365: day 141 by Nick in exsilio
In keeping with this blog’s philosophy, I thought I’d post something short and sweet about change, but not necessarily having to do with tech, per se. It comes from the ASCD blog. What caught my eye today was about how we can change assessment practices. This post (and the book it is about) is primarily directed at new teachers, but I think the suggestions apply to all teachers, regardless of experience level — I have seen some super-innovative teachers who have been in the game for 20+ years, and I have seen some very complacent and — dareIsayit? — lazy teachers who have been in the game for 20+ years, too, so I think this advice is pretty much in the Across The Board category.
Three important priorities guide Grdino’s resolution to these assessment challenges. How do you answer these challenges at your school?
- Coaching: Identify teachers’ strengths and weakness and provide individualized support. Grdino explains, “An experienced teacher who does not see a reason to change the way he or she has always graded students will need different guidance than the new teacher who has been trained in designing rubrics but lacks the organizational skills to do so efficiently.”
- Questions: Use professional inquiry to guide growth. For example, ask teachers to include sample assessments with their weekly lesson plans. Or ask teachers to highlight the verbs used in lesson objectives or national and state standards. Highlighting the verbs used in the lesson objectives will help both new and seasoned teachers focus on goals that are higher than mere knowledge acquisition. Give teachers a forum to ask each other questions and share best practices about assessment.
- Balance: Ask teachers to diagram the types of assessments they use over a year. “While preparing the diagrams, the teachers must quantitatively examine the importance they give to each type of assessment, and the final visual product gives the evaluator a clear graphic that shows patterns and changes in the way a teacher evaluates students,” Grdino advises.
You can read the whole post over here. What I’m wondering is if we can make these simple changes in assessment, small, gradual, and do so mindfully? To take it a step further — What would start to happen if all teachers did this, and embedded technology into their assessment tools?
It’s just a thought…