Tonight I worked out harder than I have in a while. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I lift. I rarely do them on the same day. I guess I just felt super motivated today. Kidding. According to my training plan, I was supposed to run 4 miles. I ended up running 3.5 but I added in weights. I did them during what would have been the jogging portions of my run, so I feel like that’s a fair trade. I’m counting this as following the plan to a T. Definitely counts.
In related news, I shouldn’t work out this late in the evening because I’m now jacked out of my mind. I guess I should just ramble until I get tired. Sound good? Here goes nothing…
I don’t discuss much teaching-related stuff on the ol’ blog, but sometimes they have a way of crossing paths. I was reading an article the other day discussing the importance of authentic assessments. My first response? Duh. My second response? Man, this actually applies to much more than teaching.
Authentic assessments ask students to perform tasks to show their understanding of specific concepts. Things like multiple choice, fill in the blank, and true or false questions won’t work. Authentic assessment is all about allowing the students to present, conduct, build, apply, create, model, or solve. Essentially, they “prove” themselves by doing. And the things that they do must be directly aligned with what is actually being assessed. Makes sense, right?
Well, if it’s that obvious, why aren’t we grading everything in life that way?
I bet 9 times out of 10 we all judge ourselves the “true or false” way. Just imagine how you’d (honestly) fill out the following test:
If you’re anything like me, I’m assuming you would veer on the false side of things.
“I know I’m getting stronger. I can hold my huge kid on my hip all day, but my arms are too small to be considered truly strong. False for number 1.”
“Well, I’m faster than I used to be, but I’m still slow compared to other people. I’ll probably never BQ in my life. So, number 2 is False.”
“I totally put the milk in the cabinet the other day and then proceeded to throw away the remote. Gonna have to be False for number 3, for sure.”
Do I need to continue? Would your thought process be somewhat similar? That test is hard, because those things can’t be measured in black and white. Just like my students’ knowledge can’t be measured simply by asking them the same types of questions. Authentic assessment is where it’s at, y’all. If we tested ourselves that way, there would be no true or false. Our life would be the test, and how we live it would be our answer. We’d be graded much more fairly, wouldn’t we?
Let’s try this again. Am I strong? Just last week I went up in weights in my bicep curls. Can most people lift heavier weights than I can? Probably so. But I’ve shown improvement and I am my version of strong. There’s my new answer for question 1 on my test. Aced it.
Remember: Don’t grade yourself using some standardized version of life. It’s not fair for students to be graded that way, and it certainly isn’t fair to treat yourself that way either. Judge yourself based on your specific set of goals, your individual learning style, and the things you are capable of doing. You are authentically you, and there is a huge amount of value in that.
And there ends my cheesy motivational speech for the day. Let’s just pretend we all needed a pep talk, okay? I know I did.