Assessment Is a Coin That Buys You Time
It has been said that time is the coin with which to purchase learning. High-quality assessment is the coin that will buy critical time in your classroom by supporting effective and efficient practices and growing student confidence. Knowing what every student needs next helps everyone.
No one wants to plan lessons and teach students, investing precious time and energy, and get to the end of a unit of study only to find that students didn’t learn the material. That’s a very hard lesson for educators and can very quickly lead to increased needs for supporting students who are no longer confident learners. However, when assessment is used as a learning tool, the results help students identify areas of strength and weakness so they can become more efficient and self-directed learners.
Interim and formative instructional practices span a range of options educators and students can rely on to collect and analyze information to understand and improve student learning, while it is happening. That might include any number of instructional and assessment processes that assist teachers and students in collecting and responding to evidence of student learning in ways that facilitate learning both more quickly and more deeply. Research has proven that these practices, used appropriately during teaching and learning, both increase and accelerate student achievement. Access to valid, reliable data is an important driver.
Assessment choices might be teacher-created or might include more commercially available options. As an assessment system, DRC BEACON has provided educators a choice regarding what works best for their classroom needs. A full assessment might be given in the fall to understand where students are starting, and during the school year to monitor progress and growth. Or testlets are an alternative that allow for a quick pre- or post-instruction assessment focused on a single reporting category that aligns with a single unit or focus of study.
Whatever path is best aligned, educators and students are next advantaged when they can easily evaluate and utilize assessment results. An integrated and online reporting system will provide user-friendly and intuitive access to the test information. Also, immediate, purposeful reports can give you clarity on the next steps to take in the classroom.
A key to maximizing time is that teachers develop the skills to guide students to take ownership of their learning. Doing so can support students as leaders of their own learning, tracking progress toward learning targets, and setting goals. Setting goals keeps students focused on desired outcomes and provides direction for needs that are visible to them and in their classroom work. Goal setting with students allows both teacher and student to plan together for the best path forward.
By incorporating assessment as a regular feature of the instructional process, you’ll enable students to make continued progress and save teacher time. Assessment IS a coin with which to purchase learning. Go. Shop. Enjoy.