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How Can You Assess Learning?

Assessment is integral to the teaching and learning process. Without it, we could not determine if our students are learning. This is because facilitating student learning, while also working to improve our instruction is key.

Most educators know that it is imperative to evaluate what we do in the classroom, just as well as our students on a day-to-day basis in order to see what’s working, and what isn’t.

By doing so, we can determine what strategies work best with our students to produce optimal learning results. For example, if Ahmad was having a difficult time understanding multiplication we wouldn’t just sum it up to Ahmad’s having a problem with learning. We would evaluate all the different strategies we are using to teach multiplication facts.

Our goal should always be to ensure that students are grasping information, understanding ideas, and being able to apply what they learn to skills task for mastery. Let’s get academic for a moment; there are three main types of general assessment to consider:

  • Assessment for learning is ongoing assessment that allows teachers to monitor students on a day-to-day basis and modify their teaching based on what the students need to be successful. This type of assessment provides students with timely, and specific feedback so that they can make adjustments to their learning.

  • Assessment of learning is the snapshot in time that lets the teacher, students and their parents know how well each student has completed the learning tasks and activities. It provides information about student achievement. While it provides useful reporting information, it often has little effect on learning.

  • Assessment as learning develops and supports students' metacognitive skills. This form of assessment is crucial in helping students become lifelong learners. As students engage in peer and self-assessment, they learn to make sense of information, relate it to prior knowledge and use it for new learning. Students develop a sense of ownership and efficacy when they use teacher, peer and self-assessment feedback to make adjustments, improvements and changes to what they understand.

So, what could we do to help Ahmad? First, we would strive to ensure that we effectively demonstrated and modeled multiplication facts for Ahmad through a range of modalities i.e. wipe board, workbooks, worksheets, iPad, and/or computer-based activity. If he still wasn't able to grasp multiplication facts we could pair him with a student who is doing extremely well to complete multiplication tasks, use multiplication games, manipulatives, have him create an actual multiplication chart, create a multiplication journal, or engage in drills to foster comprehension. Lastly, we would encourage Ahmad to keep practicing because the best way to learn is through repetition and practice! Check out our Resource Page for assessment and game ideas!


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