Saturday, November 8, 2014

Teaching By Due Date: Data Vs. Students!

I am tired of receiving emails that ask me to attend meetings prepared with the data of the Formative Assessment of the Week.
Performance Task of the Month.
Benchmark Entries, common assessments, you get what I'm saying.

I am being asked to teach by due date.
Teach by pacing guide.
Teach by whenever an assessment needs to be entered so that we can look at the data and decide how we're going to group our students, teach our students, etc...

It's supposed to be a good thing.
It can be a good thing.

But, in the reality of classroom living, it's not quite working out that way.

If I stuck to the schedule imposed on me, school would be an endless flow of assessments, One after the other, providing data on information that has not really been taught. How can you teach efficiently when you have to make sure that countless formative assessments are completed by a specific date?

Our poor kids.:(

The other day, Scholastic offered a webcast with Usher who talked about the importance of reading. My kids have a performance task that needs to be completed, and graded, the data posted on a chart.

We watched Usher. My students tweeted his important points. They listened to students in NY ask him enlightening questions. They were encouraged by his thoughts and anecdotes of how he became successful. And they sang along with him when he sang "Without You" ,at the end of the webcast. I have no data to provide for this event.Sorry.

Is data bad? No
Formative assessments? No, I use them in my classroom, and they provide information that guides instruction.

But when a due date for data is constantly imposed, assessing becomes the norm and teaching and learning are secondary.

 photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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