My wife sent this picture to me the other day and I think it is just an excellent reminder that educators need to be thoughtful about assessments. A big focus in learning for myself this year has been around formative assessment in the classroom and how we are (or are not) using it to drive instruction. I think about education moving toward more individualized learning and how we, as educators, are going to adjust our practice to be more reflective of students needs and learning styles.
When I look for formative assessment strategies in the classroom, I’m always searching for not just the strategies, but more importantly a reaction to the feedback teachers receive. Those formative assessment strategies need to be strongly connected to the teaching goals in the classroom or lesson and often, I feel, this is the piece that isn’t as clear. When it is embedded into the regular instructional practices, students, staff and parents recognize the importance and it’s place in the life of the school.
This excerpt taken from http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/blog/2011/10/04/formative-assessment-principles/ by Dr. Jason Parker references how little stress formative assessment SHOULD be to educational settings:
Dynamic and rigorous professional development. Cook (2009) alluded to the fact that formative assessments should not be difficult for teachers to administer to students. In fact, the researcher implied that formative assessments should easily conform to the regular classroom schedule. Formative assessments should not have to be scheduled or done outside of the regular instructional setting.
So before we go asking students to “climb the tree” we should focus on having a clear understanding of their climbing gear, and get them the gear they need!