Assessing what matters

confession: I am what you would call an educational hippie. I don’t care about content and grades; I care about students understanding how they learn, the act of self reflection, and growth monitoring.

See for me? Grades are just a snapshot, a one moment in time, or whatever Whitney Houston was singing. Anybody can get a good grade—all it takes is following directions. Most teachers don’t realize that the tests they create aren’t valid constructs; that is, their self created tests don’t measure the skill mastered but rather the child’s ability to complete a discrete set of steps.

It’s a WHOLE FIELD OF STUDY OUT THERE. Are you measuring the thing you said you were going to measure? Are you measuring it accurately? Is your measuring instrument good enough to measure what you said you wanted to measure? That’s not something they teach you in teacher college. In fact, it’s why most bought curricula come with pre-made assessments: they have paid people who know how to build assessment to build assessments. I won’t get into why educators have a hard time with this today… that’s a “later tater convo”.


I want them to know all the strategies so that they can choose the ones that work for them in different spaces: as an individual or in a group; with available help or without; in adversity and angst or times of clarity and calm. It is the process—not the content—that brings success. It’s the application of the appropriate principles for the problem at hand that keep you there. I want kids to know and understand their own hearts and motives.

When I read the words of Jesus, I am reminded that Jesus is a spiritual hippie. And no I don’t mean that weird picture of Cesar Borges with the blond surfboard boy hair and blue eyes that y’all keep throwing up on walls. What I mean is that Jesus focused beyond circumstance and situations and He wants you to focus in on your heart. Why do you do what you do? What beliefs are holding you back? What wrong thinking is stopping you from greatness?

It is the process of heart cleansing—not law keeping—that elevates you.

addendum: and that, my friends, is the hardest part. The outward appearance will always match what is in your heart. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks; out of the seed grown in the heart, the fruit comes forth. Jesus wants your HEART—the rest, will follow. He guaranteed that.

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