The subject of assessment is something I'm still processing.  I'm not sure I (or probably anyone else) knows the right answer to the best way to deal with assessment in the classroom.  I like a tweet I saw a couple of weeks ago.  I apologize that I can't seem to find the tweet itself to share the direct quote or the author.  If you are the tweeter and you read this, please feel free to let me know and I'll edit this to give proper credit.  The tweet basically said that assessment is something you do with students, not to students.  I understood this to mean that assessment needs to be an ongoing process by which you work with students to help them grow to better understanding, strategies, and artifacts.

I think I would love to run a classroom that did not rely on tests, quizzes, etc in order to assess student understanding.  I would rather rely on authentic assessments.  These include, but are not limited to, items created by students (papers, power-points, drawings, songs, poems, etc), observations of interactions of students with each other, with resources, and with the teacher, relevant comments by students, etc.  I like these types of assessments and methods of assessing, because I feel that they more accurately present what the student has learned, is learning, and is still grappling with.  I believe that standardized tests, quizzes, classroom tests, etc tend to lead to a "memorize and dump" response.  There have been innumerable occasions when I have found that students, even those who had done really well on a recent test, no longer knew the material that the test had covered.

I think a portfolio approach would be possible, whereby each student would have a portfolio of completed artifacts that showed their level of understanding of the material being studied.  I believe this would also allow the students to demonstrate integrated knowledge of the material being covered and the forum with which they choose to cover it.  I also believe that this more closely mimics the way students will be asked to prepare items in most careers they will go into. 

One big question I have if there is no testing is what happens when it comes time for College admission.  Would this make it more difficult for a student to get into college, or a particular college?  It probably would, at least to begin with.  However, if we can work up the line to begin having conversations with colleges, I believe a workable solution could be found.  I would love to have a conversation about this issue and encourage you to leave comments to help me have that conversation.  Thanks for reading.

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