Ownership of Assessment Brings ‘Joyful Learning’

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

To the Editor:

Both Alfie Kohn ("Feel-Bad Education," Commentary, Sept. 15, 2004) and Massachusetts Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll ("Mass. Schools Chief Offers ‘Feel-Bad Education’ Cure," Letters, Oct. 27, 2004) hit the nail on the head, but failed to drive it home. The “cure” for “feel-bad education” is primarily dependent upon two key factors: (1) a national focus on the strengths of our teachers, and (2) continuous use of data, by teachers, to inform daily instruction.

The role of the teacher has been buried under a pile of political mandates. Consequently, the use of assessment data, including informal measures and teacher observation, has been lost under a stack of testing manuals and raw scores. No wonder so many classrooms lack joy! If we want feel-good education, we must shift the focus to our best way of reaching all kids: the teacher. When we build on the strengths of each and every educator, we increase the strengths within our students. Joyful teachers produce joyful learners who create joyful classrooms!

The focus for professional development around this country must move toward reflection and application of assessment data if we expect teachers to hit the bull’s eye when it comes to instructional decisions. With this shift in thinking, teachers will move toward greater acceptance and ownership of assessment as a means of improving their teaching. Without ownership, assessment is unfortunately perceived as a top-down mandate. The pressure of standards-based testing is definitely great, but also necessary. The “joy of learning” is disappearing, but equally necessary. The time has come for each and every educational leader to focus on our corps of educators. Yes, we need to hold the line on standards and accountability, but the joy of learning lies squarely in the hands of teachers. Seek to create a “joy of learning” by creating a “joy of teaching.”

Academic success is a huge wall to scale for many children around this great country of ours, but the will is more important than the skill, when it comes to scaling a wall. Creating a “will” to teach and a “willingness” to use assessment results are the keys to restoring the joy that has been lost in our classrooms.

Connie R. Hebert
National Literacy Consultant
Lesley University
Cambridge, Mass.
New York, N.Y.

Vol. 24, Issue 13, Page 40

Published in Print: November 24, 2004, as Ownership of Assessment Brings ‘Joyful Learning’

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >