Assessment should be authentic and purposeful. We want to use assessment to measure student growth, reflect on their learning, and to drive instruction. Assessment can have positive and negative effects on students. Assessment should not be a secret or a guessing game for children. Success is not built on guessing what the teacher is expecting. Setting clear objectives and goals with children will help them understand the purpose for their learning. Assessments can be used to measure the success of the instruction and can help teachers provide feedback to their students.
Additionally, not every skill needs formal assessment. Keeping anecdotal notes on observations and classroom conversations is an effective assessment for teachers to evaluate the students learning.
Performance tasks are more effective than multiple-choice tests. Multiple choice tests are designed to target one type of learner and generally do not require higher levels of thinking. Performance tasks are highly engaging and motivating for students, especially if their interests and learning styles are considered.
Looking at assessment with a critical eye is an effective way to see how your students are doing. Remember to also consider the test itself.
- Are the questions clear?
- Could the answer a child have be justified?
- How did the class do as a whole?
- Should I reteach and rethink the objective?
Assessments do not signify the end of learning, especially in elementary settings. Students need many exposures to objectives and goals in order to master the concepts. Be careful not to move on and neglect to revisit important concepts for your grade level. This does not mean to reteach the concept, but provide ways for the students to synthesize the information, or design corrective instruction that enables the students to fix misconceptions or misunderstandings.
Use the Common Core Standards to plan instruction, not the text.
NJ currently uses the PARCC online assessment to evaluate our students in grade 3-6. The following link provide valuable information on this assessment.