Informal note-taking capturing developments in student performance is a useful assessment tool in envisionment-building classrooms.
Informal individual conferences provide teachers with an opportunity to assess student understandings and abilities as well as an occasion to offer one-on-one support and coaching as needed.
Teachers in envisionment-building classrooms sample student behaviors when students are in the processes of reading, thinking, writing, and talking about literature to provide authentic assessments.
Authentic assessments guide teachers' on-going instruction because they reveal areas where individual students or groups of students need additional coaching and encouragement.
Sharing observations of what individual students or groups are doing effectively helps other students develop as well.
Recording on-going observations of student performance and comparing them with earlier observations gives teachers a sense of students' developing abilities.
Teachers connect assessment tools to their explicit instruction. If they have been helping students learn to make connections, inferences, and predictions as well as ask questions, those are the behaviors they look for while observing students discussing literature.
Writing—both informal responses and formally crafted pieces—provides additional assessment opportunities.
Assessment rubrics give students a clear idea of what they need to know and do to succeed.
Explicit discussion of assessment standards and guidelines helps both students and parents know what is expected while helping develop students' intrinsic motivation.
Many teachers are learning to understand assessment as a partnership between student and teacher designed to support the growth of the learner.
Teachers can help students prepare for state-mandated high-stakes assessment tests by helping them understand how the test works, what it evaluates, and what it expects in terms of successful responses; they can then apply what they have been learning every day to the demands unique to the testing situation.
Offering students opportunities for self-assessment supports their learning as well.
Honest self-assessment, although difficult, helps teachers grow as professionals. Some keep a daily teaching journal; others make notes of classroom successes (and failures). Others ask students for feedback on what is or is not working, using that feedback to guide their development.