interactive lessons

Assessing Your Assessment Methods

By Megan Davenport, Professional Development Specialist

How often do you take a moment to reflect on the different types of assessments your students experience? Everyone has their go-to assessments, and busy teaching days don’t offer much time (or mental capacity) to step back and reflect.

However, when we do have time to think strategically about our curriculum, we want relevant and helpful information to make the most of our conversations. The reports in Atlas can serve as a conversation starter and a great way for teachers to reflect and improve their practice. That begs the question, though — what exactly do we want to reflect on?

Below are a series of questions and examples to spark ideas and help you consider how to make the most of your assessment reports in Atlas.

Are your assessment methods clear?

When your teachers enter their assessments, can they easily choose what kind of assessment it is? Do they get bogged down in a lengthy list of options, many of which appear rather similar? Do they look at a short list and feel that they are missing what they need?  A great way to ensure the list is a good fit is to simply ask teachers. You can do this with an activity, in a survey, as a prompt for PLCs. Here is an example of how one school tackled this question.

Below are two lists to spark your thinking:

Assessment List #1

 

Assessment List #2

 

  • Oral Assessment
  • Authentic / Transfer Task
  • Multiple Choice
  • Project / Portolio
  • Performance/ Recital
  • Multi-Media / Technology Project
  • Written Test
  • Written Project

 

  • Oral: Debate
  • Oral: Discussion
  • Oral: Oral Report
  • Oral: Presentation
  • Oral: Speech
  • Other: Peer Assessment
  • Other: Quiz
  • Other: Student Portfolio
  • Other: Teacher Observation
  • Performance: Authentic Task
  • Performance: Dramatization
  • Performance: Lab Assignment
  • Performance: Skill Demonstration
  • Performance: Recital
  • Project: Personal
  • Project: Technology
  • Project: Visual Arts
  • Test: Common
  • Test: Standardized
  • Test: Written
  • Written: Essay
  • Written: Informative
  • Written: Narrative Essay
  • Written: Persuasive Essay
  • Written: Journal/Diary
  • Written: Report

 

Besides the type of assessment, is there anything else you are hoping to capture?

Remember how helpful that report is that tells us about the kinds of assessments being given at our school? We can customize Atlas to track other assessment information. For example, one school has chosen to use their assessments area to capture the level of thinking the assessment is measuring. You can see a few examples below:

Do teachers understand how to use the methods – whatever they are?

Once you have a list that supports your goals and priorities, it is still important to provide resources for consistency. A popular option among schools we support is creating an Assessment Style Guide. You can learn more from this related blog post that features Cari Gibson, curriculum coordinator at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, Florida. She developed an assessment style guide to help teachers create appropriate assessments and ensure consistency by giving teachers a common language around assessment.

What are your goals around assessment practices? As you think about customizing your system, remember to consider the professional development teachers will need to be successful. Let us know how we can help with our customized PD offerings.

Megan Davenport
Contributing Author:

Megan Davenport’s passion for education is at the forefront of her work. Megan earned her master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and business management from the University of Montana. Thanks to her academic background, Megan takes a well-rounded approach to working with schools and benefits from knowledge of organizational structure as well as change management paired with classroom experience and a love of helping children learn. Megan has consulted with public and independent schools both domestically and internationally and enjoys synthesizing knowledge gained from working with a wide variety of schools to provide training and professional development for educators.

Learn about some of her professional development offerings >>

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