Triangulating Feedback

We can gripe all we want about the state of assessment, but it is my opinion that we take what we have (while still making a concerted effort to change what is wrong) and make it work. We are going through two days of eMints training (you can see our resource page here) which entails a buffet of concepts that range from coaching strategies to developing essential questions.

There was a quick mention yesterday of triangulating our assessment that caught my attention. I did a little searching through my blogroll and found this thought from Mike Muir that he jotted down as a result of attending a presentation by Jim Moulton (both involved in the Maine 1:1 implementation).

Assessment: Assessment for learning & Assessment of learning. Assessment of learning is the test - do you know it or not? But where the learning takes place is assessment for learning. The course corrections we make along the way.

We say the word assessment, and everyone flinches today. But it is foundational to remember the proven fact that feedback and assessment are key to our student’s success. Does that mean high stakes testing? No! But why not take traditional tests and build them into a triangle of assessment in our classrooms? (after all, teachers are all but forced to ‘embrace’ these tests). Putting the traditional test aside, it would be interesting to see a classroom teacher that would commit to establishing three (3) different assessment components for each ‘learning set’ that takes place in their classroom (a learning set would include a variety of standards and objectives). Pieces of this triangle could include:

  • Rubric based assessing
  • Peer assessing
  • Quick feedback (blackboard is a great tool for this)
  • Portfolio collections
  • …and the list goes on. The concept that stands out, however, is forming a more solid foundation of assessment and feedback in our classrooms. It just makes sense to me that providing three (3) forms of feedback to any given instructional set would only make the learning and assessing of the learning more valid.

    Yes, this is a basic, foundational concept. But too often we focus on the negatives of assessment and how to teach in a 1:1 environment without looking at our systems of feedback within the classroom. The key, from my POV, is to broaden the base and to incorporate more forms of feedback not just throughout the year, but to add to the foundation within each instructional set.

    Are we really assessing where the learning takes place? Or do we stick with one standard set of feedback tools, used independently of each other? Maybe we’re just stuck on the highway…

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