Thursday, April 28, 2011

How do we assess how our kids are doing?

Here is an excerpt from this interview with Alfie Kohn:

How do we assess how our kids are doing?

Well first of all, at the level of an individual parent and child, if your kid is coming home chattering excitedly about stuff that he or she figured out that day - or if a group of kids are still arguing about a topic after class is over - or if kids not only can read but come home from school wanting to read because they haven't destroyed the kids desire to figure stuff out, which is done in a number of different ways, those are very powerful first order signs of success without reducing it to numbers.

Secondly, there is a whole literature on what educators call authentic assessment and about which your Governor (Wisconsin), our President and Bill Gates and most writers on education know absolutely nothing that really offers ways of having students exhibit their mastery - not only a bunch o' facts that they've crammed into short-term memory but their capacity to do things with the knowledge, to use skills of inquiry and there are many ways by which that can be integrated into the teaching itself so that while the teacher is helping kids to understand ideas from the inside out, the teacher is also able to get a sense of which kid needs help with what and later share that with parents. And none of that ever requires a test.

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