I spent much of my time this summer reading and thinking about the relationship between assessment and student achievement. It was part of my doctoral studies and the assignment helped me become more familiar with educational research and academic writing. My takeaways from a month of research are as follows:
- Formative assessment and feedback are so important to student learning. We do not help teachers enough with these skills. Frequent, specific, interactive feedback between student and teacher during the learning process improves student achievement. Leaders inside education and the public, focus more on summative assessment because it is documented and easier to see results. I want our faculty to be talking more about better ways to provide feedback to students.
- I am really interested in “value-added” statistics of teachers. This is the idea that the effect of a teacher on a group of students can be isolated from other factors and can be measured through standardized tests. I think a simple way to improve education is to get smarter people to become teachers, however, with such low salaries and status in my countries, including my own of America, it is a challenge to get the best university students to go into education. You can also recognize and reward current great teachers, and retrain and support or counsel out of teaching, underperforming teachers. Combined with classroom observations, a value-added number can help leaders identify people who need help.
- It was fascinating reading the research of the assessment for accountability movement in the USA. Holding teachers and principals responsible for their students lack of growth, has had a big impact on the morale of faculty. The data shows growth in mathematics for students close to the proficiency level or underachieving students and no improvement in reading levels. A broader range of assessments and more support for families is the direction schools should be going.
Below you can read my review of the current literature. =