Back 2 School: Assessment

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Welcome back to the Back 2 School linky hosted by Mrs. D’s Corner and Miss V’s Busy Bees. Last week, we talked about classroom management and I read some great ideas from other bloggers. I can’t wait to read what others have to say about assessment.

Assessment is crucial in the classroom. We are constantly assessing our students, even when they don’t realize it.

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Tip #1:TAKE A DEEP BREATH and RELAX!!
Sometimes assessing can be very overwhelming. Sometimes you want to pull your hair out.

Does this look familiar?? I know it does! This is me at times at school.
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I know it gets crazy. You have State assessments, City assessments, and District assessments. Let’s not forget about whatever assessments your principal decides you “need” to complete and your own, meaningful assessments. You know what I mean. As a teacher, you have your own assessments that mean more and give you more data than any of the other assessments. Remember that you know your students best!

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Tip #2: Make sure that your assessments are meaningful to both your students and yourself.
Your activities, quizzes, tests, writing assignments…whatever you are using to assess your students, should be based on what you have taught. Your students should know what to expect and know what they have to do. We are not “out to get” our students. We don’t want to catch them not knowing things.

Give meaning assessments that are useful to drive your instruction.
You need to use your assessments to inform your instruction. How you ask? Use a checklist or a spreadsheet to record your data. I have checklists and spreadsheets for everything.

We use GoMath in my school. In the beginning of every unit, I create a checklist that includes the lessons and the Quick check for each lesson. This checklist tells me which of my students grasped the concept and who did not. It also helps me to group my students.

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I also use spreadsheets to record data from tests. (I know technically an end of the unit test is called an evaluation…but whateva!!)
Here is a picture of one of my spreadsheets for my end of unit tests in math. I love to color code my data too. Sorry I’m such a nerd. 🙂
I have all of the questions on the test, the skill, and the common core standard. It takes a little while to do, but it is so worth it.

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Tip number 3: Not all of your assessments need to be formal assessments.
Observations are key in your classroom. You spend more time with your students than anyone else does, including some of their parents. You observe your students all day long. You see Suzy’s strengths or what Johnny struggles with. Just remember to jot down your observations. You can use checklists or boxes to record your observations. Check off on a checklist if the child has mastered a skill or a standard.

As I listen to my students read, I check off their oral reading behaviors. This helps me know how to better help my students. I also make small groups off of this data.

Click the picture below to grab the Oral Reading Behaviors Checklist. Again, it is color coded but I also include a black and white version for you non nerdy people. 🙂
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Tip #4: Reflecting on your teaching.
After analyzing your data, you need to reflect on your teaching. Did most of the class grasp the concept or did only a few? By analyzing your data, you can see what you need to reteach or if you need to move on to the next topic.

Use this data to drive your instruction. If you need to reteach a skill or concept because many of the students misunderstood something, then DO NOT MOVE ON. Go back and reteach the topic, using a different approach. The same thing goes if most of your students understand a concept. If 80% of your students know how to add two digit numbers, then why are you going to spend more time on adding two digit numbers. Not only is it boring for you, it is also boring for your kids and I’m sorry to say it, but a waste of time.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Tell me how you use assessment in your class?
Remember to go back to Mrs. D’s Corner to read what others have to say about assessment.
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