Early May marks yet another round of standardized testing- the 4th round of 5 for my poor eighth graders. I’m annoyed that students are subjected to standardized test after standardized test multiple times out the school year. My students’ anxiety increases, my anxiety causes my hands and feet to sweat profusely, and the fact that test scheduling causes our day to day schedule to be FUNKY as hell also annoys me. I’m annoyed that school report cards to not recognize gains made, rather the focus is simply scoring with a national percentile ranking of 50 or higher. Students who have gained 20 scale score points have made tremendous improvements, but still hurt our school data. I’ve attached some articles about standardized test boycotts around the U.S.
Yes, I recognize that assessment is an important part of education. Teachers constantly must ask themselves, “How do I know they know?” When providing differentiated instruction for diverse learners, classroom teachers also must differentiate ways in which we assess our students. With that being said, teachers must get creative when creating formative assessments due to the overwhelming amount of summative assessments our students take all year. I’m not knocking the end of unit assessment, I’m just suggesting we spice up our assessments to meet the needs of all types of learners. My bodily-kinesthetic and artistic students should also get to thrive when demonstrating what they know.
Using rubrics for performance tasks are important. One of my favorite texts for formative assessments include Page Keely’s, “Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning.” I love this teacher resource because all of the assessment tools can be easily integrated across content areas and do not require extensive time to prepare. Put this on your classroom shelf ASAP.
Visit some of my favorite rubric makers that I use to assess my students understanding of learning. RubiStar is probably the most user friendly and my favorite!
- RubiStar (AWESOME!): http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
- Glencoe: http://www.glencoe.com/sec/glencoewriting/MiddleSchoolRubrics_876541.indd.pdf
- EssayTagger (Common Core webtool. Probably more appropriate for secondary teachers): http://www.essaytagger.com/
- ForAllRubrics (Haven’t used this one yet, just played around with it): https://www.forallrubrics.com/