Teacher's Toolkit: Two-tiered assessmentby: Victor Sampson

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Developing good instruments that can be used to assess what students really know about scientific content is one of the most difficult tasks facing teachers in middle school classrooms today. However, two-tiered tests can be an effective solution to this increasing problem. Two-tiered tests are written assessments that not only ask students for an answer to a problem, but also require students to explain the reasoning behind their answer.

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  • on Wed May 25, 2011 10:34 AM

Two tiered-assessments engages’ students to explain why they chose their path to explain a problem and not just give an answer to a problem stated in a question. The author points out that in doing so a classroom experience can be altered to better fit the student’s needs for understanding concepts. The author provides five steps to follow to construct a two-tied assessment as well as an example of one. Although this requires more time during the giving of an assessment it should help both the teacher and student.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:25 PM

This article provides an excellent discussion of how to modify teaching so that misconceptions are brought to the surface and corrected. It explains how to develop and administer a two-tiered assessment; pre-assessments that require an answer and an explanation that depicts the reasoning behind the answer. The pre-assessments should then be used to decide what and how to teach. Students need to be challenged with activities that confront their misconceptions; experiments that allow them to test and modify their ideas. The open-ended activities need to be tied to a real-world situation to enable transfer of knowledge to occur. The author also suggests including incorrect pre-assessment answers in the posttest to determine if students have altered their misconceptions. If you are need concrete advice for moving away from delivering content towards creating an environment where concept mastery occurs, you will find this article beneficial.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

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