Assessment is where I am feeling the least free within the structure we have in our district. Our mandated reading and math assessments are so comprehensive and numerous that to create new, performance based assessments would be counterproductive to student learning.
However, my teammates and I enjoying working within the science and social studies curricula to design assessments that challenge students and allow them to demonstrate their learning in unique ways. Students write poetry about the water cycle, design science posters that highlight land and water forms, assume the identity of an historical figure for a Wax Museum and work in teams to create bridges with straws, pins and masking tape to connect a given distance, just to name a few activities. These activities build student confidence, creativity and problem solving and just as importantly, do the same for their teachers.
Designing these assessments with your peers gives you a chance to see where your colleagues’ hidden strengths and talents lie. It pushes you use new strategies and techniques and can give you a fresh perspective on a tired unit. I would love this type of freedom and flexibility to pursue more of this kind of assessment development in literacy and numeracy.