3 key considerations for the future of assessments

The cancellation of summative assessments in the spring of 2020, coupled with the variability of the spring 2021 testing season, has significantly impacted the K–12 assessment landscape.

Though students continue to feel pressure around high-stakes tests, their perceived value has decreased dramatically, according to a recent study that surveyed K-12 educators and parents in the United States. In terms of measuring student success, respondents perceive standardized test scores as the least important among 14 factors, at only 29 percent.

When it comes to formative assessment or assessment for learning, however, things look different. To check students’ understanding, 76 percent of educators delivered formative assessments during remote learning. Though formative assessments have proven instrumental in addressing learning gaps related to school closures, the need for accountability testing has not gone away.…Read More

Illuminate Education Partners with Turnitin to Provide Assessment Resources for Remote Learning

Illuminate Education, a leading K-12 student performance solution, is partnering with  Turnitin, a leading provider of academic integrity and assessment solutions. Together, they will equip teachers with knowledge and resources to encourage academic integrity and promote effective assessment creation and delivery in remote learning environments. In partnering, Illuminate Education and Turnitin will work to increase educators’ knowledge, use, and application of assessment resources and tools.

“As remote learning continues across the U.S., it’s important that teachers are able to successfully evaluate student growth and promote quality formative assessment creation and delivery,” said Christine Willig, CEO at Illuminate Education. “This includes teaching students the importance of academic authenticity and integrity, and we are eager to partner with Turnitin to achieve this.”

Illuminate Education offers solutions that help educators assess learning, identify needs, align targeted supports, and monitor growth for each and every student.…Read More

Assessment in 2020: How data will mitigate COVID-related learning losses

In normal times, a discussion about the future of assessment might look five years ahead to talk about the prospects of more authentic computer-aided assessments or potential developments in continuous assessment. However, in 2020, we have more immediate needs right in front us, and the assessment tools we may have had for years will be even more relevant.

We will start this next year with many questions. How will the lack of summative assessments from this past spring impact the coming school year? How quickly can teachers determine what students may have missed in the chaotic close of the 2019–2020 school year? How can teachers parse the interim and formative assessment data of incoming students and focus on the areas that will provide the greatest return?

Related content: Data vs. COVID: How one district runs the numbers…Read More

How I found more satisfaction in teaching

Early in my career, I got upset and disappointed when students made mistakes in class. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t understanding when I was teaching everything so clearly and putting so much time into scaffolding my lessons. As a new teacher, I worked hard to deliver concise lessons at the front of the room, and I became resentful when students asked questions or did not understand.

My attitude was exacerbated by the fact that there are some students who process information easily and master new ideas quickly, while other students struggle to grasp the same material. I assumed many children were not listening, not taking good notes, or not studying. My attitude made me annoyed when helping students one on one, because I was continually repeating what I had just taught at the front of the room.

This attitude created a very negative atmosphere in my classroom. In my first few years as a math teacher, students cried often in my class. I chalked this up to my being strict and having high expectations. Eventually, my poor attitude toward the learning process became pervasive and manifested itself into anger. I often considered leaving the profession.…Read More

How I found more satisfaction in teaching

Early in my career, I got upset and disappointed when students made mistakes in class. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t understanding when I was teaching everything so clearly and putting so much time into scaffolding my lessons. As a new teacher, I worked hard to deliver concise lessons at the front of the room, and I became resentful when students asked questions or did not understand.

My attitude was exacerbated by the fact that there are some students who process information easily and master new ideas quickly, while other students struggle to grasp the same material. I assumed many children were not listening, not taking good notes, or not studying. My attitude made me annoyed when helping students one on one, because I was continually repeating what I had just taught at the front of the room.

This attitude created a very negative atmosphere in my classroom. In my first few years as a math teacher, students cried often in my class. I chalked this up to my being strict and having high expectations. Eventually, my poor attitude toward the learning process became pervasive and manifested itself into anger. I often considered leaving the profession.…Read More

Here’s how we made data usable for our teachers

In today’s digital classroom, teachers have access to more data than ever. With a few clicks, we can view detailed reports on student test scores, formative assessments, progress reports from self-paced software, attendance, and so much more. At times, the amount of data can feel overwhelming, especially when each data point only exists as an isolated channel, unrelated to the next.

I am not saying that multiple data measures are a bad thing; in fact, they can help us to differentiate instruction, personalize learning, and really meet each of our students where they are academically. As administrators, it is critical that we help our teachers collect the most meaningful data points by giving them the tools they need to quickly interpret figures to make informed decisions in their classroom.

In my district, Moreno Valley Unified School District (MVUSD) in California, our data showed that our students were really struggling in math. Our state test scores were low and, with the changing rigor of Common Core, parents were coming to me concerned that they were not able to help their child with assignments. I knew we had to do something outside the box—and quickly—to catch our struggling students and prevent them from falling further behind.…Read More

8 informal assessments to pinpoint what your students need

The great thing about informal assessments is they help us gauge students’ understanding during the learning process instead of after. Informal assessment also changes teachers’ relationship to student learning.

Through informal assessment, a teacher becomes a guide throughout the learning process, rather than the judge of the student’s final product. While committing to formative—or informal—assessment school-wide can be a game-changer for your learners, it’s also important to understand that regularly checking in with student learning can dramatically improve outcomes.

Teachers are already stretched when it comes to classroom management and covering all the required content. To make it easier for them, look for informal assessment practices that fit into the life of the classroom and result in data that’s easy for teachers to track and follow through on.…Read More

Video of the Week: 3 tips for great formative assessment

Ed. note: Video of the Week picks are supplied by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to watch the video at Common Sense Education.

Video Description: Unlock the full potential of formative assessment in your classroom! Check out these tips for how to use formative assessment apps and games such as Kahoot, Socrative, Plickers, and Poll Everywhere to check for understanding and encourage student self-assessment.

Video:…Read More

These edtech tools are perfect for hassle-free assessments

With the shift in education towards data-driven instruction, teachers spend inordinate amounts of time on assessments: checking for understanding, formative assessment, summative assessment, quizzes, tests, essays, research papers, projects and any other way they can think of to not only assess whether a student has mastered a skill or topic, but also to assess the efficacy of their own teaching.

Assessments are, to put it mildly, a disproportionately huge commitment of time. Creating them, administering them, and grading them are just the beginning. Then you need to aggregate and mine your data to really get a handle on the answers you need regarding the educational environment in your classroom. It takes so much effort on the part of the teacher, not to mention all the paper and by-hand grading and recording that has to happen on the teacher’s personal time.

A Better Solution with Edtech?…Read More

Teachers share formative assessment strategies that work

Ed. note: Today’s students have too many tests to take—but today’s teachers still need insight into their classes’ knowledge and skills. Adding new tests every time students need to prove mastery rarely seems like the right answer. For some classrooms, the solution lies in formative assessments, which gauge their students’ understanding and personalize their lessons in real time. Here, two educators share how formative assessments are transforming their students’ learning across the board.

Dawn Nelson, school library media specialist

“Formative assessment is an essential part of teaching because it helps guide instruction. Checking for understanding of important concepts helps the teacher decide to move on or to continue instruction to ensure that crucial information is not lacking.  It can be something as simple as a thumbs up/thumbs down, exit tickets when students leave the classroom, use of digital tools, or actual quizzes. Because it does inform instruction, formative assessment should be incorporated on a regular, if not daily, basis.…Read More