The world changed. When the pandemic hit this spring and schools closed, educators were thrust unceremoniously into the world of distance learning. We followed your thoughts on social media platforms and it became clear to us that some educators thrived in this medium while others did not; some students loved the possibilities – others did not. An awareness of the power of technology to support learning surfaced but learning gaps, based on struggles and inequities, were exposed.
The COVID-19 virus became the great disruptor across the world. The pace of change was frenetic but paradoxically time slowed to a snail’s pace. This ‘new normal’ uncovered the importance of mental health; of building relationships; of addressing equity and injustice. Educators were forced to re-examine fundamental questions, ‘What is learning?’ and ‘How do educators – and society – support learning?’
We started this blog two years ago based on the premise that changing the way we think about assessment would change to a focus on students’ role in learning. We view the role of assessment as supporting students in becoming independent, autonomous learners.
As educators prepare for a safe re-entry to schools this September, consider that the basic tenets of assessment have not changed whether engaging in face-to-face or distance learning. If anything, the principles are more important than ever!
Review past blog entries detailing the importance of Harnessing the Power of Assessment to anchor your instructional decision making:
- First Steps: Planning for Learning
- Learning Goals: Essential to Learning
- Collaboratively Developing Students’ Understanding of Success Criteria
- Witnessing Learning Over Time: Monitoring and Documenting
- Descriptive Feedback: The Engine that Powers Learning
- Self and Peer Assessment: Empowering Learners.
One last thought and a call to action: Whether you are an experienced educator, or this will be your first teaching assignment, these are unprecedented times for everyone! What questions do you have about assessment? Let’s support each other by being open to discussion. Share your questions and thinking in the comment section below.