Discussion 1

No Excuses University -- Assessment

Initial post: In Chapter 8, Lopez sends a resounding message: “Assessment is not about you as a teacher; it is about your students” (p.97). He goes on to say that, our reason for assessing students should be grounded in our commitment to use the information collected in a way that helps us generate greater success for our students.

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

I believe in Lopez’s quote and I use assessments not only to guide my instruction but also to write my IEP’s. In my IEP’s and progress reports I have to be able to show improvement and I can only do that if I know what my students strengths are and what they need more work on. I also use data and assessments to find out what my students know so I can plan better lessons. I feel like his quote validates what I have been doing and will continue to do in the future.

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?

I would use these questions to help guide the assessments I create. I have to understand the purpose of the assessments in order to make my students more successful. Although I do not feel the assessments we do to meet state requirements for my students make sense (ALT/MSA). Most of the other assessments we do benefit our students. The values of the assessments we do are that they guide instruction, they help guide our IEP’s, and they help us monitor progress for each quarter as well as each unit or lesson. As I said above, I find the state assessments of no use with my special education students. They have nothing to do with life skills and they are just very “dumbed down” versions of the original tests given to every student. I do not feel this information is important for my students in their future lives. Finally, I am not currently using an assessment that I have no idea how to deliver but the state is planning to use a new one next year that we have not been trained on.

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

The value that this will add to my practice is that if I keep these questions in mind when I am using an assessment I will gear it towards finding what my students needs and not just testing with no purpose. Assessing students is only important if it helps us learn more about what will make them successful. In my school, we use the concept of data-driven instruction (Lopez, 2013) because we want our students to learn and this is an important way to find out what they are retaining (which for special needs children is much harder than the average child).

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

I guess I would have to say I have failed because my students are so low that I do not involve them in the assessment process. I do make my assessments with their best interest at heart. I will have to look for more ways to include my students in the assessment process.


Lopez, D. (2013). No Excuses University-How Six Exceptional Sytems Are Revolutionizing Our Schools. TurnAround Schools Publications.