Posts by Cassandra Erkens


Achievement – Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor: Post 3 of 4 on Using Assessment to Improve Achievement

Author’s note: In the spring of last school year, I offered 2 posts from a 4 part series on using assessments to increase achievement. The first was in regards to defining ‘learning’ beyond numerical indicators and the second was on holding high expectations for all learners. The third and fourth posts will be offered this fall.

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Achievement – High Expectations for All

Post 2 of 4 on Using Assessment to Improve Achievement

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them
Einstein

As noted in my first post of this series regarding using assessment to support achievement, the primary mission of schools is to help kids learn. Schools write mission statements toward that same end:  all students will be successful. But, have those mission statements become routine and somewhat cliché?   Read more


Achievement—It’s More Than a Number

Post 1 of 4 on Using Assessment to Improve Achievement

A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.
Einstein

The primary mission of schools is to help kids learn. That’s it. That’s the bottom line. It stands to reason, then, that the primary indicator of success will always be achievement scores. But our work with making decisions about learners must remain far more humane then making decisions about learners based on a set of cold, calculated scores (and it doesn’t matter if those data come from the grades in our gradebooks or external test scores). The measure of achievement should never mask the face of the learner. This is personal. And, it’s very serious work. Read more


Assessments Must Build Efficacy

When you come upon a seemingly insurmountable challenge, do you give up or do you persist?  If you tackle such moments, then you have a strong sense of efficacy.  Efficacy requires belief (I can do this) and action (I will take the risks, even though failure is a possibility).  It is the foundation learners require if they are to develop deep understanding and personal skill. Read more


Assessments as Hope

At its core, assessment has always been a process that was meant to support learning; in other words, teachers and learners would use the information from assessments to make decisions about what comes next. In order for teachers and especially learners to even fathom ‘what’s next’ they must maintain a sense of hope. Read more





Groupings for Collaborative Learning

Collaboration is critical to everyone’s success – especially learners in the classroom. In the early days of exploring brain research implications for the classroom, Pat Wolff was adamant that the speaker is always the learner (Wolff, 2010). Read more