Grading for Dummies, or A Confederacy of Rubrics

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Dressed in a three-piece, charcoal gray pinstriped suit, Rex Kane squirmed in his chair at the head of the table. He fidgeted restlessly with the bold red silk tie he had chosen in the belief that it lent him an air of credibility. Before him sat Bedlam Christian High School’s curriculum committee, an august group […]

Assessment Practices: Encouraging or Damaging?

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Our discussion for this month began with the following prompt from John Walcott: Assessment and evaluation practices are an everyday part of life in schools. We know that helping students reflect on their work can be an important part of the learning process. Therefore, how teachers think about and practice assessment and evaluation in their […]

A Little Box of Leadership

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This semester, our students, funded by a state grant, have been asked to focus on the knotty term “leadership,” as in “teacher leader.” It’s one of those topics we all think we know a lot about, and in a way, we do. We can certainly recognize the broad outlines of it, but the specifics are […]

Assessment, Evaluation, and Gardens

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“I remember the first time that a grading rubric was attached to a piece of my writing. . . . Suddenly all the joy was taken away. I was writing for a grade—I was no longer exploring for me. I want to get that back. Will I ever get that back?”   Claire, a student […]

Developing Self-Assessment through Project-Based Learning

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Well-developed self-assessment skills are not only a vital tool for improving student learning, but also a lifelong tool for growth beyond the school. When students practice peer assessment, they become more skilled at critiquing in general and, by extension, better at self-critique. I believe that project-based learning provides rich opportunities for developing students’ assessment skills […]

Assessment Obsession and Evaluation Idolization

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Assessment Obsession and Evaluation Idolization

When educational policy makers first caught assessment fever from the business world some twenty years ago, like many teachers, I assumed it would pass as so many educational trends do. Instead, it has hung on and grown and grown, to the point that educational assessment has become a mega-business for corporate conglomerates like Pearson, who […]

Restoring Peer and Self-Assessment

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Restoring Peer and Self-Assessment

In 2007, Elaine Brouwer unpacked some important ideas on assessment in the pages of the Christian Educators Journal. It was a remarkable article. One concept from that article has remained front-of-mind for me over the years: Assessment is best done with students, and when it is, it can be a blessing. The idea of assessment […]