“… the only simplicity to be trusted is the simplicity found on the far side of complexity.”
Alfred North Whitehead
This has been an academic year like no other. The pandemic has become the great disruptor!
Whether you are working with students from kindergarten, elementary or secondary, working alongside students in a face-to-face, a virtual or a blended setting, you’ve faced challenges needing immediate action. Circumstances forced you to adapt how you built a very different learning environment, including student-parent-educator relationships. You’ve redesigned learning experiences to fit the demands; you’ve adjusted and morphed instructional and assessment strategies. You’ve communicated with and reported to parents differently.
Now that a spring break is approaching, perhaps you have a few moments to sift through the multitude of lived experiences and anecdotal evidence lingering in your memories to determine whether these strategies are keepers or whether they need to be shelved. As you face the remaining few months of this academic year, it is time to breathe deeply and mindfully ponder, Where do I go from here?
This blog reflects our thinking about harnessing the power of assessment to support you in being highly effective and efficient in your work as an educator. We are committed to tackling the complexity of assessment and instruction to showcase the alignment between these all-encompassing concepts in order for simplicity to emerge.
Where do we start to support you? As we reflect back on many years of facilitating assessment inquiries with educators and administrators, there is one quandary that inevitably surfaces. Educators have stated, “Yes, we see the benefits of and relationships among assessment for, as and of learning, but what about evaluation? How do we take what we know about each student coupled with all the evidence gathered to determine a grade?”
The response to this overarching question is not about applying a formula, nor is it a step-by step approach — rather it’s a thinking process that requires examining interrelated concepts seen as building blocks resulting in a more accurate representation of student learning over time.
Step back and look at the big picture. Consider:
- Visualizing and knowing where you want the learning to go;
- Planning alignment between assessment and instruction to generate evidence in a variety of formats;
- Organizing, gathering and monitoring evidence of learning;
- Selecting relevant data that accurately reflects students’ growth over time;
- Analyzing trends and patterns within the evidence;
- Interpreting the trends and applying professional judgment in order to determine a grade.
Join us over the coming weeks as we shine a flashlight on these considerations to spark discussion and consolidate the thinking process of determining a grade.
One last thought and a call to action: Our experience tells us you have questions! We know you do! Submit your questions in the comment box below to start the conversation rolling.