Assessment

N.J. District to Test for the Tests

By Bryan Toporek — August 25, 2010 1 min read

The Lodi School District in New Jersey will soon have teachers testing students with formative assessments in the middle of instructional units, to allow teachers to focus on problem spots before moving onto new material, according to NorthJersey.com.

“As we’re going along with the lesson, we can really gear our instruction on how the students are learning,” Lodi Superintendent Frank Quatrone said.

Teachers will spend time during professional development days learning how to administer the mid-unit tests, along with best practices for reshaping their curriculum based on the assessment results.

The assessments aren’t just limited to a traditional quiz or test format; teachers can assign short oral reports, PowerPoint presentations, and dioramas if they’re looking for creative assessment opportunities.

“As educational leaders, we have to look at how they’re going to drive what we want our students to learn and how to motivate them instead of just saying, ‘Maybe you’ll do better next time,’” Washington School Principal Emil Carafa said.

In theory, this idea sounds great. But in practice, I’m left to wonder, how is this idea radically different than a teacher giving a quiz a week or two before a test? Don’t teachers take those quiz results into account while they’re planning their lessons?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.