Stealth Assessment, Authentic Tests

I tested really bad in high school. Some people just do. College wasn’t so bad because I kissed the Blarney Stone during an adventurous year I took off between freshman and sophmore year. yeah, the gift of gab definiely helps in academia. (oh, wash your mouth out afterwards, the locals at the pub enjoy peeing on it after a good night of drinking!) As a teacher I confront the challenges of testing (assessment) students who claim they don’t test very well either. I believe them.  I have a technique that works great–stealth assessment: testing after the fact, or better put, telling the students they have been tested after the fact. For me I don’t want a student to cram or prepare for a test. I want the everyday, authentic, deep demonstration of their competency.  “Oh, by the way, that last event, that was your mid term.” What good is assessment if what you assess vaporizes after a week?  I want to see the knowledge demonstrated day after day. I want consistency, mastery in the everyday. This is the best proof–the pudding, what comes of it, the product, so to speak. Then let them reflect upon the event (test) and they can’t tell me they don’t test well. With so much emphasis on testing and assessment these days, we forget about what assimilation of knowledge (action) looks like. We have to quantify everything and then compare, compete. Stealth assessment takes the pressure off. Be cool all the time, then under pressure you are confident. It’s obvious in the results. You can’t cheat. What you see is what you get. We have a saying in theater: ‘you are only as good as your last show.’  It cuts both ways, but inspires you to go on. No humiliation. Much like self assessment–you are your harshest critic. I always ask students what they think they deserve for a grade– you can tell right away, and usually they are much harder graders than I am. Well, I don’t believe in grades anyway–I want to see growth, confidence, the assimilation of knowledge.

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