Learning Focus

October 2020: Assessment & Distance Learning

The Assessment Challenge

As a result of the pandemic, educators have faced many challenges. From a human perspective, getting to know your students as people, when distance, masks, and screens separate us can be difficult. In terms of academics, getting to know your students as learners, when data from the end of year is challenging to find and interpret, makes the job all the more taxing. Despite these challenges, seeing your resiliency and ingenuity makes me feel confident that we can find a way to connect with kids and move them forward academically! In order to make this year a success, we must see assessment as an essential tool for helping us understand what our students know and where we should go next.

With instructional time at a premium, we need to identify key learning standards, prioritize curriculum, and work collectively to engage students with adaptive assignments that provide practice and push new learning. Part of teaching and learning this year will require us to consider the role assessment plays in learning. As we work together, so that no student is held back from grade-level work, let us lean on the quality of our craft and our ability to understand and respond to our students’ needs. Using our time together, we must focus on ways to revisit prerequisite skills in the context of instruction and think about how assessment can be used strategically to move learning forward.

For example, as we utilize well-designed assignments and activities to assess the critical skills needed to be successful on the next unit, using real time data from informal assessments will be vital. This data will help us determine which adjustments will need to be made in the moment to help move the students closer to mastery. This will be particularly critical as we assess students during remote learning.

The topic of this month's Learning Focus is Assessment & Distance Learning. Hopefully, the information and links held within this little publication will provide you meet the assessment challenge!

Until next time, keep on learning! –Mike

Measuring Student Progress with Google Classroom Rubrics

For decades, rubrics have been a staple for measuring student growth by showing where a student falls skill-wise against any preestablished criteria for success. They can be customized to fit any assignment and are required for any assessment looking to measure multiple criteria. When designed properly, rubrics provide accurate feedback and allow students to see their relative strengths and weaknesses as learners.

Thanks to a new feature by Google, rubrics are now able to be built right into your Google Classroom assignments! When creating an assignment, teachers can create an accompanying rubric that outlines the expecations for the task. Like all classic rubric, teachers can create levels, fill in criteria and descriptions, and designate points for each performance level. Additionally, after a rubric is created for one assignment, it can be reused in others.

Before teaching and learning even begins, students will be able to see the rubric for the assignment and know what the learning targets are. Once the teacher grades the assignment using the rubric, students will see a simple view and explanation of their score right on their assignment. Putting the assignment and its corresponding rubric in the same place provides clarity for the students and helps the teacher give the timely, specific, and targeted feedback needed to move learning forward.

Want to learn more about Google Classroom Rubrics? Visit Google’s support page on rubrics. Give it a try today!