Quizzing For Learning vs. Quizzing To Get A Grade

I was talking to a colleague about an assessment idea I had. The scenario began “if I were a math teacher…,” but really, this idea applies to anyone who gives quizzes. Many teachers I observe who assess like this usually hang out at their desk while students take the quiz. Sometimes it’s timed. Sometimes there are “after the quiz…” instructions on the board. In the literature, this is called an obtrusive assessment, with class on pause, sometimes the entire time.

So, if I were to ever assess like that, instead of hanging out at my desk, I’d start circulating the room, stopping at each student to point out a quiz item they should review (e.g., “Ja’den, spend more time on #3”). And I’d do this the entire time, just walking around, essentially doing all the correcting I would’ve done during my planning period, and even providing some feedback. It’s kind of like a more involved individualized Monitor Assessment. My colleague was wondering how this “real-time rolling assessment” would really show what students know and can do. We talked a bit. Questions were asked like “with so much scaffolding, how do we know the student can do anything on their own?” The truth is, they might not, but how is that any different? In fact, during that whole discussion I forgot to consider what the “real-time rolling assessment” was being compared to. That is, how is a give quiz/collect/correct/hand back procedure any different, really, for finding out what a student knows or can do?

It comes down to process.

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