No Excuses University -- Assessment

Karen Darity

Share your perspective on Lopez’s quote and statement above. Describe how your mindset has changed or been validated.

Lopez’s statement referring to assessment being all about the students and not the teacher is correct. (Lopez, (2013) It certainly validates my conviction that traditional method of the teacher teaching and the student taking test was somewhat ineffective because it did not provide the students that did poorly on the test an opportunity to grasp the concepts before moving on to the next subject. This left the students at somewhat of a handicap moving forward and also labeled them as low achievers when a simple pre-assessment activity to demonstrate understanding or a question and answer session may have given the student the extra push they needed in comprehending the assignment. As stated in Newman (2013), the static nature of how they are often disconnected from the teaching and learning process is proven the old-style classroom.

The author also mention that high-stakes assessments provide information used to make decisions on a variety of issues: deciding which schools may receive rewards or penalties based on the results, and realtors and industries advertise by placing desirability on neighborhoods based on school test results. Although this is true, Newman asserts that most perceive that the single purpose for assessments is to measure performance of a student at a specific moment in time when it should be used as a tool to make decisions about future teaching strategies. When a teacher’s perception of what assessments are really supposed to accomplish is changed then the process will be changed and both the teaching process and the learning process can be rewarding.

Consider the 4 questions Lopez lists under “Defending our Assessment Practices” (p.98). How might you use these questions in your current or anticipated practice?

The 4 questions Lopez lists are:

  1. Why are you participating in the assessments that you use with students?
  2. Can you share in explicit detail the value that you find in each assessment?
  3. Do you participate in assessments that you find no value in for students?
  4. Are you using an assessment you have no idea how to deliver, but are afraid to ask for help with?

These are all valid questions that should be answered initially. Lopez (2013), states that teachers re not given the proper assessments and time, nor or they being held accountable to use data to drive instruction. He further asserts that as teachers we need to begin by asking ourselves these questions if we expect to construct an outstanding system for assessment. First and foremost I have to acknowledge that the assessments are all about the students. Therefore, when considering these questions I understand that as an instructor I am to first know what the assessments purpose is in order to help the students excel to their highest potentials. Student involvement should be included in order to determine exactly what each student needs otherwise assessment preparation is futile. As Lopez (2013) stated, if we can’t show how the students are involved there is no need to support its use.

What value might it add to your practice by keeping these questions in mind?

The value added by keeping these questions in mind is the inevitable successful students that will be confident in the knowledge that they have acquired, equipped to go out into an ever changing society, hit the ground running, and make a definite impact.

In what ways have you succeeded/failed to make students your partner in assessment?

I am not teaching yet but I do intend to make students my partner in assessment because their involvement inevitably leads to their achievement. I have learned that although it may not be easy, my reason for assessing students must be grounded in a commitment to use the data in a way that better benefits the students. (Lopez, 2013) I intent to apply these principles and hopefully, ultimately it will generate greater success for them.


Lopez, D. (2013). No Excuses University-How Six Exceptional Systems Are

Revolutionizig Our Schools. TurnAround Schools Publications.

Newman, R. (2013). Teaching and learning in the 21st century: Connecting the dots.

San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.