How can I use both formative and summative assessment to enhance (or at least not interfere with) intrinsic motivation?
“Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards,” (Cherry, 2015). In other words, it’s the motivation to engage in particular behaviors’ because it’s intrinsically pleasing to that individual. As teachers, how can we use assessments to enhance intrinsic motivation?
There are two types of assessments: norm-referenced tests (NRT) and criterion-referenced tests (CRT). NRTs are used to “classify students,” (Bond, 1996). They are designed and used to rank students across a continuum of high achievers to low achievers; and it may be used to place students in remedial or gifted programs. The scores of the students are used to compare to those of the norm group, like MAPS (Measures of Academic Progress). CRTs are used to determine how well a student is doing in comparison to their previous results or whether or not they have mastered the skills/content. “The content selected for the CRT is selected on the basis of its significance in the curriculum while that of the NRT is chosen by how well it discriminates among students, (Bond, 1996). “The mission of criterion-referenced measurement is to tie down the skills of knowledge being assessed so teachers can target instruction,” (Popham, 2014).
I think to make tests intrinsically motivating for students; teachers need to think about the concept of error. “The difference between a score on an assessment and what a student really knows, understands and can do related to that topic is called error,” (Tomlinson, 2013). There are many things that can cause error: hunger, poorly written tests, learning disabilities, sick, and so on. A key goal of effective assessments is to eliminate error. Ways we can eliminate these errors are by providing breakfast or snacks, taking regular breaks, assistive technology, manipulates, paper and pencil, and so on.
I think another way we can intrinsically motivate our students is by giving the students flexibility. If our students understand our learning targets, they can set their own learning goals, learning strategies, and assess their own progress (Moss, et.al, 2009). I think this strategy will give our students the motivation to learn and perform well.
I have a learning scale in my classroom, 1-4. 1 means that the still needs instructional support, 2- they understand a little but still need help, 3- they understand and can do it alone, and 4- they understand and can teach a friend (we don’t necessarily need 4). At the end of each lesson, my students are asked where they rate themselves on that scale and if they can answer the essential question of that lesson. If they tell me they are a 3, they move onto independent/seat work,or homework. If any of them rate themselves as a 2 or less, we continue with small group work. I don’t like letter grades; I think they are over-rated (especially in the primary classrooms). Either the student understands and is able to do the content, or they cannot. I tell my parents all the time that our goal is for the student to be at a 3.
Bond, L. (1996, December). Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Testing. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
Cherry, K. (2015, December 8). What Is Intrinsic Motivation? Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://psychology.about.com/od/motivation/f/intrinsic-motivation.htm
Moss, C., & Brookhart, S. (2009). Membership. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109031/chapters/The-Lay-of-the-Land@-Essential-Elements-of-the-Formative-Assessment-Process.aspx
Popham, J. W. (2014, March). Criterion-Referenced Measurement: Half a Century Wasted? Retrieved March 21, 2016.
Tomlinson, Carol Ann, and Moon, Tonya R.. Assessment and Student Success in a Differentiated Classroom. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2013. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 21 March 2016.