>Assessments in the Classroom


Frequent Assessments in the Classroom
I am a total convert … I use frequent assessments & I love them!
When I first considered the idea, I thought, “Wow … from the outside this seems like a good deal of paper & pencil work!” … In recognition of this I make “doubly sure” to adopt a balanced student & teacher directed approach to learning. I  adopt collaborative learning, cooperative learning, discovery-based learning, engaged learning, problem-based learning, strategies etc. … whatever I can grab!
Two examples of frequent assessments in my classroom are as follows:

1) MATH:  

My Grade 5 students have a “Math Pop Quiz” book …

Every Friday at 9A.M. they write a “Pop Quiz”. 
(Well, it’s not “really” a “Pop Quiz”, as they know that it’s coming!!!)
The quizzes are cumulative, and questions are based on concepts that we have addressed up to “that point” in the school year. Students do not study for these Pop Quizzes. Individual performance is a reflection of what they know/understand in the moment!

Every Friday I will post for example eleven questions on the Smartboard:

• 2 place value questions
• 2 addition with decimals & regrouping questions
• 2 subtraction with decimals & borrowing questions
• 2 multiplication with decimals questions
• 2 long division questions
• 1 problem-solving question
It typically takes my students 20 mins. to write their quizzes. Once they are done students move freely to various centres that have been set up in the classroom, and play a variety of math games. The best part is (believe it or not!) that they love math on Fridays!
Students take their Pop Quiz books home every Friday to be corrected and signed by mum and dad. I love this “routine” as it provides me with a really concrete running record of both students’ skills development and the effectiveness(?) of my teaching strategies.
BONUS: Every week parents have a snapshot of what’s been taking place in the classroom. I also share these Pop Quiz books with parents during interviews/conferences, and with my supervisors. They are just one more “means” of explaining what I am seeing in the classroom!

Twice a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays) at 9A.M. I place a reading comprehension “test” on students’ desks. These activities can be completed in about 20 minutes. Short & sweet! 
I make certain that activities focus on one specific skill at a time, e.g. summarizing information, identifying the main idea, sequence of events, making inferences, making predictions, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting information, character, story elements, point of view, author’s purpose, etc. 
At any rate, what I end up with over a very short period of time is a “running” assessment of various reading skills. 
These short activities provide me with additional, concrete materials to add my collection of assessments (e.g. to day-to-day observations, tests and quizzes, rubrics, rating scales, project work, portfolios, student self-assessments, etc.).

BONUS: I show these assessments to parents during interviews/conferences as yet one more “means” of explaining what I am seeing in the classroom!

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