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What tips and strategies do you have for keeping students at the center of assessment?  Please add your comments below!

Keeping Students at the Center of Assessment
NCTE INBOX 10-2-13

As midterms and the end of the grading period loom, many educators are thinking more about assessments and grades. While the focus seems to be on computing the grades in the gradebook right now, there are better ways to figure out how well students are learning and succeeding in class. We know teachers need ways to closely examine student work to identify patterns that inform future instruction. This should be done without limiting the conversation to grading and how to manage the paperload. As educators, we need to improve our feedback, linking it to instruction that purposefully allows for and supports application. The following resources from NCTE and can help to start these conversations.

Effective differentiation begins with purposeful assessment. In the strategy guide "Making the Reading Process Visible through Performance Assessment," you'll learn how to construct an authentic performance-based reading assessment that will give you access to students' thinking before, during, and after reading. Dig deeper into this topic in Beyond Standardized Truth: Improving Teaching and Learning through Inquiry-Based Reading Assessment.

In "A Formative Assessment System for Writing Improvement," Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher assert that the time teachers spend providing feedback could better be used to focus on formative assessment systems. They provide an error analysis sheet and share its role in a fully functioning formative assessment system.

Traci Gardner's Designing Writing Assignments offers practical tips and starting points to help secondary and college teachers design effective writing assignments. In the sample chapter, Gardner shares writing assignments that have an alternative audience -- not just the teacher as the reader.

"Using Grading and Assessment to Maximize the Online Writing Course Experience -- without Burning Out," a Web seminar recording, offers a pedagogical and philosophical approach to reasonable evaluation while providing specific assignments, grading strategies, and rubrics.

The collection of essays found in Alternatives to Grading Student Writing offers several innovative options for introducing grading alternatives in classrooms, schools, and districts. See the sample chapter, "Grading on Merit and Achievement: Where Quality Meets Quantity."

In "Differentiated Assessment and Grading: Fair Isn't Always Equal," Rick Wormelli takes up the conversation on feedback and grading in a very candid and practical manner, arguing for new ways of thinking about what a grade should communicate, and how. 

Jeanette Jones Miller builds on Wormelli's work in "A Better Grading System: Standards-Based, Student-Centered Assessment."

2013 NCTE Annual ConventionJoin us at NCTE's Annual Convention for assessment sessions, including "Kidwatching in a Digital World," "Claiming the Future of Literacy: De-Testing and De-Grading Our Classrooms," and "(Re)Inventing Assessment: Increasing Rigor and Engagement with Socratic Seminars."



Talk About It!What tips and strategies do you have for keeping students at the center of assessment? Add your comments below.



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