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Alex Burrall

TED 467
Reading Reflection 2 What a Difference a Word Makes
Rick Stiggins and Jan Chappus provide a compelling argument for the nationwide
implementation of assessments for learning across all schools. Assessments for learning are a
new way to assess student learning that involves both teachers and students. Although students
are the ones taking the assessments, they can be active agents in the assessment of their own
learning. Students can play a role in instructional decision making and develop a precise
knowledge of how well they are learning through data tracking. But it requires teachers to
change traditional practices and get students more involved in the decision making of instruction
and in the discussion of assessments. It is unfortunate that there is a new, more effective way to
assess students but that it is not being put into practice in schools. Why cant schools use time
during the summer vacation to hold workshops where teachers can learn these new methods?
Stiggins and Chappus mention that one way to help students perform stronger on
assessments is to show them the difference between weak and strong work ahead of time. I
found this to be very important as a reader because this is a simple tactic that every teacher can
use to show students exactly what they do and do not want. This is a great strategy for me to
apply to paragraph writing in my classes. Many students do not understand how to write a fluid
paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details with transition words or phrases, and a
conclusion remark at the end. Showing students examples of poorly written paragraphs versus
strongly written paragraphs will give students a much clearer understanding of what they can do

to improve their paragraph writing skills as well as provide clarity on what is expected when they
execute paragraph writing assessments.