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Assessment in the Age of Personalized Learning

Assessment in the Age of Personalized Learning

In January of 2013, I was hired by the Oklahoma State Department of Education's Accountability and Assessment Office. They hired me because I had the technology skills the office needed to handle the millions of records created by the 500,000 third to twelfth grade students taking multiple assessments at the end of each school year. The assessments were designed to provide teachers, parents and students with an assessment of the students’ knowledge of each tested subject. The assessment results were given to the schools and shared with parents and could also be used to help plan for the next school year. The OSDE is still using this assessment method, and it has other purposes besides just providing feedback to schools. 

But are end-of-year assessments the most effective way of providing students, parents and teachers with feedback on how well the students know their academic standards and the curriculum? No. That’s why many school districts use formative assessments throughout the year to help teachers guide their students’ learning.

For schools moving to personalized or student-centered learning, there are tools available to provide much more useful feedback. In an ideal student-centered learning environment, students will also have access to continuous feedback that lets them know which standards they have mastered and which ones they still need to study. To make this even more effective, students will have a curriculum they can access for each of the standards they need to master. This can be live lessons from teachers, recorded videos, resources created by teachers or open educational resources created by others.

Ultimately, if you give students control of the pace of their learning and provide them with timely feedback on mastery of each standard and provide resources they can access anytime, anywhere, students will develop a sense of ownership over their own learning. This will give them the skills and ability to become lifelong learners. 

As always, if you need any help with technology to reach these goals or just want to brainstorm ideas, reach out to the OPSRC Tech Team at

Kurt Bernhardt

Director, Technology

Kurt serves as OPSRC's technology director.

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