Tim has an outstanding post up about assessment that really hits home what it should and shouldn't be:
When I write about assessment, I'm referring to all those things that teachers do when we look at students and their work. Assessment is the million little things we notice in student behavior. It is the piles of paperwork we go through. It is the assignments we give and the questions we ask.This is somehow all connecting with what I was thinking about with my last (real) post, but I am having trouble finding the words to correspond with the image in my head at the moment.
Many of the student teachers I work with in my student teaching seminar think that assessment needs to be "objective". I tell them that this is not the case. Assessment will never be objective and it shouldn't be. We are making informed, professional judgments about student work. It is in its very nature subjective. . . .
Assessment also needs to be fair and transparent to the student. We MUST tell students how they are being judged and what they are expected to do. We often leave this step out, but it is the only fair thing to do for students. One way we can do this is to show students models of work - these models can be teacher-created or, ideally, past examples of real students' work.