Assessments. Whether they are formative or summative, cumulative, or sporadic, they are the foundation of education. They are the tools that teachers use in order to determine if a student has achieved their goals. It is the ultimate way to delegate to a student a response in which they can ultimately view their achievements.
They can be in many different forms. A lab can be an assessment, a worksheet, a crossword puzzle, or even the tried and true method of assessment, the test. They guide our grades. They guide students in the direction we want them to go, or at least that is the goal.
One issue that many educators have is what to do with these assessments. Some teachers look at them, input them into a grading program on the computer on a sheet of paper, and then forget about them until it is time to tally a final grade or progress report. This is not the intention of a test.
There is often a sense of finality to a test, which is the most common form of assessment. It is given at the end of a unit, a semester, or even a class as a whole. It is a turning point in a class which stands for the changing of the tide. Moving on into a new unit. Often times it needs to actually be a U-turn back into instruction.
When giving an assessment, a teacher must look for particular things. They must have a goal in mind. Most of the time the goal is to assess a students ability to recall or apply the information they were just given into various situations. Their ability to use their stored information into these situations determines their grade. Teachers need to look at it in another way.
When a teacher uses the assessment information to judge themselves and not the students, the true mark of progress can begin. A teacher must be able to look at the data and see where their failings might have been. Maybe a part of the lesson was overshadowed. Maybe it was missed. Maybe the kids just did not get it or it did not sink in. Whatever the reason, this is a time to re-teach the lesson. A teacher must go back and see what parts of the lesson need to be redone. this way the kids can expect to receive all the information about a particular unit.
In the end a teacher needs to recognize how a student learns, identify where the original lesson might have had gaps in it that caused the poor performance on the assessment, and change their lesson to adapt to the weaknesses.
Finally when re-teaching, make sure to chunk the information. Do not do the entire lesson again, but only the parts that need to be addressed.