What to KNOW about Assessments

Clearly we need to assess our students. Evaluating their work is crucial, both for their benefit and for ours. We need to know that the methods we are using are producing the desired results. Assessing our students regularly and efficiently is key. But how much is too much? What is the most efficient way? Do we even really understand what our assessments are telling us? If you are like me, you ask these questions before, during and after every quiz or test. Here are 3 tips for successful assessments!

What Teachers Really Need To KNOW about assessments!

1. Know your students
Know not everyone tests well. Regardless of what they really have learned, some students just do not perform well on exams. Students suffering from anxiety, lack of sleep or food, are otherwise distracted may not shine on assessments. Consequently, their results will not reflect their true ability. Know your students and their strengths and weaknesses and keep this in mind as you prepare to evaluate them.

2. Know your assessments
If you are assessing reading comprehension with short written answers, then don’t have a field day correcting grammar with your red pen. Instead, look past mistakes in verb conjugation or noun-adjective agreement and focus on the content and meaning in the student’s response. Conversely, if you are evaluating verb conjugation then stick to the verbs. JUST the VERBS!

3. Know when they are ready
Use your formative assessments efficiently and regularly. Check for understanding within each class every 10-15 minutes or with each transition. This way you will catch students that are falling behind before the summative exam. Or you may find that the class is not ready for a summative assessment and that you need to make adjustments in your lesson plan or testing schedule.

Be flexible when it comes to assessing students.

Be willing to give students more time, differentiated instruction or an alternative means of demonstrating mastery. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to learning Spanish and if we want our students to develop a lifelong love of learning, we must assess accordingly! Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses yet leave them feeling strong and not weak. All in a day’s work, ¿no?