Assessments That Deliver Results

My nephew, who is in elementary school, suffers from anxiety. When he was in third grade, in the days leading up to the high-stakes state exam, his teacher told his class that what they were about to do was so important that even the President of the United States would check to see how they performed.

This fire and brimstone approach to assessment has been going on for too long.

Just a few months after No Child Left Behind was passed, the Sacramento Bee reported that “test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.”

Rather than allow students to fear exams, we should use assessments in no-stakes or low-stakes settings to build confidence and strengthen learning. It’s time for us to realize the importance of using assessments to combat the anxiety of assessments.

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The 80/20 Rule: Maximize Your Potential in Less Time

What makes the biggest difference in your teaching? If you hop online to the places where teachers hang out and ask that question, you will hear a bevy of answers. It only begets more questions. Is project-based learning the way to go? How about Genius Hour? Flipping the classroom? Inductive method? Constructivist approach? Teach Like a Pirate? Too many choices can be paralyzing, and the only thing a teacher knows for sure is how much they don’t know. There’s a simpler way. You don’t have to be everywhere and do everything to be a better teacher. You don’t have to spend every free moment chatting away on Twitter, reading blogs and going to every EdCamp within a 60-mile radius. You can preserve your most important resource — your time. You just have to follow the 80/20 rule. Read more