In response to the 11/2/2010 post, “Question What You Do,” a reader writes: Assessments are to determine what needs the students may have. It is always great to have an assessment. But to use the assessment to determine if a teacher is doing a good job or not could be why that school district is conducting so many assessments. If that is the purpose, then the question becomes are the results of those assessments true? There are a lot of variables that impact student assessments. Variables that are not well managed in most campus assessment programs. What is wrong with just using the state assessment? I wonder why they are testing so much? SC Response First, in the case of the two campuses I was writing about, they are very poor (low SES) campuses that compete toe-to-toe with schools that are considerably more affluent. They are constantly looking for information that better informs them on student performance. My point was that sometimes that search leads to superstitious behavior. With instructional time representing a mission critical resource, I am loath to use it frivolously. Second, the best use of an assessment is to determine which instructional practices are more effective and which practices are least effective. While I do not advocate using short-term assessments to rate teachers, I have been, and remain, crystal clear on my position that if assessments do not highlight the effect of adult practice, then we are merely shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Third, I really don’t worry about the common assessment testing environment. I fact, if it is my classroom, I want to keep the atmosphere somewhat relaxed. I want to communicate to my students that I taught them the material and they worked hard to master the material so the work is already done. I’m not worried because all they have left do is to let the world know that they have arrived by completing the task we had been preparing for. Finally, we have to realize that if we are only using the state assessment to determine our level of success, we have waited to late. The common assessments let us make small adjustments to our practice and quickly gauge the results at regular intervals throughout the year. The longer you go without monitoring and adjustment, the greater the risk of completely losing your way. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

Menu