1. Domenic Scuglia

    Hey George. Sadly I missed your talk to our LEADS members last week in Saskatoon. I had a board meeting back in Regina. I am still trying to work with my colleagues in Regina for the best venue for you to come and speak to our educators. I will be in touch.
    I would like some clarification on this post with your terminology. In my circle we have always used ‘assessment for learning’ as diagnostic. In other words we diagnose our students to see where the gaps lie and then provide the learning to address the gaps. ‘Assessment as learning’ has always been referred to as formative assessment using the definition you provided. Your post is excellent, I just thing that some of your terms may confuse some.

    • George

      Good to hear from you, Domenic. I am sure we will cross paths soon!

      Here is my definition of the three so hopefully it helps.

      Assessment OF learning is the summative piece. What do students know at the end of the process.

      Assessment FOR learning is the ongoing process that helps students along the way. One of the strategies I have seen being used for this is teachers giving feedback on assignments without any marks so that students will actually do something with the feedback.

      Assessment AS learning is using assessment as part of the process of learning. How our students show their learning should not always be decided by the teacher, and that process has some very valuable learning along the way.

      Just my interpretation but I hope that helps to clarify my thinking.

  2. Learning doesn’t end with assessment, and assessment as learning takes this into account. The difficult part is making this fit into a curriculum.

    • sajeda

      Agree, though I feel it is already into it… the curriculum… within a lesson there are points of time, where we used to pause to ‘check for understanding’, only that traditionally it was just the rhetorically generic question “Have you all understood” or “any question”. NOW instead of this, we could put in place a refined and more thought out questioning step to find out the learners thinking and concept or misconceptualization of the ideas in the lesson topic being taught. If more than 10% of learners do not get it, then this would mean the teacher would need to re-teach that part through another organisational set up i.e. with smaller focus group activity with new examples (all preplanned as alternatives and back up activities)

  3. Andrea

    I completely agree with the fact that all students are different and a variety of tests should be available to students. I do feel that we already test so frequently that it takes time away from actual teaching. I would love to use the assessment AS learning approach more in my classroom. Students do learn while teaching others.

  4. GaryB

    One of the benefits of the ‘as, of and for’ approach is the removal of point in time high stakes assessments(the test) which often signified the end of that topic and the start of the next 3/4/5 week module. Using standards and strands which span subjects there is continual monitoring of progress and reporting on achievement standards. rather tha the grading which previously had so much emphasis. longer projects and interdisciplinary overlap encourage STEM integration with literacy and performance presentations. A long way to go yet. We have been working on standards based approach for ‘only’ 12 years
    VicCurriculum standards are equivalent to NSW standards and derivative of Australian Educational standards..

  5. Roger Henson

    George, I have seen learners making a Stop Motion video to demonstrate their understanding of Mitosis. What struck me when I spoke with the learners is that the process of making the video as assessment is how they really learned Mitosis. This was assessment as learning. The assessment task lead to new learning. I wonder if we need more focus on this manner of learning/assessment activity?

  6. George, your post supports my thinking around assessments, but I am often challenged with the question of “how do I get a grade?” If we are leading students down the assessment AS learning path, how do I support my teachers who move towards assessment AS learning from their traditional peers with a different mindset? Is it true that we could use assessment OF learning as a reflective piece for our teachers to measure their effectiveness of teaching students towards mastery of a concept?
    Which comes first, instilling the process of how we assess, or the moving the belief behind assessments?

  7. KarenL

    Great post, very thought provoking! I am curious what your thoughts are on using common rubrics as common assessments. The common rubrics, assuming they are standards based, would ensure students are meeting standards and provide discussion for teachers in PLCs. However, they would also allow flexibility for teachers and students in how the skills are presented. For instance a rubric might include a “citing evidence” section. That could be accomplished in writing, video, poster, etc.

  8. Michael W

    Assessing a common project rather than using a common standard pencil/paper assessment (or digital version of the same thing) opens a door to “assessment as learning” in my experience.
    I’ve found that (re)teaching my 4th gr students *how* to assess their own projects must be part of the assessment process every time I ask them to use a rubric or checklist for self-assessment.
    I start the how-to with, “Think like a teacher.” and break it down from there. The payoff through student ownership of the project and process is huge.

    I’ve rewritten this post 3 times (a bit shorter now!) It’s been a great reflective exercise in how I’d like assessment to work vs how I’ve implemented it recently and the assessments are not as authentic as they could be. Time is a major factor in implementing “assessment as learning” for me. I see much of the learning occurring when I give my students time to improve their projects based on feedback from peers or myself before I assess their projects. Implementing “assessment as learning” requires mindful planning because of the time it takes to wend our way through the process. ~K-4 tech integrationist

  9. […] We will have to look at our assessment practices as educators, and understand, that there is so much more to learning than could be summarized in a letter or a grade.  When we focus, both as educators and learners, too much on the “number,” we often lose sight of our strengths and where we need to grow. Learners will need to be able to evaluate their own progress if they are going to truly focus on the process of learning. […]

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