Let’s Shift the Focus to Meaningful Assessment


The increase in high-stakes testing has shifted the classroom focus away from what matters: assessments that provide both teachers and students with meaningful feedback and a light to shine on the path forward. Andrew Miller explores this idea in his latest blog, Assess More, Grade Less.

Miller writes, “One of the best things we can do in our classes to not only increase student achievement but also improve school and classroom culture is to stop grading everything. We live in a world where much is driven by grades. College admission counselors want to see grades. Many district policies, in an effort to encourage formative assessment and reporting, demand a certain number of grades in a time period. Many of our students are grade driven and constantly ask, “What’s my grade?” There are several forces that drive teachers to grade. We must, however, push back on these forces and instead focus on assessment.”

“I would argue that when a parent, for example, wants to know his child’s grade, he really wants to know how his child in doing the class. A grade alone gives no clear feedback on what students know or where they are in their learning journey. Many schools realize this and no longer report grades; instead, they report on clear learning objectives. Work and assignments may be associated with these reports, but rather than grades coming first, learning comes first. Students and parents want the same thing—to know how they are doing. We should meet that need by providing assessments with clear feedback rather than simply reporting grades”…Article continued

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One thought on “Let’s Shift the Focus to Meaningful Assessment

  • By Walter -

    As a teacher with 15 years in the classroom, it is clear to me that the focus should be on low stakes formative and not high stakes summative assessments. When we use frequent low stakes assessments to inform our teaching, we improve overall test scores, without teaching to a test.

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