UDL and ASSESSMENTS
Can "one size fits all" become "all sizes can be fit"
Assessment in a first/second grade class
I have been frustrated with some of our district science assessments that have students do an inquiry project - which they do beautifully and then have to document it with three pages of questions and writing which doesn't reflect what they actually did during the inquiry but reflects what they can spell and write! We have unit spelling assessments, which test students on words practiced in a particular unit and translate into a mark on the report card. Whether students spell words correctly in their daily work does not factor into either the teaching or the testing - if you are following the program. With both of these assessments I think about the supports students normally get as they learn - working with a partner, having someone identify misspelled words for them to correct and talking about what they notice and realize those supports are not present for the assessments. If science assessments included videos and discussion of inquiries, photos of results and interviews with students instead of pages of questions, the actual learning students gained would be much more evident than in the paper and pencil document. If spelling assessments focused on the student work that showed evidence of incorporating the skills taught in spelling in the daily work rather than a spelling test instruction could be more targeted to what students need instead of what comes next in the lesson book.
In a classroom where I have access to only one computer most of the time and one iPad I need to think about how to make sure all students access assessments that will best show their learning. Scribing, reading to them, giving them options to draw, build and act out their learnings are all possibilities of ways to design assessments that go beyond a "one size fits all" approach.