Hacking Assessment: How to Improve Learning and Cure a Stomach Ache

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Kerry Gallagher’s daughter had a stomach ache. As a longtime educator and mother, Kerry is well equipped to handle a 7-year-old’s aching tummy, but this one was a little different.

She gave herself a 90. That 90 made her stomach ache. It isn’t her teacher’s fault. Maybe it is my fault. I’m her mom and I knew how to play the grades game in school.

In the Hack Learning podcast episode embedded above, teacher, digital learning specialist, and mom Kerry Gallagher and Hack Learning creator Mark Barnes share some simple ways that both teachers and parents can eliminate labels and inspire children to think about learning, without the hindrance of a grade.

What parents and teachers can do tomorrow

1 — Gallagher and Barnes suggest that parents emphasize the value of learning over grades to their children. Tell your child that the process of learning and the joy of exploration are the most important things–much more important than a grade.

2 — Teachers should invite students to assess their own learning, while discouraging labels. Any sort of number or letter grade attached to the activity after self-assessment can undermine the learning experience.

3 — Make learning inspirational and fun. If the activity and the assessment do not bring joy, rethink both.

For more from Kerry Gallagher, check out Why Our Grading System Is Failing Our Kids, on her Start With a Question blog. Don’t miss Kerry’s tweets on Twitter @KerryHawk02.

Share your own success with self-assessment by your student and/or your child, in our comment section below and on Twitter at #HackLearning.

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