Article written by: Damian Cooper
In this blog post, we shall examine how Jackie Clark, a grade 3 teacher, combines her deep understanding of assessment for learning with her use of instructional technology to improve the reading skills of her students. I strongly encourage you to view the webinar, “Assessment for Learning: Classroom Strategies to Improve Learning for ALL Students” in which you will be able to see both Powerpoint slides and videoclips * illustrating my comments.
First, a review of some terminology. The different terms that are used when we talk about assessment can cause a great deal of confusion for teachers, as well as students and parents. There are no right and wrong definitions. Rather, educators in different jurisdictions attach different interpretations. For the purposes of this post, I shall use the following definitions:
- Diagnostic assessment: to assess skills, knowledge & understanding prior to instruction
- Formative assessment: to inform learning during the instructional process
- Summative assessment: to assess learning at the end of an instructional period
- Common formative assessments: team-designed to assess progress towards learning targets, often across a grade level
- Assessment for learning: to inform learning during the instructional process
- Assessment as learning: student monitored to enable progress towards specific learning goals
- Assessment of learning: to assess learning at the end of an instructional period
Notice that the definitions for formative assessment and assessment for learning are the same, as are the definitions for summative assessment and assessment of learning. But rather than getting hung up on definitions, it is more helpful to consider the different purposes for assessment. And to do that, I ask you to consider this figure skater.