Assess for Success

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Introduction

Course Description

In education today we place a high value on the results of student testing, especially the “high stakes testing” administered by states. Yet, what should be the purpose of assessment in the classroom? Do we assess students to measure their ability, to enforce the accountability of schools and districts, or do we use assessment to improve student understanding? When we assess students, is that information the means to an end, or just “the end” of an instructional unit? How do the results of student assessments impact our instruction the next day; or do they affect our instruction at all?

This is a course designed for teachers who are interested in investigating ways of using student assessment to improve the understanding of their students. It is a focus on using assessment in a formative manner, rather than in the summative fashion most of us are accustomed to. In this set of lessons, participants will be introduced to research about the use of formative assessment and its potential in uncovering student misconceptions, increasing achievement, and stimulating student ownership of learning and motivation. After reflection on the issues and information within the course, participants will be challenged to use assessment in a manner that encourages student learning, rather than simply be a grade on a paper.

Course Objectives

  • Participants will reflect on their personal understanding of “assessment” and its place in their classroom.
  • After reviewing literature on formative and summative assessment, participants will state several attributes of what formative assessment is, and what it is not.
  • Participants will list several types of formative assessment techniques that could be added to their teaching practice.
  • Participants will gain confidence and expertise using assessment in a formative manner, to shape their instruction.
  • Participants will understand the difference between “knowing” verses “understanding”, and develop strategies to assess for understanding.
  • Participants will make a plan for implementing formative assessment as a means of teaching for understanding and student mastery of objectives in their classroom.
  • Participants will create student rubrics and use these to guide students towards improving their learning from understanding their errors.

Instructional Units

Unit 1: What does assessment look like in my classroom?

Objectives

Participants will reflect on their understanding of what assessment is and how they assess in their teaching practice.

Unit 2: Formative assessment: What it is and what it is not

Objectives

After reviewing literature on formative and summative assessment, participants will state several attributes of what formative assessment is, and what it is not.
Participants will list several types of formative assessment techniques that could be added to their teaching practice.

Unit 3: To grade or not to grade; that is the question

Objectives

Participants will understand the difference between “knowing” verses “understanding”, and develop strategies to assess for understanding.
Participants will evaluate their grading practices to assess the learning outcomes they give the most credit for.

Unit 4: Begin with the end in mind: Creating and using rubrics

Objectives

Participants will design a student rubric for a project in their classroom, using their learning objectives to guide their assessment.

Unit 5: Using formative assessment to create student ownership

Objectives

Participants will use their knowledge of formative assessment and rubrics to guide students towards developing their own strategies to improve their learning.

Unit 6: Using formative assessment to shape instruction

Objectives

Participants will develop several strategies for using formative assessment in the classroom.


"Assess for Success" Resources

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