Assessments

  • In all of my courses I use assessments(quizzes and tests) as a measure of student learning.  My goal is to provide students, and myself, with a fair and accurate measurement of how well they are grasping the content that we are exploring in class.

    How will I, as a parent, know when a quiz or test will happen?  Be sure to check the Assignments Calendar portion of the website.  In almost every case I will place a scheduled assessment on this calendar. 

    How much time are students given to prepare for assessments?  This can vary, but I generally give about two days notice for a smaller quiz and three or more days notice for a larger test.  There are sometimes situations in which I will announce a small quiz for the next day but this is rare.  I NEVER give pop quizzes- I personally do not think they are a valid academic tool; the only possible surprise quiz would be a situation where a student did not listen to me when I announced it and the 'surprise' is self-inflicted.

    How will my child know what is on the assessment?  I will always specify exactly which handouts are fair game for a quiz or test- the students will never have to guess or gamble!  Also, only items in students notes or identified readings are covered on a quiz- it has to be in writing; I will never quiz students on something I just happened to mention orally that they do not have written down in their materials.

    How long will it take for my child to get their results?  The bottom line is, the larger the assessment, the more time it takes me to grade them.  Small quizzes are generally returned with a grade within 1-2 days while tests can take longer(especially those with prose/written responses).  I try to be as prompt as possible with grading, but as accurate assessment of student performance is important, I can only rush so much of course. 

    How do I know how my child did on their quiz or test?  Well, you can ask them to see their paper or check Parent Portal(contact Assistant Principal Jennifer Marren if you need an account) where I post all grades electronically.  If you see ""orig.score=#" in the comment section, it means your child chose to retake all or part of the assessment and this comment lists their original grade before it was revised).

    Can my child retake a quiz/test that they did poorly on?  Yes.  In each different course that I teach I allow for retakes of assessments(or targeted sections of assessments in some classes).  Each course has its own policy specified on the "Rule for Retakes" handout given to students at the beginning of the year.   Please keep in mind that retakes are never simply a retake of the original question set, but will usually involve different questions or even a different format.   

    What if I think you(Mr. Smith) made an error in grading an assessment?  Mistakes do happen though I am careful to avoid them.  If I made a mistake and your child deserves credit for a question this will be fixed a.s.a.p.  If I make an error in a student's favor(a question that they answered incorrectly was marked correct), they keep the points. 

    What if my child misses an assessment due to an absence?  If it is a legal absence(illness, etc.) I will place their quiz/test in the testing center; they should plan to take it the day that they return if they miss one day of school.  If they have a long term absence I may choose to skip that item and count a future grade in its place(so they can catch up more quickly).  If a student misses an assessment due to an illegal absence they receive a grade of 0 in keeping with school policy. 

    How hard are your quizzes and tests?  I promise fairness of my assessments.  If I say "Notes A, B, & C" will be on the quiz then that is exactly what will appear on the assessment- therefore the level of difficulty is completely determined by how much time students invest in preparation.  Of course with large units there can be much information for students to retain so they are inherently more challenging but I try to offset this by (A)giving many days advance notice and (B)doing 1-2 days of in class review. 

    How can I(as a parent) help my child prepare for a quiz/test?  I suggest that you use your child's notes or review materials and query them about the information.  Help them discover any items with their knowledge is not as strong as other portions of their notes and get them to focus on those pieces.  As most of my notes are fill-in-the-blank style handouts, you can read them a line and ask them to supply the missing words.  Blank versions of my Global 9 notes are available on my website.