Classroom Assessment, Part 2: Value to the Educator

Frequent assessments can be valuable to the educator in a couple ways. First, assessments of the students’ performance or understanding can alert the teacher to misconceptions in time to correct the confusion. These assessments can also point out weaknesses in instruction. If a handful of concepts were all taught in the same way and students did poorly on them, that might indicate that the type of lesson is ineffective for the particular class.

A second kind of assessment for an educator considers the teacher’s performance rather than the students’. This assessment can come in the form of another teacher observing and giving feedback or in the use of certain CATs designed to give students an opportunity to raise questions or concerns about the class. This can be useful for alerting the teacher to a problem long before it becomes critical (Brookfield, 2006).

Some of the problems can be addressed, but others cannot and should not be. For example, every few weeks, I had students fill out an assessment of how they thought I was doing. There was an open ended question at the bottom where students could write me a note about one thing they wanted me to change. Requests to speak slower or read a different kind of book during the restroom break time were possible. Extending recess or doing away with all written assignments was not.


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