Seven Tips for Using Assessments as a Motivational Tool

Posted by Matt Berringer on September 30, 2014

iStock_000047615470LargeThe Common Core State Standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the necessary skills and knowledge they need to succeed. But without motivation, students will lack the desire and enthusiasm to learn. Educators can inspire students by implementing certain motivational strategies with regard to assessments.

The September 2014 issue of Educational Leadership features an article by Richard L. Curwin, which asks the question, “Can Assessments Motivate?” and offers the following seven tips for encouraging student effort using assessments:

  1. Never fail a student who tries. It’s not always about grades. Learning is also about trying and having the motivation to want to succeed.
  2. Start with the positive. When discussing an assessment/assignment, stay constructive and optimistic. First cover the positives, and then move on to what the student needs to improve.
  3. View mistakes as learning opportunities. Curwin says, “mistakes are diagnostic tools that tell students what they still need to learn.” Errors are important in the learning process and key to a student’s education.
  4. Allow do-overs. Give students the opportunity to correct their mistakes and try to increase their scores.
  5. Let students see the assessment. Before you begin a unit, allow students to see the test. This allows them to better structure their learning and be more aware of areas on which they need to focus.
  6. Limit corrections. The red pen can be overwhelming if it’s used in excess. Don’t correct every problem; just the important ones.
  7. Don’t compare students. Each student has a unique individual level of achievement. The goal is for students to be equally as involved in their education. The effort to learn makes all the difference.

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Topics: assessment, performanceplus