I was six years old. My first grade teacher Mrs. Larsen was handing back our papers, and I knew my educational career was finished. I’d tried as hard as I could to keep my letters within the wide-lined paper — both capitals and lower-case — but by the end of the page things had gotten pretty messy.
Kenny, one desk ahead of me, had a paper in his hand with a slew of red marks on it. Alice, the class show-off (just across from me) had a “worked hard” sticker on her paper — she’d already been called out for her perfect work. And now it was my turn.
Yup. Life was over. I was destined for failure. I’d gotten a “-2″ on the test.
A New Way Of Thinking About Assessment
Earlier this month, I had the honor of presenting a workshop for a room full of Career and Technical Educators at the ACTE show in Las Vegas. My topic was “Assessment FOR Learning: How Measuring Success DURING Learning Turns Testing Upside Down”. Rather than wait until the end of the learning, teachers use assessment every day (without those red markers and embarrassment) to engage students and work together with them towards success.
To model that behavior, I didn’t give a speech. I worked together with all that experience in the room to build answers to questions about how we could improve, after describing the idea. I had a great helper — Anne Kuser from the home office scribed all the information up on big yellow sheets, and I’ve added it to my PPT deck on Slideshare.
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