Popular culture often presents school assessment in the narrowest possible fashion. Based on what we see in films and television, it would seem that assessment in schools is restricted to a narrow range of tests: How often do we watch students in fictional classes being told they have a pop quiz tomorrow or see them practicing fill-in-the-bubble SAT questions?
This might be a stereotype of teacher practice, but it speaks to a deeper issue that teachers face: It can be difficult to see the full range of options open to us when we’re trying to find the best way to assess our students.
Testing itself represents just one small subset of assessment practice, but it’s a good example of the broader problem. There are a lot of different ways to use tests to assess your students, but in the hubbub of a busy classroom, it’s easy to default to the same one or two test types and use them in the same old way.
The best way to avoid this trap is having some alternative testing strategies in your toolkit to widen your options.