Assessment seems to have a completely different effect on students' attitudes based on whether they frequently pass or frequently fail.
Students who demonstrate
winning streaks are confident and hopeful, demonstrate continual evidence of success, and are excited to learn. These students are likely to seek more feedback and more challenges. On the other hand, students who demonstrate
losing streaks are frequently hopeless and give up easily. They do not feel safe at school and feel that they are always being evaluated. They see feedback as criticism and do not seek challenges or new ideas. Stiggins tries to eliminate this gap.
Rather than using assessment to sort students into
losers based on performance, educators should use assessment to help student learn. Stiggins offers an alternative notion,
Assessment For Learning (as opposed to assessment of learning). This alternative encourages teachers to turn assessment into a process that involves sharing goals and targets with students, provide frequent and continual feedback in student-friendly language, and provide examples of outstanding student work. This causes students to self-assess and notice trends in their own achievement. Students become more aware of their academic progress. They begin to understand what is expected and make decisions on how to become better. They also generate their own feedback and set their own goals. The hope, Stiggins says, is not to eliminate failure but to eliminate losing streaks. This helps boost student confidence and motivates them to try more.
- Stiggins, R. (). Assessment through the student's eyes. Educational Leadership, 64(8), 22–26.