6 comments
  1. I would argue that they learn a lot during the weeks that they take the tests, but that do not learn things that we (as educators) want them to learn. A student who does well learns that memorizing facts makes one smart, and a student who does poorly learns that being measured by someone else's standards makes you dumb.

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    1. Exactly. The lessons they learn are often the most dangerous ones to internalize.

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  2. I struggle with this policy-maker view of assessment as well (as I'm sure all teachers do!) I've struggled in the past few years to re-think my idea of "assessment" and move towards a system of assessment FOR learning as opposed to simply (over)using assessment as a measurement of learning. I wrote a little bit about it recently on my blog here: https://etvegan.wordpress.com/ But this is a constant struggle in this absurd testing environment we are working in.
    Thanks for another thought-provoking post!

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    1. Thanks for the link. The policy aspect can be brutal.

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  3. Hey John - after hours of debate in Twitter, I finally realized that some of the people that I was debating with defined assessment quite differently. In my head, I was talking about ongoing formative assessments that happen in the moment as well as common summative assessments that happen as an event (with more emphasis on the formative)- both of these used positively to guide instruction and student learning. I had never been part of a system that abused summative assessments like has happened in the US. When I finally realized the context in which people were using the term "assessments", it made so much more sense. There wasn't even a debate and I became embarrassed to think that people thought I would be pro-US-style-standardized-testing-assessment. Since then, I really try to determine what people mean by assessment and I like the difference between a noun and verb that you have used.

    I think there can be a role for all types of assessments - it is often what is DONE with the evidence of learning that is key.

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    1. I am not anti-assessment, per se. I just see how they have been used so poorly that I tend to bristle when people speak in favor of assessment and data. Truth be known, the verb and noun aspects are intertwined and every assignment is, in a sense, an assessment.

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