EDET 637 Week 9

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.



4 thoughts on “EDET 637 Week 9

  1. I like your idea and use of a rating scale instead of letter grades. Kids focus entirely too much on letter grades (some not enough :)). Even teachers are evaluated on a rating scale. The Danielson model also rates teachers from 1 – 4, and we aren’t required to be at a 4 (we strive of course). In fact, they say most great teachers stay in the 3 range and venture in and out of the 4 range. I remember you mentioning this last night in one of your tweets I believe. I like it! Thanks!


  2. Genevieve, Your learning scale sounds like it gets your students thinking about their own learning and lets them know that it’s okay if different students are at different points in their learning. I’m amazed in my own classroom how some students excel in certain areas and struggle in others, and using a learning scale seems to do away with the pressure of grades. I like how you talk about eliminating error by providing students with things like food, breaks and assistive technology. It seems to be a great example of differentiation in the classroom so that all students can be successful.


  3. Genevieve,

    I really liked that you shared what you do in your classroom with the rating scale instead of letter grades. If only we could all move away from grades! I also like that you focused on eliminating error as a way to intrinsically motivate students. I think sometimes when we write tests, it is easy to ask students questions that don’t really measure whether or not they understand the learning objectives. I know that I have this problem sometimes, and I am constantly working to make sure my tests are going to be effective at measuring what I want students to learn. Great job this week!


  4. Anastasia

    One way I think we can work toward intrinsic motivation is to build mini-communities of students that touch base with each other both for learning and for expanding their social group. Usually I think of the smaller school I am at right now; but the high school I went to seemed enormous to me. I ended up being with the same students most of my free time. During class there was not much opportunity for learning in cooperative groups. Intrinsic motivation to learn comes from working together for a common goal. Assessment can come out of projects completed together.

    Feedback is major. I think we need to give students regular feedback to guide them such as when predicting, making connections to a character in a book, and questioning the author. More straightforward feedback might come with math so that we are not allowing students to practice the same error that will be difficult to unlearn later on. Plus, feedback just feels like care. There is enough care on the part of teachers and authentic audiences to help a student grow.



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