Before they start the assessment, students write a performance goal on the back of their test. In order to scaffold student development in self-regulating their learning, I work with them to set goals for each assessment. These goals are performance goals, not outcome goals. Although they should have a desired outcome, the goals students write should be based on what they will do to meet that outcome. The difference is meaning. One is a grade, the other is knowledge and understanding.
Students need support in writing attainable goals that also hold them to high expectations. An assessment is a great time to write a goal, because they can reflect on how well they stuck with the goal when they get the results back. Feedback can help students adjust goals as needed.
Topic Assessments are taken from the textbook and administered across the grade level at the same time. These assessments combine multiple choice and short answer questions as well as skill based and problem solving questions. There are 17 problems on this topic test.
Each problem has multiple steps, therefore, the test can take a significant amount of time. To help keep the assessment reasonable, I have students solve "must do" questions first, then go back and solve other questions on the test. I have increased the number of "must do" questions to increase student stamina as we approach Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) testing. The reason why I ask students to complete the Must Do's first is because I am focused on quality on quantity. As students work through these problems, they face fatigue and increased error. Must Do's include problems that reflect all content tested.
Each assessment is returned to the students with an attached cover sheet. This communicates the CCSS that are targeted on the assessment, as well as the students' progress toward meeting these standards. Assessments are treated like mini progress reports to document that snapshot in time. At report card time, students are scored 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. A "4" is an area of competence and a "5" is an area of excellence. Since the assessments are only one piece of evidence, the most a student can earn is a "3". A "3" signifies an area of progress. Report card grades are based on class work, assessments, and daily application.