Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions on Assessment

In my conversations with teachers, and in no particular order, the following questions keep coming up. Some questions are borne out of a deep frustration with practices that are not working, and with students that don't do school the way teachers think they should. 

I offer these questions as food for thought. In future posts, I will attempt to answer them from my current perspective as a middle school ESL teacher. 

I welcome comments on any of these questions including new questions that need to be addressed.

Whose responsibility is it to make sure students learn? 
Is it the responsibility of parents? 
Teachers?
Students?
Or, perhaps a combination of two or more of the above?

What should teachers do to prepare students for an upcoming assessment? Is that even the right question to ask?

Is it enough to have students review material before a test? 

What does that mean exactly?
Should teachers provide study guides?


If a teacher provides a study guide, with time in class for review, and provides a practice test that is exactly the same as the real test with some parts slightly changed, such as the numbers on a math test, is the teacher then absolved of all responsibility?

Are retakes OK? All the time? Some of the time? Under certain conditions? For full credit?

Are partner quizzes OK? How should they be scored? What is the purpose of partner quizzes? Quizzes in general? For formative purposes? As a summative grade?

What role do/can/should students play in their own assessment?

How do we shift from a focus on punishment to a focus on learning?

And, we come back full circle, if a student doesn't meet our expectations, who is responsible? 

Can we teach in a different way to help our students learn better?

Who is responsible for student learning? 
And, what does that mean exactly?? 
Who is learning? Only the student? Just the teacher? Both?
Who is responsible? Only the student? Just the teacher? Both?
What's the learning to be done? 
Who decides that?

Who is responsible for making sure students learn?

Are we coddling students? (Some teachers really want to know the answer to this one.)

Can we truly make students learn? (This is not a trick question.)
And, what should happen when they don't?

You'd think that we'd have figured this out by now.

Cross posted to March Slice of Life Challenge, Day #26.


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