Assessment of students is a crucial part of their education. It is one thing to be able, with some degree of confidence, to say that 'Johnny knows x' but it is quite another to be able to say 'Sarah can x'. It is clear that assessment at its core is involved in the measuring of something and that if I expect students to reach above a certain level of 'something' then I must clearly communicate that to them. The backwards design that we are familiar with goes someway towards achieving this goal. The notion that we state at the outset our expectations for student learning and then design activities to achieve that stated goal appears to be common sense. However, the tendency for teachers to rely upon pre-existing testing materials and adjust their high expectations to either teach to the test or adopt a less ?radical? approach is tempting. I think that new teachers are so overwhelmed with the day to day business of running a classroom that assessment, perhaps the most vital and under examined area in education, takes a back seat pretty quickly. A frustrating aspect of modern education is the concept of differentiation. It is often presented in the sense that each student learns differently, has different strengths and weaknesses and accordingly should be afforded assessment opportunities that allow them the best chance of success. That approach is daunting to new teachers because the intimation is that individualized assessment is preferable and with one hundred and six students of different grade levels and their own relative areas of skill, individualized assessment appears too hard a challenge.
I have begun to examine my own assessment with a view to finding ways to improve it and improve ...
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...stances students find among themselves, the absolutes are the text and the definitions available in the Oxford English Dictionary. The variable of teacher interpretation is also reduced because the student uses evidence form the text to prove their assertions. In addition to which, I contend that the explication meets the criteria for an educative assessment in that it allows for the academic growth of the student as the result of the features of the passage that are illuminated. Students see different things in the same text and express their findings differently but the value of their findings is the measure to take.
The goal of educative assessment appears to turn ?traditional? assessment on its ear. The notion that the assessment is teaching something is a challenge to many teachers, particularly teachers with a vested interest in producing test scores.
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