What should assessments assess?


I was thinking that to make the best academic progress children should take periodic assessments that measure growth over the entire year, you know; show me where the children are now compared to where they need to be before high stakes tests, formative in nature.

It now appears that some prefer a summative type test, more like what we used to call a "6 weeks test" or a test that measures the pacing guide. I am concerned that having these without time to re-teach when needed will be another test just for the sake of testing.

What are your thoughts?



One Comment;

  1. Lynn Burdick said:


    I think with high stakes testing, we have lost sight of why assessment is a good thing. When teachers give the ThinkLink test at the start of the year, they often find they can skip chapter 1 in the math book. Sometimes even chapters 2 and 3. They get to skip the six weeks of trying to figure out where their class is, as a whole, and where the strengths and weaknesses are. Once they have the snapshot of the class, they get to design instruction and choose instructional units that address the holes in the student knowledge, not the table of contents in the text book.

    We have fallen into the trap of thinking that all assessment has to be formal. I think assessment should be ongoing. There are times for formal assessments, but ongoing informal assessment is what will help teachers most. If an informal assessment along the way tells me the kids are lost in the fog, I have some reteaching to do RIGHT THEN. It doesn’t do me any good to know they don’t get it after the unit is done.

    The bottom line is that the purpose of ALL assessment, formal and informal, formative and summative, should be to drive instruction.

    Lynn Burdick

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