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When is Assessment Formative?

Formative Assessment is one of the strategies most often talked about by educators in schools today. Type those two words into a Google search and hundreds of thousands of items are identified. Yet the practice is still confusing and unevenly applied within districts, schools, departments, and classrooms. Read more


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A first look at Standards-Based Learning

I have the honor of teaching at a laboratory school and working with many pre-service teachers as they move through their teacher training programs. The mission of our school is to act as a model for educational methods and theory in support of the preparation of future educators. Many of the pre-service teachers that come through my classroom, as well as many of us, went through school with very traditional assessment practices and a traditional mindset when it comes to education, assessment, and grading. Read more


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Do Your Grading Rules Frustrate Achievement?

One of my favorite books is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. For those who haven’t read it, Gladwell writes of the untold stories of success. Rather than telling the stereotypical story of super intelligence or unabashed ambition, Gladwell argues that the true story of success can found by spending more time looking around those who have succeeded; their family circumstances, where they were born, and even their birth date.   Read more


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Perfection Isn’t the Objective; Clarity Is!

Accurate assessment design can effectively leverage our ability to deeply understand a student’s next steps in their learning. As we gather evidence about what students know and can do, we can utilize that information to better determine what a student does know as well as which areas are still difficult for them to master. Yet talking about and planning for assessment design can be a challenging endeavor, especially when this kind of work was never part of our schooling or training. Read more


Assessment in Action: Lessons from Learning to Snowmobile

It was a warm winter day. Snow was falling and my 8-year old was ready to ride the youth snowmobile. I was determined that he was going to learn to do this. While Chase loves to “drive,” he is more concerned with everything around him than the road right in front of him. He watched his older brother jump on and thought that he should be able to ride as fast as he does. Read more


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


Productive Failure

One of the most challenging sales job that we as educators may ever have to make is related to the idea of productive failure.  Productive failure is included in our tenets of effective assessment practices as a component of a learning rich culture along with risk taking and celebrating success.  Failure seems to be hard-wired into our brains as a negative and something to be avoided at all costs.  Our job as educators is to recognize this perception and work to correct it. Read more


Standards Based Grading as a Game Changer

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Why should I make a change in my grading practices? What difference does it make moving to a standards based system from a traditional one? Given the current climate of education with initiative after initiative piling up, why is this endeavor worthy of my time and consideration? Read more


Powerful New Book Advocates Rethinking Grading Practices

This is a guest post by Kelly Rockhill, Solution Tree

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bloomington, Ind. (March 4, 2016)—Solution Tree, a premier educational publisher and professional development provider, has announced the release of Grading From the Inside Out: Bringing Accuracy to Student Assessment Through a Standards-Based Mindset. This new book by Tom Schimmer provides educators with active steps to positively change grading and reporting in their classrooms. Read more


Simplifying Common Assessments

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with collaborative teams at meetings where they are discussing the results of their common formative assessments and planning how they will respond to the information from them. In some of these situations, I’ve been asked to work with teams who are frustrated by a process that they see as being overly cumbersome and complex, as well as not very helpful in their work. Read more