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Assess for Success

Scope and Purpose

Course title: Assess for Success

Course purpose: Staff development for teachers in the use of formative assessment. Why is this important? How can this improve my teaching? How do I implement this in my classroom?


Needs Assessment

What is the purpose of assessment in the classroom? Do we assess students to measure their ability, or to improve their understanding? When we assess students, what do we use that information for; is assessment the means to an end, or just “the end” of an instructional unit? How do we judge the effectiveness of our teaching; if all students fail a particular test, have we meet our objectives, or do we use this information to go back to improve our teaching and the understanding of our students?

A review of literature on assessment reveals that we teach today in an environment of “high stakes testing”; often our instruction is driven by a summative model of assessment. When looking at the recent literature, it becomes clear that using assessment in a more formative manner, to measure the level of student understanding along the instructional path and using this information to shape instruction to meet the needs of students, perhaps is the key to mastery learning. When this information is provided to students, they also begin to understand their strengths and weakness and begin to take ownership of their learning. They see the results of what they have learned, and hold the key to success in their hands as they examine their misunderstandings and make goals to learn from their mistakes. “When teachers hand over to students the power to shape their own learning, the learning that occurs is often more powerful than what would have transpired if the teacher had directed the learning activities.” (Brookhart, 52)


Learning 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.


Literature Review

This is a review of the literature on formative assessment.


Curriculum Map of Unit

This is a preliminary outline of the sequence and lessons for this instructional unit.


Resources

This is a list of books and articles that give more information on the potential of formative assessment and its use in the classroom.