One thing we will need to do very soon, perhaps early next year when we have a bit more time and space to do something so important, is review our assessment of language arts. We’ll need to take a close look at what we assess, how we go about doing it and what resources we find most effective. We’ll also need to establish some clear agreements about the purposes of different forms of assessment and, therefore, how we will record the data we gather about our students. I have been doing some research into assessment practices and have found the work of Dylan Wiliam to be very interesting. Wiliam was one of the people behind the “Working Inside the Black Box” booklet on formative assessment that swept across the UK about 8 years ago.

William groups assessment practices into the following three categories:

I suggest we use these three categories in order to inquire into our own assessment practices. Together, we can make sure we are not “under-assessing”, “over-assessing” or anything like that! We need to know that:

  • our practices are genuinely informing student learning
  • our “certification” of individuals is meaningful and being passed on as students progress through school
  • the assessment instruments that hold us accountable are genuinely reflective of who our students are and the way they learn
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