Assessment Tools

Results From the New SAT

The New SAT: What Students and Educators Can Expect

By Caitrin Blake June 22, 2016

High school students preparing to take the SAT will face a whole new landscape. In 2016, the College Board, maker of the SAT, rolled out some of the biggest content changes in the exam’s history. These revisions were designed to better reflect what high school students actually learn and the knowledge they’ll need in college,… Read More

Few things put parents and schools more at odds than standardized tests. Parents see the tests as pointless because they teach little more than how to take a standardized test. Yet schools know these tests can determine their ability to stay afloat: If students fail the test, the school could lose funding, get put on… Read More

There is a perplexing experience that plagues all teachers: After an excellent classroom experience where students seem solid in their understanding and application of content, they leave class, attempt homework, have no idea how to do it, and return the next day with wrong answers or empty papers. How do students lose knowledge the minute… Read More

Summer is a good time to talk about classroom practices worth reconsidering — the stuff we do mainly because of tradition or a perceived lack of better options. Of course there are many tried-and-true teaching choices, but we also do a lot of things more for convenience and familiarity, and less for how they help… Read More

Tips for Teachers in the Middle of Testing Season

By Brian Gatens March 2, 2015

Standardized testing has been a mainstay of the educational landscape for decades. Every spring teachers, students and administrators would set aside time to administer state-required tests on a variety of subjects, and then use the results the following year to assist students, measure school success and update the school’s overall approach to learning. This year… Read More

Why Some Schools are Rethinking Grading and Evaluation

By The Room 241 Team February 3, 2015

Most schools follow standard grading systems, with a letter scale of A through F, and a corresponding numerical value used to calculate students’ grade point averages. Although this system helps us to understand and track student performance on a universal scale, there are some drawbacks to the method. Some critics argue that assigning numerical or… Read More

Patrick Lencioni, the author of numerous business bestsellers including Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars, has said, “If everything is important then nothing is.” This applies to educational leadership as well, and nowhere more than in the area of monitoring achievement data. Defeat assessment ambiguity by identifying important achievement data With many states still transitioning from standardized… Read More

Rubric’s Cue: What's the Best Way to Grade Essays?

By Monica Fuglei November 12, 2014

Because teaching is filled with spirited debate about best practices, the passionate responses to the National Council of Teachers of English’s recent Facebook post asking how instructors feel about grading rubrics should be no surprise. Some teachers embrace rubrics as an incredible device for communicating instructor expectations and grading students’ written work. Critics complain that… Read More

Why ‘Big Data’ is Relevant to Classroom Teachers

By Brian Gatens October 9, 2014

Ever-more powerful computers are enabling a society-wide push toward the collection and analysis of all forms of data in every workplace — including classrooms. The result is the rising tide of “big data,” which means collecting facts from a large number of sources, analyzing them with advanced computer software and detecting patterns that can help… Read More

How Teachers Use Student Data to Improve Instruction

By Monica Fuglei July 2, 2014

Formal and informal assessments provide significant insight into students’ progress, curriculum effectiveness and teaching strategies. Although there has been recent parental pushback on overuse of standardized tests, the data collected from them does not drift off into the ether. One of the best ways to encourage parental and student buy-in for assessment is to explain… Read More

“You can’t help a cow grow by weighing it everyday” This quote jumps out at me when I think of how much testing happens in our schools today. That being said, the plain truth is that testing, in many different forms, is here to stay. The question is: What can we do to make our… Read More

Progressive education researcher and writer Alfie Kohn speaks often of children becoming disillusioned about school when they begin to feel that education is something being done “to” them, rather than “with” them. While the many ways children can be included in classroom activities, school functions and other aspects of their education is well-covered territory, I… Read More

How Teachers Can Ease the Stress of Performance Reviews

By Brian Gatens April 24, 2014

Over the past decade or so, the world of a teacher has changed dramatically. A new set of standards has been introduced, standardized testing has become increasingly interwoven into instructional decisions and teacher evaluations have become more rigorous and completed more often. The stakes have gotten higher for everybody involved. I have no desire to… Read More

How to Make Sure Teacher Evaluations Succeed

By Brian Gatens April 10, 2014

Three significant shifts in American education over the past five years have generated substantial pressure on school administrators to improve the effectiveness of their performance reviews: Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards. More states basing teacher evaluations in part on standardized test scores. Wider use of in-depth observation to measure teachers’ classroom performance…. Read More

Intuitively, it makes sense for teachers to continue their education beyond their bachelor’s degree and earn a master’s degree or higher. But does it add up logically? We looked at the latest research on the subject and found a master’s degree benefits not only a teacher’s paycheck and job prospects, but it also improves their… Read More