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Schools Nationwide Use Alternatives to Standardized Test Assessments

Schools Nationwide Use Alternatives to Standardized Test Assessments

In schools around the country, teachers are turning away from using standardized tests to evaluate their students and using other methods of assessment.

Teachers are finding new ways to measure a student's academic excellence, said an article on DistrictAdministration.com, and are using "stealth assessments," student presentations, integrating assessments daily, and student roundtables.

"The problem is traditional standardized paper-and-pencil tests measure a very narrow slice of what we want students to know and be able to do,” said Dan French, executive director of the Center for Collaborative Education. Over-testing can also cause harm by cutting into valuable time for students to "create projects, be creative, read, and engage with each other," said Mark Barnes, educator and author of Assessment 3.0: How to Throw Out Your Grade Book and Revolutionize Learning.

"Instead of quizzes and tests that interrupt classroom activity, many districts and testing companies are working on ways to integrate formative assessments into daily instruction and use technology to gather real-time feedback on student progress,” the article said. One of the methods teachers use is “stealth assessing,” involving the use of educational video games that collect data during a student’s playtime. This is a model that is growing in popularity in schools nationwide, the article said, combining “standardized tests with performance and project-based assessments.”

Another method used at Danville Independent Schools in Kentucky uses roundtables and presentations that function “much like college thesis defenses.”

“Younger students participate in roundtable presentations in core subjects, and perform individual project defenses starting in 7th grade,” the article said. “The presentations are judged by a panel of teachers who guide students through a series of tasks and questions before grading their performances using a pre-determined rubric. In science and math, for example, teachers grade students on eight performance indicators, such as problem-solving, reasoning and experimental design.”

Teacher Hannah Chaney has seen an increase in student engagement with presentation-based assessment.

Teachers and students are working harder than they were before, but they are more excited and invested in school. If I am going to teach to a test, I want to teach you something that is going to get you ready for life.

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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