Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Attendance as Assessment

Kathryn Evans

A colleague of mine, Chris DeLorenzo, has turned the mundane activity of taking attendance into an insightful means of assessing his teaching. A hallmark of outstanding teachers, we know, is the constant drive to assess their teaching and use what they learn to improve their practice. Chris does this by passing around a unique attendance sheet. Rather than asking students to merely sign their names, he also asks questions such as the following:He says this last type of question helps him assess the effectiveness of his previous mini-lessons and helps him decide which lessons need follow-up. Questions such as the first one, on the other hand, help him re-design the course the next time he teaches it. It never would have occurred to me to use a mundane activity like taking attendance in such a valuable way.