Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Assessment For Learning

The article, Assessment without victims: An interview with Rick Stiggins, discusses the effects that student involvement in assessment has upon student motivation and achievement. The following is a quote from that article:

Students learn from assessments


"JSD: A study in England found that many of the most successful instructional innovations used student self-assessments and peer assessments to strengthen formative assessment in the classroom. The study also found that improved formative assessment raised student achievement overall but that it helped low achievers most.

Stiggins: I, too, have read that very important research. The key is to understand the relationship between assessment and student motivation. In the past, we built assessment systems to help us dole out rewards and punishment. And while that can work sometimes, it causes a lot of students to see themselves as failures. If that goes on long enough, they lose confidence and stop trying.

When students are involved in the assessment process, though, they can come to see themselves as competent learners. We need to involve students by making the targets clear to them and having them help design assessments that reflect those targets. Then we involve them again in the process of keeping track over time of their learning so they can watch themselves improving. That's where motivation comes from.

We can also involve students in communicating what they learned, for example, through student-led conferences, which is probably one of the biggest breakthroughs in communicating about student achievement in the last century. Grant Wiggins says he wants classrooms in which there are no surprises and no excuses. Involve students deeply in the assessment process and that's what you get.

Kids who have given up on learning are at the low end. If we can involve them in the assessment process to give them renewed confidence and motivation, they're likely to try harder and to succeed. The kids who had previously given up on themselves have rekindled interest and get renewed confidence when involved in high quality formative assessment."
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