I have been reading a lot of books on classroom assessment and evaluation lately.
When it comes to informal assessment techniques, it is utterly shocking how many resemble student engagement techniques. In many cases, they are the exact same technique. One minute papers, exit cards, think-pair-share are just a few techniques that are both good for assessment and engagement.
I guess this begs the question–what came first? I think it’s engagement. Engagement binds all facets of the learning process. If you don’t have engagement, it is hard to have motivated learners. And it’s hard to have motivated learners if they cannot see the value in learning or their progress. Without assessment, you have learning in the blind. Without progress, it’s hard to have direction. And without direction, it is hard to improve.
Engagement is at the centre of learning. As educators we need to be committed to engagement. But engagement also asks the learner to put themselves at the centre of their learning. We can help them get there, but at the end of the day, only the learner can take the necessary steps to be engaged.
To be committed to learner centric engagement, it’s not enough to only address the way we teach things or the content we select. It also means we need to include learners in the assessment process. This is probably why many assessment techniques resemble engagement techniques.