Category Archives: assessment


We teachers learn early on that exams should reflect what students have learned. They should attempt to measure what was taught, to capture student understanding in a way that helps drive future instruction. But lately, I’ve been asking myself, what if … Continue reading

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I don’t give a damn about points.

I check homework daily for completion at the beginning of each class. This serves two purposes for me: To ensure that they’re doing it. In other words, to give them points. To meaningfully assess their level of understanding on the mathematics involved and … Continue reading

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On the purpose of exams

Teachers: think of a recent class exam you administered. What purpose did it serve? In many educational circles, class exams are thought of as assessments that teachers use to measure student learning. It’s an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their … Continue reading

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Checkpoints and homework, circa 2016

Here’s my current structure for exams checkpoints and homework. Everything is a work in progress. Checkpoints First off, terminology. Formally known as exams, I now call these summative assessments ‘checkpoints’ to further establish a low-stakes classroom culture. It feels much … Continue reading

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A teacher’s dilemma: taking risks beyond the elimination answer choice C

We ask teachers to embrace change, and the pressure on teachers is not to take risks but to march whatever children they can, lockstep, toward higher standardized test scores. – Robert P Moses, Radical Equations (p. 126) Thanks to a recent … Continue reading

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