I have taught in some form or another for most of my career, until I read a book today I had never connected the words assessment and blessing. This concept will feed my thoughts for a while… and arose because I was on a train journey and had some time to read a book that had been on a pile of unread books for far too long! Let me share some of the insights from Harro Van Brummelen:
Thinking of assessment as a blessing rather than as a judgment or measurement involves a paradigm shift. Just think of the consequences of this metaphor. A blessing is a sign of favor that leads to well-being and productivity. Assessment as a blessing then serves as a way to support rather than to test students and their learning. Students will sense that teachers use assessment to work with them. They see that teachers will help them to develop and apply concepts, insights, abilities and creative gifts, ones that will enable them to make positive contributions to life in society. Assessment enables. It offers growth. It is a blessing, a gift, that leads to new and deeper learning (p98).
Our assessment procedures and actions similarly ought to provide tangible evidence to our students that they have worth as individuals, that we appreciate genuine effort, that we want to help them use their strengths and overcome or deal with their limitation, and that they can achieve a special calling where they can make the most of their gifts (p100).
I need to consider my approach to marking afresh and think more about how formative assessment may result in blessing…
Harro Van Brummelen Student Assessment: Hitting the Mark or Lighting the Candle in Ken Badley and Harro Van Brummelen 2012 Metaphors We Teach By Eugene Wipf and Stock 89-108