Assessment motivated learning?


As a culminating activity to a unit on Australian poetry, I have my students writing a paraphrase of a pslam.  It’s not an easy task as it requires a high degree of analysis and interpretation but it’s a great activity and I try to publish a book of their work.

Today I had one of the students ask if the writing was being assessed.

Internally, I saw red!  Seriously… have we come to this, that students are only focused on assessment?

Externally, I threw a few curly questions around the class to generate some discussion and thought… Why do you need to know? What difference does it make?  Would you do different work according to the answer I gave you?

You know the sort of thing.

Interestingly, I actually had kids who were saying that, yes, they would work harder if they knew it was being done for assessment.  One actually said that, for a piece of assessment, they would stay up to midnight to finish it, but not if it didn’t count.


I have no idea if I made an impact but I trust my students (at the very least) heard me say that assessment is not the most important thing in life and that giving their best in all things is the best way to demonstrate personal integrity.


“The road to creativity is littered with failures and assumptions that didn’t work — unless you learn to make assumptions you can never truly become innovative and creative. It’s an essential skill…  Perhaps, just as importantly, unless we rethink our approaches to assessment, our assessment will fail to indicate who is going to succeed in life and who is not.”                      Prof Eric Mazur


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