Introductory Parent letter for authentic assessment and student lead Conference


Dear Parents,

Hello! I hope the school year has been going great for all of you. I am sending this letter to you to inform you about the upcoming parent-teacher-student conferences. Many of you have experienced these kinds of conferences before, but this time it may be a little different. We will not be looking at a report card or comparing your student to other students. We are going to take an investigative look at your student's growth.

I use authentic assessment in my classroom. Authentic assessment is assessment that is based on student activities that replicate real world situations as closely as possible. I do not give multiple choice, true/false, or fill in the blank types of tests. Instead I give the students tasks that apply the content knowledge we have been studying. These tasks include the following six important characteristics:

  1. Reflects the way the information or skills would be used in the real world.
  2. Often has more than one correct answer or way of finding the answer.
  3. Students have to go through the steps of solving the problem as if they were in the real world.
  4. Is done in situations as similar to the real world as possible.
  5. Students must use a wide range of skills to complete the assessment.
  6. Provides feedback, practice, and second chances to solve problems and complete the assessment.

The reason I use this type of assessment is to discover how well the students really understand the material. I want to be able to see how they have constructed meaning of the concepts and how they apply their understanding to real situations. This type of assessment leans toward meeting the diverse needs of the learners. Students learn vital life skills such as working with others and developing communication skills while doing these tasks. This allows students to view the learning process as important because they see how the information and skills can be used in their every day lives. Also, I use this type of assessment because it helps me improve my teaching. I learn what strategies work for fostering academic growth and which ones do not. Each group of students is different and I do not like to assume all students are the same. Therefore, this allows me to adapt my teaching to meet your student's individual needs.

When you come to your conference, we will be looking at the growth your student has made throughout these types of activities. Your student and I have made a portfolio that reflects their individual success. We have collected beginning and ending assignments and your student has included activities she or he feel show their progress. Included in the portfolio will be a rubric that was used to evaluate your child's final activity, which shows the growth your student has made when compared to the beginning questionnaire. The conference will be student lead and informational.

We are looking forward to meeting with you.

Thanks for your cooperation,

M. ...



Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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