Let’s Change the Stigma!
I think assessments have gotten a bad rap. We need to change how we think about the purpose of our assessments. They are not just a grade to be entered in the gradebook, but instead they are to monitor student progress, allow for student and teacher reflection, differentiated to meet the needs of students, and an exciting part of the learning process. Assessment should be ongoing, fun and a learning experience for the students and teacher!
Questions I ask myself- What is the purpose of an assessment? How do we assess our students? What does the assessment tell us about our students? What does the assessment tell us about our teaching or our lesson? What does the assessment tell our students about us or our physical education classes?
Words I think of when I think of assessment:
Powerful, Creative, Reflective, Exciting, Differentiated, Engaging, Cycle
What does assessment mean? To me assessments are- the HOW! How do I know my students are learning and How do my students know they are learning? How did the assessment show student growth?
Assessments can be so exciting!
When I think of assessment I think of smiles, student engagement, conversations, encouragement and feedback. Watching your students create or practice a skill or concept during a lesson is amazing! Then seeing their smiles of success after practicing or accomplishing their goal, is the best feeling as a teacher! The looks on their faces when they light up after their teacher provides them with feedback or a hi-5 or a congratulations fist pump! All of that feedback during the lesson is a form of assessment. Assessments can take on many different looks and forms. Assessments traditionally occur at the end of the lesson, but they can and do occur throughout the entire lesson.
- Teachers can pre-assess their students as soon as they walk in the gymnasium (or type it virtually) by having them touch a “how do you feel” board (awesome, good, not so great) or by pre-assessing their skills or knowledge on a concept during an instant activity.
- We can assess during station activities or individual student practice time using a walking “clipboard” taking teacher notes or a performance checklist or providing student feedback through conversation.
- Assessments can occur while students work in small groups in many ways. Students can create a performance or sequence utilizing and applying skills and concepts taught, peer assessment while practicing skills like rolling to a target, or a student reflection exit ticket.
- Assessments should be differentiated and allow for student choice to show their knowledge and growth. One style of assessment does not meet the needs of every student.
- Assessments do not need to always be paper/pencil. Teachers can use technology, movements to answer a question, or project and sequence creations applying skills and concepts.
Teaching Cycle and Reflection
Assessments are part of the teaching cycle. We teach a lesson, assess our students, reflect on the information from the assessment and then plan & improve our lessons based on the assessment data and then teach again! The cycle continues with each lesson. Teachers teach their lesson, use an assessment tool or strategy to measure student knowledge, reflect on student knowledge and lesson based on assessment data, then plan and improve their lesson and teach again. This occurs consistently with every lesson. And this cycle happens many times during and throughout each lesson. There is so much power in assessments! Assessments are also an amazing chance for a teacher to reflect on the lessons and student performance. After reflecting on data from an assessment the teacher can then decide if parts of the lesson need to be re taught, create small groups for differentiation, or extend the lesson.
Assessment should be ongoing, fun, engaging, and a learning experience for the students and teacher!
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