Assessment through conversation

Something I have realized that too often teachers have focused on product. The grade comes at the end of the process. To me, the product is only the final step. There needs to be assessment all the way through. I talk a lot with my students. I read everything they write through out the whole process. I also take a lot of anecdotal notes from conversations and observations. I had one teacher who was shocked and told me that they don’t grade conversations. This is when I realized that education needs to change. You can’t see progress if you only look at product. Being the kind of person who often struggled to produce amazing products but could explain my learning if someone asked me, I see the value in the conversations I have and the notes that I take. Product still plays a part but I have to stress that it is only one part. So much goes in to that product and so much happens behind the scene, I can’t ignore it. That is not fair to my students. This is my educational mind shift. Assessment must reflect the whole process and there must be multiple opportunities to show what you know the best way they can. Conversation at the very least should supplement product. You can’t “grade” a conversation in a traditional way but you can see what they understand and where they are heading and what they need to get there.

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