Have you ever been driving somewhere with the family, and turned the music off or told the kids to stop playing their game because it occured to you they might not know the lyrics to the star spangled banner? Or what city and state they live in? Or what your phone number and address is? When this happens to me what inevitably follows is a barrage of question and answering until I am satisfied they have it, and I can rest easy the rest of the drive. I’m sure they love it.
Assessment is merely the process of finding out what your children know. It would be foolish to think you can teach someone anything without also knowing what it is they KNOW. Considering there is infinite knowledge in our universe, narrowing it down to what they DON’T know would probably help speed up the process. :)
But assessment, or testing, doesn’t have to happen as a seperate event. You can assess while you teach. The assessment can even be used as a teaching tool, as they learn while you figure out what they need to know. An easy way to do this is a simple line up exercise. When they are lined up to go somewhere (or sitting on the couch waiting, if you’re at home) just give them some questions. The correct answerer goes to the front of the line. Then, keep going. Ask the same question two or three times. Answer some questions if they don’t understand. Discuss. Repeat. Learn.
I use this with my class, and my kids. I’m thinking about using it with my wife as well. Honey – what’s the capitol of Indiana? :)