Time to Make Lemonade!

Time to Make Lemonade!

It’s been said that when life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Well, it appears that we’ve been gifted a very large shipment of lemons.

I’m not pretending that things are fine, because they’re not. If any have ever doubted our connection to a worldwide community, there is no question at all anymore.

And I’m not suggesting that we ignore the inconvenience and suffering that this pandemic is causing, because it is real.

At the same time, it can be empowering to find places where we can influence the lives of our students and their families for good. Take assessment for example. In the new normal of distance education and distance assessment, how can we make assessment live up to Rick Stiggins’ powerful vision?

        We need assessment that will… 

  • Encourage, not discourage
  • Build confidence, not anxiety
  • Bring hope, not hopelessness
  • Offer success, not frustration
  • Trigger smiles, not tears

If we consider that assessment is essentially the process of gathering evidence of student learning, we have an opportunity right now to revisit this question:

         How much evidence do you really need to tell you that <insert the name of your student here>             understands/can demonstrate <insert the learning outcome here>?

Perhaps not as much as we might have previously thought. Our carefully thought out assessment plans that we submitted in September won’t work in this new reality. What if we could use this time as an opportunity to move away from a focus on grades to a focus on learning?  Perhaps this truly can be a ‘less is more’ moment for student assessment.

Over the next few days, our AAC team will provide a series of helpful suggestions for teachers to consider as they adapt their regular assessment routines for our new reality.  We encourage you to take the opportunity to try some of those new formative assessment techniques that sounded great in the workshop but might not have been tried in the classroom. Now that we all have a new ‘classroom’, how can we adapt these techniques for online learning and assessment?  

Please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Slow down, and look for signs of spring. We can all use a bit of light and hope right now.  

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