Brain-Friendly Assessments: What They Are And How To Use Them

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David A Sousa

  • Brain-Friendly Assessments
  • Brain-Friendly Assessments
    Bestselling author David Souza shows how to increase learning with effectively designed assessments based on neuroscience.


2015
ISBN: 9781941112212

Increase learning with effectively designed assessments based on neuroscience.

Assessment and testing serve distinctly different purposes in education. Whereas testing gives teachers a snapshot of what each student knows at a given moment, assessment provides a way to continually monitor student progress and give feedback and support to increase learning.

Brain-Friendly Assessments: What They Are and How to Use Them guides teachers on this journey as they work to determine what, whom, where, and how to assess. Bestselling author David A. Sousa empowers teachers with valuable research findings from educational neuroscience as he describes critical factors to consider when designing and selecting assessment techniques to accurately gauge how well students learn and retain information.

In this book, Sousa explores clear, practical, effective ways to:

  • Develop and administer assessments that are in the best interest of students
  • Design brain-friendly assessments to deepen students' understanding
  • Fairly assess all students, including English-language learners and those who are home schooled

Effectively designed assessments help improve student performance as well as qualities that standardised test scores alone cannot measure, such as creativity, curiosity, higher-order thinking, and collaboration. Brain-Friendly Assessments will help teachers impart these critical skills and traits to students to consistently foster long-term academic success.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

About the Author ix

1. Introduction 1

  • What Is Brain-Friendly Assessment? 1
  • The Current Status of Tests and Assessments 2
  • Assessment and Testing Are Not the Same 2
  • Attitudes toward Testing 4
  • Teacher Attitudes 4
  • Parent Attitudes 5
  • Administrator Attitudes 6
  • Do High-Stakes Tests Improve Student Achievement? 7
  • Will Change Occur? 9
  • If We Are Stuck with It, Let's Improve It 9
  • Don't Forget the Serenity Prayer 10
  • How this Book Can Help 10
  • Chapter Contents 11
  • Note about Effect Size 11

2. Why, Who, and What We Assess 13

  • Major Purposes of Assessment 13
  • Student Growth 14
  • Teacher Effectiveness 15
  • Matching Instruction with Curriculum 16
  • School Climate and Dropouts 16
  • Matching Assessments to Student Abilities 18
  • Students with Special Needs 19
  • English Language Learners 20
  • What Should We Assess? 20
  • Memory Systems 21
  • Stages of Memory 21
  • Types of Memory 24
  • Beware the Working Memory Gambit 26
  • Criteria for Long-Term Storage 27
  • Bloom's Revised Taxonomy 29
  • Beyond Bloom's Taxonomy 30
  • Assessing for Achievement 31
  • Assessing for Performance 32
  • Assessing for Proficiency 32
  • The Influence of Mindsets 32
  • Types of Mindsets 33
  • Should We Assess Mindsets? 34

3. Designing and Using Preassessments and Formative Assessments 35

  • Types of Assessments 36
  • Preassessments 37
  • Formative Assessment 42

4. Designing and Using Summative Assessments 65

  • Types of Summative Assessments 66
  • Rubrics 68
  • Characteristics of Quality Summative Assessments 69
  • Grading and Summative Assessments 72
  • What Do Grades Accomplish? 76
  • Assessing English Language Learners (ELLS) 77

5. Considering When and Where to Assess 79

  • When We Assess Can Matter 79
  • Assessments during the Day 80
  • Assessments and High-Stakes Tests during the School Year 83
  • Assessments during the Summer 84
  • Where We Assess Can Matter 86

6. Putting it All Together 89

  • Making Brain-Friendly Assessments Possible 91
  • Assessing Students' Performance 91

Conclusion 97

Glossary 99

References 103

Index 109