Teachers spend considerable time and energy working to clarify and communicate their expectations to students. Those expectations are typically communicated when teachers present assignments. Reinforcing the assignments with an assessment process that narrows the feedback focus can benefit teachers and enrich students. For individual assignments, students really need to know the answers to the following questions: Is my work at an acceptable level? Am I on track to earn the grade to which I aspire in this course? They do not need feedback carved into razor-thin slices to make those determinations. We looked for an alternative that allows us to effectively evaluate responses to rich problems within a standards-based curriculum. We hoped to be able to assess written communication, as well as mathematical computation. Promoting student responsibility with a student-centered system was also important. Ultimately, a revised assessment system, which we have come to call EMRF, emerged.
Rodney Stutzman is currently on an extended leave while living in Tanzania and working with Mennonite Central Committee, a relief and development organization.
Kimberly Race is interested in alternative forms of assessment and has done extensive professional development in standards-based curricula.