When asked about assessment and reporting in his high school mathematics class, Rob Hadath said, “When I look to assessment, I look at it more as just finding the truth. What is the true ability of the student and how can I most accurately reflect that?”

Finding the truth about a student’s learning, a teacher’s or leader’s effectiveness, a system’s impact, or program or policy implementation is more than adding up all the numbers, doing a quick common assessment, or relying on the results of large-scale assessment. There is a level of complexity involved –  but it’s complexity that can be easily unpacked and adapted to fit your particular context. 

The power of classroom assessment? Learning the true ability of each student. Tweet this

 Three elements to consider

The foundation of effective classroom assessment rests on three elements: 

  • TriangulationAt all levels of the organization, we collect evidence from multiple sources over time – product, observation, and conversation. When we use this triangulated evidence, many pathways to the truth emerge.
  • Tight feedback cyclesBecause you are in close contact with the learner and you check in while in process, the teacher, the leader, and the learner can make ‘just-in-time’ adjustments. Because the adjustments are witnessed, you learn more of the truth.
  • Letting the evidence and the learners speak Now that you have gathered evidence that moves beyond numbers and that outlasts the event, what has been learned or accomplished becomes more visible. You can know more of the truth.

These actions form the foundation upon which our informed professional judgment can rest; this allows us to, as Rob Hadath says, “…find the truth.”

Secondary Math Classroom

So as you think about your role – as teacher and/or leader – what truth do you need to find? How might rethinking evidence and feedback cycles help you to find that truth?

Dig deeper into the truth

To go deeper into the search for truth, read the accounts of 14 secondary teachers in our book Quality Assessment in High Schools: Accounts from Teachers. 

If you work at the elementary level, continue your search with our book Grading, Reporting, and Professional Judgment in Elementary Classrooms.

If you’d like other stories that touch on this topic, make sure to check out:

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta

Anne Davies, Sandra Herbst, and Brenda Augusta are educators, consultants, authors, and presenters who are highly sought after, both locally and globally. Their energy, passion, and expertise have helped teachers, leaders, schools, and systems to move forward with competence and confidence. Learn more about the team here...


Like most education professionals, we have a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of learners. We started as teachers and leaders, but saw the potential to drive greater transformation by creating and sharing methodologies with other educators.

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