Rethinking Assessment in the Minds of Students

Type: Article
Topics: Curriculum & Assessment, School Administrator Magazine

October 01, 2019

What if students reimagined the school district’s assessment system?

In establishing a portrait of a learner, Nipmuc Regional High School in Upton, Mass., saw this as an opportunity to put students in the lead to rethink assessment and the future of learning in the Mendon-Upton Regional School District. These are some steps we took to go from idea to action.

 Full-day Student Workshop. As co-principals at Nipmuc, we invited a group of high school and middle school students, alumni and faculty members to a full-day workshop to define the Mendon-Upton portrait of a learner competencies, creating a collaborative process for reimagining assessment led by students for students.

 Learning Adventures. Working with a faculty or staff member, groups of students created a bank of “learning adventures” — nontraditional learning experiences that take place both on and off campus and enable students to explore the competencies in the portrait of a learner.

 Reimagined Rubrics. Rather than measuring the portrait of a learner with a traditional rubric that emphasizes achievement, students created a reimagined rubric focused on self-reflection and growth. The rubric is based on “I can” statements that prompt student reflection. Rather than providing grades, teachers give feedback only through “What if” and “I wonder” statements to encourage individual student growth.

By valuing student leadership and voice, we’ve been able to create a reimagined approach to assessment that brings us one step closer to our vision for learning.


John Clements and Mary Anne Moran