Monday, April 5, 2010

Classroom assessment for learning: moving toward a deeper understanding

Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right - Using It Well is my new big reading project.

It's a big-but-accessible professional development book, authored by Rick Stiggins, Judith Arter, Jan Chappuis, and Steve Chappuis. 

Here's the central point, taken from the opening paragraph:
Used with skill, assessment can motivate the unmotivated, restore the desire to learn, and encourage students to keep learning, and it can actually create -not simply measure- increased achievement.
Yet again, there's that "sunlit vision" for students that drew me into Stiggins' Assessment Manifesto last year, and led me to develop posts like this one.

Around the state, this book is in very wide use.  I'll be blogging about its contents in part because it's valuable background on what's happening in our schools, and in part because any idea that offers us classrooms where students do both stronger work and happier work is exciting news.


  1. Would you define "assessment" as used here? When most folks hear "assessment" they think of paper and pencil tests.

  2. Indeed.

    I suspect they really mean "any activity that provides evidence you will use to shape further instruction." At least, that's how JanaBeth Francis in Daviess County explains the idea, and it fits everything I've read so far.

    Part of me wants to say "that sounds like it's just good teaching and not what I think of as assessment."

    Another part of me knows that many Kentucky educators are calling this approach either "assessment for learning" or "formative assessment."

    So I'm torn about whose language to use. In the next few posts on this, I'll experiment with ways to make sure both audiences recognize what kind of work is involved.

    One thing for sure: we've got work ahead building good bridges between educators and the public about this bit of vocabulary!


Updates and data on Kentucky education!