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How Should We Measure Student Learning? The Many Forms of Assessment

How Should We Measure Student Learning? The Many Forms of Assessment
Linda: The United States is at a moment where it could really transform its assessment systems. Most of our testing is multiple choice tests, pick one answer out of five, which is something you will never do in applying knowledge in the real world. Our assessments need to evolve to reflect the skills and knowledge that we actually value and that we need schools to teach and our children to learn. Human beings are naturally learners. We are learning every moment of every day. In school, we have particular things to learn and we know that students learn more effectively when we're clear about what the goals are. Chinasa: I kind of like, I want like a goal in my head about what to do with information that I get. Erin: I look at the beginning of the year and I say, what are the big ideas that I want students to know in the whole year and what are the major skills I want them to be able to do? Linda: Assessment should occur early and often and throughout the process. Student: Connection. Related:  Assessments

10 ways to assess learning without tests… | What Ed Said A tweet by @wmchamberlain which caught my eye the other day, was the catalyst for this 10 ways post. Today’s #edchat discussion about the arts got me thinking further (as always). The arts can be integrated across other disciplines and can add another powerful layer to learning, be it history, maths, literature or bible! Every one of these tasks includes natural differentiation for different levels of ability. 1. Use the online cartoon creator, ToonDoo, to create a cartoon (or toonbook) which demonstrates your knowledge, explains your thinking about a topic or illustrates your understanding of a concept. 2. Work with your group to produce and present a play which demonstrates what you have learnt. 3. Make a video to demonstrate your learning. 4. Select a series of images that relate to your learning. 5. Create a headline that shows your understanding of the topic. 6. Write a blog post that shows your learning, or clarifies your thinking. 7. 8. 9. 10. Best of all. Like this:

edutopia "Creativity isn't about music and art; it is an attitude to life, one that everybody needs," wrote the University of Winchester's Professor Guy Claxton in the lead-up to the 2014 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) dedicated to creativity and education. "It is a composite of habits of mind which include curiosity, skepticism, imagination, determination, craftsmanship, collaboration, and self-evaluation." Sounds like the perfect skill set for equipping young people to navigate an increasingly complex and unpredictable world. Encouragingly, there's plenty of evidence -- from both research and practice -- that most of the above can be taught in the classroom. In fact, innovation and education experts agree that creativity can fit perfectly into any learning system. But before it can be incorporated broadly in curriculum, it must first be understood. Creativity Starts in the Brain Complex cognitive mechanisms are required to produce creative ideas. Dr. Nurturing Creativity at School 1.

Assessing learning without tests - The Washington Post . Courtesy of The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth In this era in which standardized tests are the be-all and end-all of accountability, it may seem impossible to imagine a teacher evaluating how well students are learning without giving them a test. By Joanne Yatvin Throughout my years as a teacher I was never much of a test giver. As I write this, I can almost see the looks of distain on the faces of some readers. In my view, the purpose of education is to enable all students to become fully functioning adults in all the roles they have chosen or are given to play: family member, community contributor, responsible citizen, humanitarian, etc. Our assessments of student learning were what any good teacher can see in students’ projects, writing, artwork, talk, and behavior. In the elementary grades, students often worked with partners or in small groups, assisting, persuading, compromising, leading, and following. Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

edutopia The need to gain control of students is reaching new levels of desperation. An article in the Washington Post included the following: Three days a week, parents can take their misbehaving kids to A-1 Kutz in Snellville and ask for the "Benjamin Button Special," which Russell Fredrick and his team of barbers are offering -- free of charge -- to parents who want to try a novel form of discipline. The cut involves shaving hair off the child's crown until he begins to resemble a balding senior citizen, inviting that unique brand of adolescent humiliation that can only come from teasing classmates and unwanted attention. Humiliation Is Never OK My opinion about any form of humiliating students is obvious from the title of the book I co-authored in 2008: Discipline With Dignity. Last month, however, I was guilty of humiliating a student seriously enough for her to later tell me that it had been the worst moment of her college life. Prevention and Repair

What Schools Could Use Instead Of Standardized Tests : NPR Ed Close your eyes for a minute and daydream about a world without bubble tests. Education Week recently reported that some Republican Senate aides are doing more than dreaming — they're drafting a bill that would eliminate the federal mandate on standardized testing. Annual tests for every child in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, plus one in high school, have been a centerpiece of federal education law since 2002. No Child Left Behind, the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, requires them. But this law has been overdue for reauthorization since before President Obama took office. Discussions about cutting back on these requirements comes at a time of growing concern about the number of tests kids take and the time they spend taking them. The Council of Chief State School Officers and the country's largest school districts have spoken out in favor of reducing the number of standardized tests students take. Here are four possible answers. 1) Sampling.

edutopia As a teacher, the library has always been an important, almost sacred place for me to go with my students. It was an opportunity to use the computer lab once in a while and look for books to help support research. Over the past few months, the library has taken on a new and different role for all students and teachers. Our library has become a place where I hang out during my prep period and brainstorm with my amazing teacher librarian, Courtney McGuire. We immediately started thinking about what we wanted to see in this space and talking to students and other teachers. Here are some of the things we have done to make the makerspace happen at our school. 1. One of the things that was really important was finding a space that was accessible to all students during the day. 2. Our student leaders emphasized that the space will need some start-up technology (computers, printers, etc.) and that it should come pre-filled with all kinds of tech goodies. 3. 4.

5 Ideas to Prepare Students for Success Without Standardized Testing | Lisa Nielsen Just type the word "testing" into the search box on Facebook and you'll find thousands of parents distraught over the standardized tests their children are being forced to take despite the fact that these parents know it is not in the best interests for their children who in many cases are becoming physically ill and emotionally traumatized by the experience of sitting for up to two weeks straight filling out bubble sheets and answering prompts. Schools are reluctant and even misleading when it comes to informing parents they can simply opt out often arguing that although they acknowledge that it might not be in the best interest of the child, without standardized tests, everything will fall apart. For many there is no alternative imaginable as in this comment from a graduate student studying to be a teacher. I can't STAND standardized tests. Isn't it odd 1. Students can be assessed in a standardized way by authentically demonstrating how standards have been met. 2. 3. 4.

edutopia “But why do I have to go? School is not fun!” That quote is from a first-grade child, asking his mom why he has to go every single day to this place that he was told was going to be a lot of fun, but has not lived up to the hype. If he could articulate further, he might say, "I am only six. This is not an April Fool's Day anecdote; it's all too real. Confused? I asked Ed how humor can be fit in when teachers have so much to cover in their classes. "But most of all, it brings a sense of pleasure and appreciation and creates a common, positive emotional experience that the students share with each other and the teacher." Humor Strategies to Use Even if you are what Ed calls "humor challenged," there are things you can do to lighten the load and dissipate the clouds in your classroom. Truth be told, however, there is another side to the story. Let's add some more enjoyment to school. How do you bring humor in to your classroom?

Educators Spend Four Weeks Per Year Assessing Student Reading Skills | Whitepapers | Research | Lexia Learning Embedded Assessment Reduces Cost, Dependence on Traditional Testing and Ties Data to Instruction Data-driven instruction is an approach embraced by most educators, but establishing a process and a school culture truly focused on data has proven to be an elusive goal for many schools. Most data-driven approaches focus on an assessment-laden routine of testing students, gathering and analyzing data, and then making instructional decisions based on these findings. However, this process tends to be very time-consuming, expensive and overwhelming. A recent study by Lexia Learning shows that educators spend, on average, nearly an entire instructional month (16 days) focused on assessment of reading skills, while students spend more than a week-and-a-half (7.7 days) of instructional time on reading tests. The Cost of Over-Assessing Students In December 2011, Lexia Learning conducted a survey of K–12 educators regarding commonly used reading assessments. Efficient Use of Embedded Assessment

edutopia E.B. White famously quipped, "Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process." At the risk of committing some sort of "humor-cide," a type of scientific dissection must take place if teachers are to consider harnessing the powerful effects of humor, not only to increase joy and enhance the classroom environment, but also to improve learner outcomes. The Funny Bone Is Connected to the Sense of Wonder Teachers understand that humor is inherently social. Essentially, humor activates our sense of wonder, which is where learning begins, so it seems logical that humor could enhance retention. A substantial body of research explains why we remember things that make us laugh, such as our favorite, hilarious high school moment or the details of that funny movie we saw last weekend. Foolishness as a Tool What does "correctly used" mean? "According to recent surveys, 51 percent of the people are in the majority.” Age-Appropriate Humor Do Avoid About That Frog. . .

Why you should stop testing and start assessing By Torrey Trust April 20th, 2015 One educator issues a challenge to all: skip the Scantron and discover what students really know Ed. note: Innovation In Action is a new monthly column from the International Society of Technology in Education focused on exemplary practices in education. During the first day of the semester, one of my students commented: “Your class is the easiest class I have this semester. You don’t have any tests.” I teach graduate level courses about educational technology, such as Online Tools for Teaching and Learning. Don’t get me wrong, I still assess learning. These “creative products,” as I call them, allow my students to demonstrate their mastery in a variety of ways and provide me with a way to assess what my students are learning during class and make adjustments to my instruction. Next: How to change assessment practices

Failure Is Essential to Learning | Edutopia One of my favorite things to say when doing strategic planning with teachers is that the plan has a 50 percent chance of success and a 100 percent chance of teaching us how to get "smarter" about delivering on our mission. I love saying this because it conveys an essential truth: Failure is not a bad thing. It is a guaranteed and inevitable part of learning. In any and all endeavors, and especially as a learning organization, we will experience failure, as surely as a toddler will fall while learning to walk. Unfortunately, in education, particularly in this high-stakes accountability era, failure has become the term attached to our persistent challenges. Why Failure Is Important Early educational reformer John Dewey said it best: "Failure is instructive. Instead, we see failure as an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their strengths as well as their areas of improvement -- all for the purpose of getting better. How do you make failure students' friend? One Student's Story