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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


Using Self-Assessment to Open Up the Learning Space

…how we act in the world around us is deeply affected by how we see and feel about ourselves.
Sir Ken Robinson (2015)

Self-assessment and goal-setting are processes we know we should do with students but, in reality, we often don’t see the effort yielding worthwhile rewards in our classrooms. Read more


Five Questions About Feedback

Assessment for the sake of doing assessment is an incomplete (even misguided) instructional goal. For assessment to fulfill its role as an integral part of the instructional process, teachers must use assessment results with clarity and purpose. Read more


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Listening to Student Voices: Reflective Assessment Conversations Build Student Investment in Learning

When educators think about state accountability testing, it is rarely in connected with the process of fostering reflective learners – but maybe it should be. If a student develops meaningful relationships in a learning community while being guided by the use of formative assessment feedback, then the state assessment becomes a simple exercise in “showing what you know.” As educators “build” a learning path with quality assessment, “pave” the path by providing students with the tools to reflect on their learning, and “illuminate” it by the “light” of understanding student expectations for future success – and then push them beyond those expectations (Hattie, 2009), the state test become simply a small part of a balanced assessment system. 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


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Zero Influence – Zero Gained!

Zeros don’t work; never have, never will!  While a good number of schools/districts have already addressed this issue through a shift in policies and practices, the knowing-doing gap is still alive and well. No topic exemplifies the emotional nature of grading discussions quite like a discussion about using zeros. Read more




Assessment: The Game Changer

This is a guest post by Natalie Romero, Principal, Moriarty Elementary

At Moriarty Elementary School in Moriarty, New Mexico, our process of collaborating professionally has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. When we began the journey, the idea of gathering grade-level members together was not frightening; however, our typically brief conversations were not deeply academic or very student centered. Read more