Rules of Thumb: Assessment


Rules of Thumb is a series in which we share best practices for JumpRope and standards-based grading in general. Jesse taught for five years and has helped dozens of schools and thousands of teachers implement standards-based grading, but knows very well that these aren't one-size-fits-all. Take a look, and let us know in the comments if you agree or have other related suggestions!

Over the last five years as JumpRope has grown, I've had the opportunity to speak personally with hundreds of educators about how they use JumpRope and other systems to organize their curriculum and give feedback to students. As you might imagine, there are a wide variety of philosophies and strategies that schools and teachers bring. Despite the rich variety, there are some best practices that have emerged as good guidelines and common elements of successful implementations of standards-based grading. In this series, I'll share these with you in short tidbits along with some reasoning behind them. I'd love any feedback or other ideas that you may have, and certainly don't believe each tip to be perfect or complete!

Rule of Thumb 3: Assess at least three times

Standards should be assessed more than once, preferably three or more times. If you aren't giving students multiple opportunities to demonstrate mastery, then your mastery-based gradebook is not "actionable" and you are simply telling students how they have done after the fact with no opportunity to improve or show growth. That's not the point!

Rule of Thumb 4: Rich Assessments

When you look at your planning tool, most of your assessments should be aligned to more than one standard. This encourages high-quality assessments that connect more than one learning goal such that students understand and can apply skills in real-world scenarios instead of just in isolation. Furthermore, it encourages you as a teacher to look more deeply at assignments/assessments for evidence of what students know on particular goals, analyzing the work at a deeper level than simply dividing the number correct by the number possible.

Check out our other blog posts and Help Section where you can find lots of informative tips and articles around the topic of assessment.

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