#57 – The Role of Assessment in Accelerating Learning

Unpacking Education September 15, 2021 35 min

This year, you may know less about what happened in the previous school year. As you start to build relationships with students, it’s important to ask questions about what they did learn—framing it as a desire to be a more effective teacher.

Join us this week as we meet Tina Y. Gourd, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Tina shares her experience, both as a professor of curriculum and instruction as well as a middle school teacher in Seattle for almost a decade, to help us unpack the power of assessment as students return to the classroom in the fall. She helps us reframe assessment by looking at it through the lens of teacher agency in rearticulating education and nurturing social change to positively impact students’ educational experience.

Assessment isn’t just about the feedback that teachers give to students; it’s also about the feedback that students provide to teachers on how they are learning. This student feedback aids teachers in understanding how to help develop students from where they are at.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
STEM Facilitator and Digital Learning Specialist
Dr. Winston Benjamin
Social Studies and English Language Arts Facilitator

The first fundamental principle of effective classroom feedback is that feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor.

Dylan Wiliam, author of Embedded Formative Assessment

Assessment to Improve Teacher Effectiveness

How do we begin to reframe assessment so that it is not viewed as punitive? In this week’s episode, we explore assessment as a way for teachers to become more effective in their practice and learn what students know and where they need to grow to expand their thinking and improve their skills. Join us to begin reframing the assessment experience so that it is not perceived as a “gotcha,” and instead, it becomes a tool to help teachers better understand their students’ needs.

At the beginning of the school year, ask your students this simple question: What are you proud of? Most students will have a ready response to this asset-based question. Their answers can provide you with an entry point to engage them in their learning experience. As you get to know your students, consider exploring assessment through these three lenses:

  • Assessment of learning
  • Assessment for learning
  • Assessment as learning

To delve deeper into the power of assessment in learning, the team explores the questions below with Tina:

  • How do you think the use of the term learning loss might impact how teachers view assessments when we return in the fall?
  • How can teachers use assessment in a more asset-based framework, instead of a deficit mindset, concerning student experiences during COVID and beyond?
  • How can this idea of agency support teachers in creating a space to accelerate learning?
  • In your role as an instructor at the College of Education’s Secondary Teacher Education Program at the University of Washington, how are you engaging with equity and assessment?