Parents share their views

Are formal assessments important? Why or why not?

Both sets of parents feel that assessments are important. The parent of a student who is in regular education feels that some teachers are too lenient with their assessments. I had to find out what they meant by that and their response was that some teachers will allow students to use books or notes and they don't feel this is necessary. The other parent I talked to has two students one in regular and one in special education. She agrees that assessment is very important, but thinks it is necessary to find out what they can do rather than how many facts they can memorize.

Do assessments reflect student learning accurately? Why or why not?

The parents differed in their answers to this question. The first parent thought that all assessments show what a student has learned because it allows them to show what they have learned. She did state that projects and presentations give teachers a better picture of what students know. The second parent said she does not feel that assessments accurately show what her children know. She said that her special education student tends to get more on edge when she knows that she is being assessed and her regular education student gets nervous when he has a test. She felt that these anxieties could impair the performance of her children on assessments.

How can formal assessments be improved?

Both parents agree on this topic. They feel that assessments that are project based allow students to really show what they have learned. It also allows them to be creative and incorporate all of the skills they have gained in other classes. The parent of the special education student said that project based assessment is the only real assessment tool that they use with her daughter because they get no accurate findings from regular formal assessments.

Do you feel that a different method would better assess your student's achievement? If so, describe this assessment method?

As previously stated both parents think project based assessments allow students to better show what they have learned. The parent with only a regular education student said that showing all facets of the project: planning, research, presentation, and product would allow teachers a much more complete idea of what their students can really do. She thought that it would be hard for all parties involved in the beginning but as it was used students would show their learning in a much better way and teachers would really know what their students strengths and weaknesses are.