The Difference between Assessments and Practice

online learningI had an interesting experience with my daughter and ScootPad once. She had  just finished 5th grade and was going to be evaluated for placement in advanced math classes in middle school. I decided to get a pulse reading on what her skills were for 6th grade math standards. Thus, I set up a series of assessments through ScootPad, based on the ConceptBank.

My daughter is no stranger to ScootPad, but she really balked at doing the assessments. When I asked her why, she told me that she hated that she couldn’t see right away if she was getting things wrong or not, as that was how she often adjusted her learning along the way. She had come to associate ScootPad with practice, not evaluation, and did not like the differences in expectations that set the two apart.

This struck me, as her experiences in school are mostly offline, meaning there is not instant feedback from the teacher for her work. In fact, she often waits days or weeks to get back worksheets or projects. She often is beyond thinking about the learning points when she does get the work back, and the opportunity to grow or advance as a result of her mistakes, is lost. Fortunately, ScootPad’s assessments give instant feedback!

She can see instantly what she has done right and wrong, and thus can adjust her thinking as she does the practice. Even when doing the Scootpad assessments, she simply needs to wait until the end, to find out what she might have benefited from in the course of her work.

And I realized, that while she loved doing the practices, the ScootPad assessments were just as significant to her learning, to see what she had mastered and which concepts she still needed to work on. My question is, how might we motivate stronger performances for students while they are doing assessments? What are your thoughts on the ways that practices and evaluations differ?


Dr. Michelle Anthony


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