Posted on May 23, 2016
Throughout most of this year, I've spent a great deal of time sharing the importance of rethinking the traditional practice of tests, quizzes and exams as a way for students to demonstrate what they've learned. After spending years watching students trudging through endless hours of memorizing mounds of information that would be quickly forgotten once these tests, quizzes or exams had passed, it became clear, that this method of assessing learning was the remnant of a broken and dysfunctional system. What if, instead of walking the traditional path of memorization, we decided to offer students a way to discover and learn information that is relevant to them? In the process, what if we gave them an opportunity to communicate and apply their knowledge in and out of the classroom?
Throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, many of our middle school faculty members abandoned the traditional testing framework by providing students with multiple opportunities to make their learning visible. Rather than demanding that students learn irrelevant information from outdated textbooks, the faculty provides an immersive learning experience, where the measurement of learning is not based on a test or exam. Instead, students are expected to communicate what they've learned by means of a presentation, project or final product.
After spending the past week walking through classrooms and observing the richness of learning as communicated through student voices, it is clear that when students are given an opportunity to demonstrate and apply their knowledge, the process of learning is much more meaningful.