Have we got lost in the assessment and is it time for the teachers to recapture their origins?
The word "judge" derives from the Latin assidere, which means "beside". To judge means to sit next to the learner. "(Stefanakis 2002)
Master assessment in the classroom
Not many teachers will be able to explain the etymological meaning of the word "evaluation". Many teachers learn that the score is either summative or formative. It then takes years for them to understand how both aspects manifest themselves in their lessons. This will then vary considerably between age groups and disciplines, evolving due to time constraints and the demands of the external audience.
To sit alone
The opposite of "sitting next to a student" destroys most classrooms across England. Hundreds of years later, teachers now give numbers, grades, and grades. Teachers now sit "alone" in their classrooms, marking books and entering data to upload to a management information system, or carrying their students' books from the classroom at home to the kitchen table to sit alone and judge the work. We were clearly lost.
Sitting next to it
I wonder if it's time for the teachers to sit next to the students instead of sitting alone. My research at 7 public schools in England has shown that this is possible and does not adversely affect student outcomes. Traditionally, the written assessment in its everyday form (to sit alone) is no longer the top dog! One of the participating teacher researchers said:
"Participating in the Verbal Feedback Project has not only changed my life and career, but also the experiences of my students. I feel empowered to respond to students and to know that verbal feedback (along the way) is enough to drive their progress forward. My work-life balance has improved immeasurably and I now spend more time with my family. I feel no longer burdened by the job and put pressure on.
Download the verbal feedback report and toolkit.
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