Friday, October 16, 2015

What's Important?

There are many thoughts, phrases and acronyms that educators utilize when talking about assessment data and student growth.  Simply measuring student learning and reviewing data does not increase learning… Good Instruction Increases Learning!  Data should inform our decisions; however, educators need to be careful, not to get hung up on chasing classroom/building data, but to focus on the following:

  • Building relationships that support a culture of learning
  • Motivating and creating a love for learning
  • Maximizing instructional time that includes many opportunities for descriptive feedback
  • Increasing student engagement, empowering to be lifelong learners

Rather than chasing data we should be focused on creating a culture of achievement, one where assessment data is used to gauge how to create lessons that maximize effectiveness of student engagement and learning.  Educators should utilize assessment strategies that are formative in nature; and that drive decision making, emphasizing flexibility and responsiveness to individuals during the learning process with descriptive feedback.  The most important informal assessment data educators should be looking at is student engagement and excitement for learning.  If educators are able to build positive relationships, maximize instructional time, and create a love for learning that motivates students to be cognitively engaged throughout the day while providing descriptive feedback then we should not need to worry about summative achievement data… they will achieve!

"You have to begin to weigh formative versus summative assessment." Rick Wormeli, author of Fair Isn't Always Equal and Differentiation, explains the difference between the two and how formative assessment helps you offer better feedback to your students. This clip is part of Rick's Fair Isn't Always Equal.

Please consider the following questions after watching the clip from Rick Wormeli:

  • How do I plan for formative and summative assessments within my day and school year?
  • What is the greatest impact on teaching and learning?
  • What should we include within formative assessments to make them most effective?
  • Can a summative assessment become a formative assessment?  
  • How do we give feedback to our students?

Thank you for always putting students first and not thinking they are a number, recognizing their individual needs!  Educators are the best!

Enjoy teaching and learning!


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the video clip. Both are very informative and will help me to grow as a teacher, improving my practice.

  2. Keith,
    Great post and wonderful points that we should be focusing on!! When we focus on those points, students succeed!