Assessments can support, not just measure, student learning

HECHINGERREPORT | Assessments have a bad rap in schools. Tests stress students out; they can be high-stakes for schools and teachers. But the word assessment describes vastly different things. Yes, the nail-biting, end-of-year exam is an assessment. But so is the couple-questions quiz a teacher

Designed properly, tests can build student skills and offer the feedback they need

gives at the end of a lesson to get a sense of how many students understood it. These lower-stakes assessments happen all the time in the classroom and they’re vital for student performance. Assessments create feedback for teachers and students alike, and the high value of feedback – particularly timely feedback – is well-documented by learning scientists. It’s useful to know you’re doing something wrong right after you do it.