Assessment in the Learner-Centered Classroom

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Assessment can be a tricky piece of teaching. What does it look like in a learner-centered classroom? This lesson shows the processes and purposes of assessments in learner-centered classrooms and gives examples of each.

What Is a Learner-Centered Classroom?

When Betsy started teaching 20 years ago, things were a lot simpler. She was given the curriculum, taught the students, gave an assessment, and then repeated the process. Now, her district has adopted a new kind of curriculum, called learner-centered. Hasn't her teaching always been centered on learning?

That traditional teaching method focused much less on being learner-centered than it did on a serve-and-return, or curriculum-based method of instruction. So, what is a learner-centered classroom? The main difference between the traditional curriculum-based method of teaching and learner-centered instruction is that in learner-centered instruction, both teacher and student focus on and are responsible for individualized learning, and the focus of instruction is on the student. Here's how a learner-centered classroom might look:

  • Teachers use information about each student, such as his or her home life, likes, and dislikes, to plan meaningful lessons and set goals and objectives.
  • Teachers focus on short-term goals rather than over-arching and end-of-unit assessments to monitor student progress.
  • Teachers use student grouping and authentic learning experiences to make learning interactive and engaging.
  • The learning environment is calm, open, and welcoming, encouraging the student to take chances and participate actively in learning.
  • Teachers write lesson plans, but they are flexible and easily adjusted to accommodate students' needs.

In addition to these new ways of teaching, in learner-centered classrooms, teachers use a specific type of assessment different than Betsy is used to. Let's take a look:

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