assessment

This is a tbc/placeholder because I am really behind on sleep. I’ve been meaning to write about assessment in school settings. Oh boy I have so many thoughts and feels about this topic.

It’s on my mind today because of a great conversation I had with Quetzal’s math teacher today. Q has missed a bunch of school and continues to be out a few afternoons a week which is when they have math.

They don’t have to make up all the work, but that’s tricky in math because it’s cumulative. Without going into all the details, the teacher was of the same mind that it’s more important to focus on big picture mastery than individual assignments right now. The final is in about two weeks. We know what chapters will be covered.  So long as Quetzal submits some  evidence that they are studying, they won’t be penalized for missing routine assignments. They do, however, need to show they know the material by passing the exam.

This level of individualized flexibility (redundant?) is not easy for a teacher juggling 7 classes and over 100 students. The work we ask teachers to do is super human, as we were reminded again by the massacre in Texas.

But putting logistics and work load aside for a moment…. what do grades really reflect? Behavior? Work ethic? Mastery of content? Mastery of specific modalities for showing mastery? (Example: written communication is valued more than oral.)

If a kid can pass an exam, should they have to do the assignments leading up to it? Do we ask kids to do work for the sake of doing work?

I take a meandering middle path on this one. I haven’t shaken the belief that doing work for the sake of doing work has value. Builds stamina. Can deepen understanding. Passes the time.

I just think we should be clear to students (and ourselves) as to what we are measuring and why.

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