Assessment and its Social Context

Categories: Assessment, Authors

I recently read the following quote and thought it a great reminder as a new school year begins:

“…development and learning are primarily social processes, and learning cannot be separated from its social context.” (Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition, 2010 cited in Ruiz-Primo, 2010)

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Feedback – What’s Behind the Buzz?

Categories: Assessment

There’s lots of buzz about feedback. It is discussed on social media, raised in the context of teacher evaluation, cited as an element of PLCs, and deemed integral to the interactions between teachers and students. Joellen Killion addresses it in an excellent new book, The Feedback Process: Transforming Feedback for Professional Learning (Learning Forward, 2015). The pervasiveness of the topic of feedback made me curious: What’s the big deal? Read more

Seven Ways to Give Students Freedom to Learn From Mistakes

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment

Driving Question:  How can I help students learn from their mistakes?


“So let’s talk now about what you can do differently in your next project,”  Mr. Pecht asked.  “This review is the most important part of this project. Tell me what you would do.”

“We hadn’t thought about that,” Rosalea answered. “Those are just usually red marks that lower our grade.”
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Perfection Isn’t the Objective; Clarity is!

Categories: Assessment

Accurate assessment design can effectively leverage our ability to deeply understand a student’s next steps in their learning. As we gather evidence about what students know and can do, we can utilize that information to better determine what a student does know as well as which areas are still difficult for them to master. Yet talking about and planning for assessment design can be a challenging endeavor, especially when this kind of work was never part of our schooling or training. Read more

Assessment in Action: Lessons from Learning to Snowmobile

Categories: Assessment

It was a warm winter day. Snow was falling and my 8-year-old was ready to ride the youth snowmobile. I was determined that he was going to learn to do this. While Chase loves to “drive,” he is more concerned with everything around him than the road right in front of him. He watched his older brother jump on and thought that he should be able to ride as fast as he does.

It became clear very quickly that jumping on with loose supervision was not going to be enough. After running into the car, running over the landscape (although covered in snow), it took two of us to form a barricade, wave our hands, and teach him to slowly press the gas. With multiple attempts, he got it. However, it was not without a major re-assessment of strategy (and a few minor dents in a car and some trampled plants).

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