What Makes a Good Assessment?

Assessments should cover what is taught and address important learning goals. Thomas Guskey reflects today on what makes a good assessment. He also shares the four kinds of data that are most valuable to teachers in year-end assessment. This is a must listen for any educator working with assessment.what-makes-a-good-assessment

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Thomas shares the problems with many of today's assessments. You'll rethink how you look at assessments and data after listening to this thought-provoking show.

Thank you, Fresh Grade, Today's sponsor

[callout]This episode is sponsored by Fresh Grade. They have a free tool that lets you create student portfolios. These portfolios can include video, sound, various kinds of media, text and more. You can even include student and parent comments! Use Fresh Grade for your student portfolios. Take time to test out Fresh Grade. It’s free for parents, students, and teachers.

If you go to Fresh Grade’s site, you’ll also get a bonus episode with Todd Finley about “The Biggest Mistake Teachers Make When Giving Their End of the Year Grade.” [/callout]

Show Notes:

  • How should we measure assessments to make sure they are good and fair?
  • How are states assessing rigor between schools? What do teachers need to do in this case?
  • Why are tests that are a “surprise” to teachers are unfair to both teachers and kids?
  • What is an “instructionally insensitive” test (like the SAT or ACT)? How should teachers and principals should consider an instructionally insensitive test?
  • What are the keys to effective assessment?
  • What are the four kinds of data that are valuable to teachers in year-end assessment?
  • What is the best use of year-end assessment data?
  • What are two ways to use preassessment as you start the school year? Is preassessment fair? How should we re-think preassessment?
  • Why should we consider assessing prerequisites instead of preassessment?
  • Why should we consider giving year-end test data to the next year's teacher? What are the obstacles that keep us from doing this now?

Who is Thomas Guskey?

Thomas Guskey is Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. His research focuses on on professional development and teacher change, program evaluation, assessment of student learning, grading and reporting, instructional effectiveness, and educational reform. @tguskey

He recorded a previous show, Fair Grades, Dropping Grades, Grading Versus Knowledge, that is one of our most popular of 2016.

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[callout]Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. The sponsor does not influence or endorse the content of the show. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”[/callout]

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

keisha Evans July 15, 2016 - 4:04 pm

I agree we have to test our students on what they have learned in the class. We have to start teaching for the students. I did like the list of questions that were posted to this article: Why are tests that are a “surprise” to teachers are unfair to both teachers and kids? And this question is asked all the time in different times through the year.


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere