#SOL16: Assessment Matters

Thank you #TWTBlog Authors for this series last week, “Assessment Strengthens Writers”. Last night’s Twitter Chat was simply amazing and if you weren’t there, you can check out the storified version here.

The questions that vaulted us into the twittersphere were:

TWT Assessment chat 11.8.16.jpg

But this morning, I’m stuck on “How do I use assessment to strengthen my own writing?” 

And every one of those questions MATTER!

  1. What assessment tools and strategies do I use?
  2. How do I deep track of my progress on assessments?
  3. How do I use on-demand writing to inform my progress?
  4. How do I collaborate with colleagues on my assessments?
  5. How do I communicate my growth to myself?
  6. How do I see my growth in writing over time?
  7. Where does self-assessment fit into the life of a writing teacher?

Much has been written about the need for writing teachers to write.  October 20 was #WhyIWrite.

What has been written about the need for writing teachers to self-assess and to work collaboratively with others in order to grow their own skills? Today this space is dedicated to thinking about how best to continue to “Walk the Talk” and to grow and strengthen my own writing.

If one of my claims is that . . .”My writing improves as my volume of writing grows.”

How will I measure that?

How DO I measure that?

I have some work to do in order to answer these questions.

How will you “Strengthen Your Writing”?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

 

 

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12 responses

  1. Oh man. this is a good question. Last night I thought of you and your blogging. I thought of how you self-reflect and push yourself to be better. And I thought how your writing is growing because of it. Your narrative slices (that you say don’t come easily) are some your best! I’m also thinking this is the reason for a critique group. (An Idea I’m struggling with.)

    1. Julieanne,
      So much in your responses. I learned everything about self-reflection from you. Your honesty and candor is my mentor work. I know my writing is growing. Should I be able to quantify it? If yes, what would/should that be? I love collaborative work but YET there is more than a bit of fear in trusting a collaborative or critique group. Maybe with defined roles???

      1. Ah. And so much in your thoughts. We unknowingly collaborate in this space. The learning is the hurdle that can be fear-filled. What if I fall and it hurts worries stop us. Yet, there is so much to learn in this work as writers and teachers of writing. That possibility helps… That and knowing dear friends are by our side.

      2. We have conversations when we aren’t in the same state or space. We have conversations as we imagine what our writer friends would say. We have conversations as we wonder WHILE writing what our writer friends will say.

        All those things/reasons that students struggle with are a part of our writerly lives as well! We have to KEEP writing MORE and always thinking as well. See you soon!

  2. Wow, glad I am reading this wonderful conversation, Fran and Julieanne. I’ve watched so many students through the years, and tried hard to read their work, and then mine, with huge focus. Sometimes what I’ve learned and then done feels good, and sometimes it’s a struggle to make a piece work. Now that I’m retired and do not read students’ pieces, I do rely on reading slices and other blog posts to see how they’re writing. And like I’m sure both of you do, I read, read, read books and articles and short stories. . . Hoping that my noticings help. Careful reflection as you both do is key, right? Thanks for the great post, Fran.

    1. Linda,
      So much to think about ALL the time! So much to read, write, practice AND think about ALL the time! Careful reflection is the key! Not waiting for a “perfect” answer and continuing to be a bit “messy” also seems to help!

      You are so welcome! Glad you joined this conversation!

  3. I don’t know, Fran. I sometimes think that we, specifically me, are afraid of self-assessment because we might find our work lacking. But yet, how can we grow as writers and help our students grow as well if we don’t critically look at our own work?

    1. Self-assessment varies. It’s sometimes easy to say “Oh, that’s not very good!” in preparation for comments, or perhaps to soften the blow. Your question is crucial: “How can we grow as writers and help our students grow as well if we don’t critically look at our own work?” THANKS!

  4. Such good questions and something I never really considered. It raises a good point though. If we want our students to grow as writers from the feedback and assessment we provide, shouldn’t we expect the same from ourselves? Hmmmm…..food for thought.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. That was one of those “truths” that hit me early this morning. It totally took me in a different direction. I was going to write about formative and summative (AKA Smarter Balanced Assessments), but that sure changed! LOL

  5. These are hard questions, Fran. The support and encouragement I get from this community definitely keeps me writing, and, as you point out, “My writing improves as my volume of writing grows.” Beyond that, I do find myself noticing tired sentence constructions and overused words more than I ever used to. My critique group has also been a huge factor in my growth as a writer. Maybe it’s not just one factor and they probably can’t be teased out. Now I’m wondering how this all plays out in the classroom, where schedule limitations so often prevent us from giving kids the time they need to develop their writing identities. So much to ponder!

    1. Catherine,
      There are days when I am my worst critic. However, there are other days when my writing is published still in draft form. I’ve decided that is OK. There just isn’t enough time to polish everything!

      One thing I do appreciate more and more every day – perfect work is so NOT the goal. Perfect writing would prevent any newspaper from every being published. Perfect writing would be so boring. Perfect writing would be so RISK – FREE. Perfect writing would not necessarily show growth, challenge a writer, or remotely be about provocative ideas. Not.for.me!!!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Writing IS complicated!

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