Using Assessments to Inform Instruction
"The true purpose of assessment must be, first and foremost, to inform instructional decision making. Otherwise, assessment results are not being used to their maximum potential - improving student achievement through differentiated instruction."
(Ainsworth and Viegut, 2006)
Traditionally teachers and administrators have used tests to see what had been learned. That would be an assessment of instruction. The shift to be made is assessments used for instruction.
What does this shift look like?
Here is the big idea from Ainsworth and Viegut (2006)
"Whenever educators use the results of any assessment in a diagnostic way - to identify particular learning needs of students so as to better meet those needs or to enable students to revise and improve their work - then that assessment can justifiably be regarded as formative"
What do we assess?
We assess priority standards found in the units.
"It is therefore critical that all of the assessed standards be truly significant....From an instructional perspective, it is better for tests to measure a handful of powerful skills accurately than it is for tests to do an inaccurate job of measureing many skills."
(Popham Educational Leadership 2003)
Here are 7 suggestions from The Leadership and Learning Center to involve students in the assessment process.
Provide a clear and understandable vision of the learning target.
Use examples and models of strong and weak work.
Offer regular descriptive feedback.
Teach student to self assess and set goals.
Design lessons to focus on one aspect of quality at a time.
Teach students focused revision.
Engage students in self-reflection, and let them keep track of and share their learning.