This week we were challenged to pick a digital assessment tool we haven’t used before, use it, and report back on the blog. It is fairly well documented, but I am not allowed to use a computer in my classroom, so I am going to comment on assessment in general.
Amanda Ronan defines assessmment in Every Teachers Guide to Assessment as “the measurement of what students are learning” and that “the information gleaned from assessments is extremely valuable.” While both of those statements are true, a big part of assessment is figuring out how how to take the data I have in front of me and turn it into a meaningful story that explains to students and parents what they have learned in school. It is an outdated expectation of the education system.
Launel points out in her post that “the politics of education are interlaced with assessment”, and I believe that to be true. Student learning does not always fit nicely into the box on the report card, but we are expected to fill it out because that’s the way we have always done it, and its what parents and the community in general expects. Assessment used to be something we did to students, and held against them if necessary. The report card evolved into a tool for student behavioral control and school marks became a currency that teachers used to influence effort. For the most part marks had little to do with our learning. Now, there are many ways for teachers to collect evidence of student learning (or lack of student learning) digitally or otherwise, but many of them do the same thing.
Our pedagogy has changed considerably in the last decade or so and the shift is toward empowering students in their own learning as opposed to their regurgitation of facts. I argue then, that if pedagogy has changed, then assessment must also change from traditional grading methods, despite the best efforts of those who remain loyal to traditional school. As teachers encourage students take ownership of their own learning, I believe there should be an element of honest student self assessment that supplements the evidence of learning collected by the teacher.
Maybe its the fact that it is Report Card and Student Led Conference week at my school, but I have had it up the here with assessment…