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Student Self-Assessment: Now More Than Ever

When I wrote my last blog post in January, and made self-assessment my personal learning resolution, I did not know that in a few months my brain would be incredibly tired from learning way too many things in a short amount of time.

I do not need to add any words to the uncertainty that we are all feeling. You know it, and you are all feeling it too. Read more


Is it Time to Reassess our Assessments?

Based on Small Changes, Big Impact

Recently, I have witnessed more acts of compassion from teachers than ever before in my career. 

In my own home, I watched my teenager’s face light up as he opened a hand-written letter from his math teacher, merely saying she was proud of him⁠—nothing about math. I watched as my other son’s second-grade teacher changed the lesson for the day, and instead asked the student to write a thank you note to a community helper. Read more



How Do We Do Common Formative Assessments in a School of Singletons?

We define singletons as those teachers who are the only one who teaches a grade level or subject area in their school.  

When schools define themselves as professional learning communities, one of the hallmarks of that work is to work with a collaborative team with whom teachers learn together. Read more



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Next Generation Assessment: Increasing Student Voice and Choice

The vital position education holds in the future of a society is rarely debated. However, the nature of this position is a constant source of discourse. 

Why is education important? How does it support the values and beliefs of a community? What goals guide it? Who decides these goals and what purpose do they hold for the learners and the communities in which they find themselves? Read more


#Winning: Anticipating Errors as Preventative Instruction

I was recently working with a team to develop common formative assessments, and they were having some difficulty generating appropriate questions and tasks for the standards being addressed in this particular unit of study. 

We talked through the standards, as well as the learning targets, and brainstormed assessments methods to match the various elements of learning required for students to master the concept. Still, we were in a pause. 

So, I decided to change course. 

Instead of further belaboring the learning targets and what student proficiency would need to look like, I engaged the team to consider what was preventing student learning in the first place. Read more


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Are You a Tough Grader or a ‘Tough Grader?’

The caricature of the tough grader is familiar to most; the teacher who only doles out As or top marks to the truly elite performances. They often begin grading a stack of papers with the idea of holding back the As early on, in case someone deeper in the stack produced a truly exceptional paper.  

Often, this caricature has a sense of pride about the competitive nature of grades, whether that competitive culture was inadvertently or intentionally created. Read more


Assessment Quick Wins

Okay, I will admit it…the title of this blog post is a little misleading. 

Assessment is something that deserves thoughtful and extended consideration. “Quick” has the potential to move teachers and students from valid and reliable assessment to assessment that is surface-level. 

However, I also know that when educators decide to shift assessment paradigms and adjust daily practices, looking at the whole assessment topic can seem daunting, and knowing where to start can feel out of our reach. Read more