Assessing for Improvement
Why do we test?
It does not diagnose causes for low scores:
psychosocial, cognitive, emotional or physical reasons for
their inability to achieve.
As teachers face more and more children with increasingly
severe disabilities we are facing more and more cutbacks:
Special Education, ESL programs, Professional
Development opportunities, including in-service, and less
access to human and physical resources.
These are the programs that help a teacher make a
difference and provide quality programming to all
Why do we evaluate?
To communicate student achievement to
students, parents, administrators, institutions
To improve learning and instruction
Provide incentives to improve (goal)
Evaluate effectiveness of instructional
Perform individual diagnosis and
Grading for learning
Tools for collecting data or information
about students’ level of understanding
E.g. projects, quizzes, tests, PBAT,
Teacher judgments based on
information obtained from the
Perspectives on Grading
Grades are not essential for learning
Grading is complicated
Grading is subjective/emotional
Grading is inescapable
Research on grading practices are rare
No single best grading practice
Faulty grading damages students &
Testing, Assessment & Evaluation
The purposes of testing may be any of the
3) classification and/or certification of students
Grading in Principle
Grades should not include group marks
Grade in pencil
“Highest most consistent mark”
Vary assessment techniques:
paper & pencil, performance (observations), personal
communication (questioning techniques),
Peer, teacher, self-assessment
Teachers do not normally evaluate effectively.
NOT: attendance, participation, keeping neat
books or desks, effort or attitude.
Purpose: improve student learning.
Do not assign group grades:
Not fair, undermine report cards, convey wrong
message, violate individual accountability, provide
resistance to cooperative learning, may be challenged.
Note strategies that worked
Summarize the results
Identify what to do next
Assessment that promotes learning
No unexpected surprises
Allow students to celebrate &
demonstrate their learning
Engage & motivate with authentic work
Provide specific, timely feedback
What is it?
Adjust water for shower, cook a meal, exercise, Q & A
Where does it fit in with a sound assessment
What does good feedback look and sound ike?
How can we encourage feedback for selfassessment & self-adjustment?
What are the barriers to quality feedback?
You can’t learn without feedback
Teaching doesn’t cause learning
Learning arises from attempts to perform
Most powerful modification to enhance
achievement is feedback
Feedback is not the same as praise or blame
Develops metacognitive habits of mind
Opportunities for students to feel competent and
Feedback Should be
Valid: “assess what you value”
Reliable: “consistent in your judgements”
Manageable: “work smarter not harder”
what went well
What needs improvement
How to improve
Assessment of a Unit
Are my assessment & evaluation practices tied to
Do I communicate criteria effectively?
Do I balance a variety of assessment strategies?
Do I provide feedback regularly?
Do I separate learning skills from student achievement?
Are grading practices based on sufficient evidence?
Do I involve students in evaluation strategies?
Do I modify for special needs students?
Are assessments free of bias: race, gender, social,
cultural, financial, ability, learning styles?
Are these activities meaningful for the
Are the students involved in procesing
and reflecting (metacognition)?
Are they acting on what they know?
Are they transferring knowledge?
Are they integrating new information with
what they already know?
Have I integrated learning styles