No Excuses University -- Assessment

Samantha Cook

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

I agree with Lopez. Before reading the chapter I would say that that assessments were meant to pacify administration so that they know progress is being made however it makes sense that teachers must use the data collected for the student’s future success (Lopez, 2013). If data is not used to make changes to better the learning process then what is the point?

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

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

In my profession we are constantly using new tools and assessments to justify the needs of the students. Some are mandated by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities but others are up to the discretion of the individual county. I think that the four questions from Lopez could be used to help make decision on what assessments have value in our profession. If we do not feel they are valuable we should share not only our thoughts and feelings to those who can make decisions on is being used but also to provide alternatives that we think would work. It is so frustrating to be instructed to perform an assessment that we could do in a different way; sometimes a way that gets more accurate results or is less stressful for the individual being assessed.

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

When assessing the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in my profession we sometimes have to ask uncomfortable questions about their personal abilities or their lives. We are doing this so that we can help provide those services to them; not so that we can judge them for what they can or cannot do. When administering assessments I preface the conversation by assuring the individual that everyone is different and will have different answers. Also that the information collected will be kept private while describing what the information will be used for. Lastly, I perform the assessment in a way that normalizes the questions and don’t react in a negative way to any of the answers given.


Lopez, D. (2013). No excuses university: How six exceptional systems are revolutionizing our schools (2nd ed.). Turnaround Schools Publications.