How to Use the Power of Assessing in Your Classroom

Authors Lisa M. Nyberg and Julie V. McGough have done it again. Dedicated to “all learners who seek answers and love learning,” their latest offering, The Power of Assessing: Guiding Powerful Practices, is another gem in the NSTA Press Powerful Practices series.* And it doesn’t hurt that the images inside are so eye-catching you may want to hang some in your classroom!

If you’re true to the book’s guidance, the first questions you’ll ask are “What can I learn from this? Why is this methodology so powerful ?” Here’s the short list of reasons:

  1. The authors are veteran educators and know what works in real classrooms. Between the two, they have more than 50 years of teaching experience, ranging from preschool to graduate school.
  2. The Power of Assessing has been thoroughly peer-reviewed and models authentic assessments that engage students in standards-based learning.
  3. The book is chock full of practical resources like assessment charts (so you can tailor your assessments to your students’ needs), QR codes linking to videos so you can get a deeper understanding, instructions for design, rubrics, materials lists, and more.
  4. ALL learners are taken into consideration (a point that is very important to NSTA’s mission “promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all…”).

This is not a dry research tome; it’s a lively resource that will show you that assessments can not only be dynamic tools of learning, they can even be fun! The authors show creative teachers how to make the most of assessments, and how powerful instructional practices can change the lives of students.

Just as students have diverse learning styles, the authors show educators how to make the best use of diverse assessments. Have students who do well with pictures and images? Check out the visual-spacial assessments (complete with examples and criteria). Want to assess student understanding through physical movement activities? Dive into the bodily-kinesthetic assessments. There are so many assessment styles to choose from—musical assessments, logical-mathematical assessments, and linguistic assessments, to name just a few.

Toward the end of the book, the authors ask “How will you design new learning adventures to empower and inspire the children of today who will build our tomorrows?” That’s a tall order. But with this user-friendly book (think of it as a tutorial between two covers), readers will be fully equipped with dynamic strategies to engage their students.

Ready to learn a little more? Make your own assessment! A free chapter is available: The Power of Assessing: Guiding Powerful Practices.

This book is also available as an ebook.

*The Power of Assessing is the third book in the NSTA Press Powerful Practices series and focuses on modeling authentic assessment techniques. The series also includes The Power of Investigating (2017) and The Power of Questioning (2015), which was selected by educators and publishers of the Association of American Publishers as a REVERE award finalist.

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