I can’t get over a conversation I had yesterday. I needed evidence from students, so we did a skills brain dump.

The student asked, “Will this hurt my grade?”

Me: “Nope, I’m just seeing if you know something I haven’t noticed yet.”

S: “So it won’t hurt me?”

A thread...
It's the last line I can't let go.

The student had dropped the grade piece. It may not have been intentional, probably wasn't, but I can't let it go.

They didn't say their grade.

They were concerned about how it would hurt them, personally. Their sense of being.
Our students too often associate assessment with harm. They are honestly afraid of something that, when done correctly, is one of the most valuable steps in the learning process.

We've bastardized it, standardized it beyond recognition. It's our own Frankenstein's monster.
I hear so often that the opposite of success isn't failure - it's fear.

Assessment culture is driven by fear in our school systems today. It's a "Let's see what you don't know" thing, which really is the purpose, but the consequences of the assessment is where we've gone wrong.
The consequence, to use the literal definition of the term, meaning the outcome of an action, should be support. It should be more learning. It should be a process of reorienting students towards their potential.

But instead the consequence is a dead end that screams "FAILURE."
It can't stay this way. We can't be constantly conditioning kids' amygdala to launch into fight, flight, or freeze every time they approach assessment because they view it as a threat to their identity.

It has serious long-term affects with their ability to overcome setbacks.
There's lots we can't control, but we can control our own words and practices.

If a student asks, "Will this hurt me?"

We need to examine our words, our practices, and our systems to be sure that we can answer honestly with a no.

Superficial lip service won't cut it anymore.
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