What is Authentic Assessment? What is the purpose of assessment, grades, tests?
It is not enough to just assess what students know or don’t know and mark it in a book or relay it to the parents, twice a year at conferences. I think assessment should be used solely for the the betterment and growth of student as they seek to make meaningful constructions of the knowledge of the world. It should help the child and teachers (parents) look at what and how they know the things they do, to further their learning.
I have never understood why the assessment is often so one-sided. The teacher is merely one voice in the conversation. When the student is not at the center of the assessment, then it is detached and fragmented lacking any power to lead to real authentic growth. Students might preform well, might score well on the state test, or complete all the assignments, but the minute the voice disappears there is no motivation or resources for the child to do their own work.
There is a deeper level of authentic praise and satisfaction that comes from active learning and excellence work. The natural power that comes from meaningful learning is an intrinsic feeling that is transferable for children for the rest of their life.
My students are in the midst of taking their preliminary examinations - examinations as preparation for their standardised tests.
At the end of the day, nothing is more important than how they do in the standardised tests - it’s important to both me, my students and my school. Me because their…
So, Why do you think grades and teacher driven assessment is still so central to school?
What are some simple ways for teachers and students to change this?
How do we start to have the conversation with parents, teachers and students about these issues?
Here are a few questions I posed in my most recent Cooperative Catalyst post. Love to have you click through and give your thoughts.
What are we going to do as teachers to make this truly a historical picture? Any school with desk is rows… needs to see this picture… time for change…. yes indeed!
Students in a classroom during scholarship examinations, 16 April 1940.
- Public domain image from State Library of Queensland, Australia, available at Wikipedia.
Seventy years and not much changes.
Your grandparents were subjected to standardized testing too. I especially love the test proctor lurking ominously in the back corner.
“Dozens” of employees from APS’ media centers are being placed in positions vacated by teachers involved in the district-wide cheating scandal, positions that the library workers say they aren’t certified or comfortable to take on, WSBTV reports.
“I haven’t taught elementary level education in 21 plus years,” one employee wrote in an e-mail to WSBTV. “I’m not prepared to teach the very children who have been cheated by the cheating scandal.”
First the teacher were scapegoated for a broken system which was designed to give incentive to cheat and now the children are being punished. Don’t think by removing the teachers the system will be fixed. This is a systematic problem, a problem of a test that does not assess learning, nor the ability to teach.
How many times do we need to say or better yet show that the test is the cause of a lot of the problem?
How many times do we need to say we have no problem with assessment?
We have a problem with a system that does not trust teachers or students or communities to assess their own work.
We want quality education, we want meaningful education, we want to get better and grow, we don’t need tests to assess this.
Dr. Polakow-Suransky said the challenge was to create an additional assessment that will ‘strengthen instruction.’
I say he ought to examine the premise of the law and challenge it, because the goal ought to be to strengthen teaching and learning. This entire exercise strikes me as a ‘gotcha game’ whose outcome will undermine the teaching profession, increase disrespect among students for schooling, and take time away from teaching and learning. It will, however, allow students to strengthen their bargaining and blackmailing skills.
Assessments can strengthen instruction, of course. Frequent school-based tests in math, for example, can pinpoint which teachers are having difficulty getting certain concepts across; they can then learn different approaches from their more successful peers. That’s not ‘gotcha’ testing but sensible assessment with an immediate feedback loop.