Teaching the Test

In college, one of my courses used:

Assessment of Student Achievement (9th Edition)
by Norman E. Gronlund, C. Keith Waugh

In this book, the authors suggested that you create your summative assessment first, and then build your unit based on your goals or an assessment matrix of goals and outcomes. That’s teaching to the test -right?

Well, they claimed the organizing of the test first helps you to focus on precisely what you are trying to teach. One valid point is you are less likely to teach something that will not be on the test. Therefore, you will become more efficient.

I use this method, and I have to admit it forces me to think about goals, standards, taxonomies, formative and summative assessments, performances and methods of instruction.

It’s like building a house. I would not attempt to build a house without a detailed blueprint. I cannot say, “I need some walls, floors, doors and a roof.” I need to have a detailed blueprint to consider my materials, codes, construction practices, labor, time and money involved. Only then can I consider wall color, flooring options and interior design.

However, I don’t want a kit either. What if I build on a hill? What if the kit violates the local codes? Teaching is similar. I wouldn’t say, “Here are my 6 HSCE’s I have to cover this unit.” I really have to think about what I need my students to learn and how they will learn it. At the same time, I wouldn’t want to teach only the test.

An assessment matrix is a good start-an outline to your final assessment.

This is only one way to help our students. This way works for me. If you
have any other ways, please share.

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