beyond the classroom, as long as we teachers can manipulate the data and the tools to take it there.
Pre-assessment , formative assessment and summative assessment can be administered in so many different ways with the advent of new technologies of which we can take advantage every day, that we don’t even have to get bored with it. Per the InTasc standard 8 rubric, being innovative isn’t just a 21st-century skill for our students – it’s a lifetime skill for all of us. We get the chance to administer assessments – not in the conventional way, sitting at a desk for three hours and writing ’til your wrist breaks– but innovatively:
- with surveys that have immediate feedback,
- videos where students can showcase their creativity,
- podcasts where they can broadcast thoughts that might otherwise have remain filtered through a lesser skill that was required of them;
- voice threads,
- digital mind maps,
- Prezi presentations,
- Twitter threads,
- social media groups,
- discussion boards –
– the list goes on! Ed tech tools are giving students and teachers a chance to express their knowledge in whatever way that best presents their strengths.
And this has no negative ramifications for actual intellect; in fact, Edtech platforms enhance what we know and how we show what we know; it engages us; it creates a bridge between teacher and student, between student and knowledge.
It’s a malady of the old to forget what it was to be young. (Wise words, Albus Dumbledore!) And that’s not just about being carefree; it’s remembering how hard it is to learn under pressure, especially when that pressure includes forcing unattainable standards on a student that would otherwise have a strength.
Our students don’t have to be a statistic on a piece of paper or a database. Instead, their assessment data is a tracker for how far they need to go and how far they’ve gone … not to mention how far we, the teachers, can venture with them.