We Aren’t Using Assessments Correctly
Teachers are using test information incorrectly. We need to start to thinking of assessments as a process and not a test. Hattie (2015) mentioned, “we need reports from student assessments that help students understand their own progress in learning—what they can do, what they cannot yet do, where to go next” (p. 23). Our math department uses exit slips see if students are mastering the big ideas we are teaching. The exit slips provide us information along the way to check the progression of a skill instead of the final result of learning the skill. Students need to take ownership of their learning and learn how to reflect on what they need to accomplish to be more successful. Popham (2017) wrote, “evidence elicited by assessment procedures is used either by teachers to adjust their ongoing instruction or by students to adjust their current learning tactics. Formative assessment, therefore, is a process involving teachers and/or students – not merely teachers” (p. 277). I can use the evidence I get from the formatives as a way to either look for different ideas and strategies to teach students that are struggling or for the students to decide on a different learning technique that may work better for them in learning the new information. I teach my students to advocate for themselves and let me know when a method I am using while teaching is not working for them. Involving the students in the results from the formatives would be a fantastic way to help this process and feel in control of their own learning. Popham (2017) stated, “Formative assessment is a planned process. . . . you can accurately think of formative assessment as an instructional strategy” (p.275). Using this idea would help teachers decide if the methods or strategies they are using are working. Hopefully students are letting teachers know if they understand the material but in case they don’t we have a back up plan. The formative assessment information can drive the instruction in three different ways. Some students may need remedial teaching, some may need more practice, while others may need rigorous enrichment activities to further their understanding. Information from assessments can be extremely powerful and help teachers improve their teaching if used correctly.