Innovative educational authors and thinkers often identify the tradition of conventional testing as a core obstacle in overhauling education. While “teaching to the test” draws near universal ire, most of us continue the old routine: lesson -> homework practice -> quiz -> test -> next unit -> lesson -> practice, etc. Students are warned to pay attention and take quality notes in order to perform well on the omnipresent test. Wouldn’t it be great if students enjoyed coming to class because they embraced ownership of their own learning and found the material to be both relevant and engaging?
Over the years, I have found ways of overhauling the structure of my classroom to transfer the ownership of the learning to the students via a combination of mutual respect and an alternative grading strategy. My methods include rich participation metrics, diverse projects and effective editing. Innovative assessments are not only possible within the constraints of conventional external grades, but students and parents embrace them. Diverse classrooms of students at different skill levels can also be readily accommodated. In addition to outlining methodologies, ready-to-use assessment tools will be provided for teachers to use directly or adapt to their needs.