Authentic assessment is that which provides students with positive feedback on their work, that which serves to motivate students to do better work, and that which provides both teacher and student a clear picture of where they are in the learning process and what, if any, changes need to made to keep teacher and student focused on the learning objectives.
The impact of assessments would vary among students, as no two people are alike and will have their own individual response to the same stimuli. I think as long as the teacher is consistent with the timing, type, and tone of their assessments positive gains should be seen in most if not all students. I really like emphasis formative assessments make on providing timely feedback to students to keep them on a path to meet objectives. We’ve read about how students can get lost if they don’t know what they are supposed to learn and how to learn it so they give up. Regular assessments can stop this from happening.
To answer the second part of Lynne’s question, I think teachers should try to get a sense of what the new student has done and been asked to do so far in their education, and to also try to determine where these students fit into their new schools curriculums, meaning, are they working at, below, or above grade level at their new school.
The Dolgin text covers in-depth the ideas of holding roundtables for students to display what they’ve learned as well as doing reading assessments for each student. First, the teacher should examine the student’s transcripts, if available, to see what classes the student has taken and what grades they’ve received (if transcripts aren’t available then the teacher should ask the student). Then make calls to former teachers to ask for their impressions of the student. Once this is complete explain to the student that they will be required to demonstrate what they have learned, what they believe to be their strengths and weaknesses as learners, and what they need to focus on to become better learners. Having the student write beginner type cover letters their favorite classes or classes they did well in and bring those to the meeting can serve as a tune-up to what they will need to do in the roundtables. The student can also be paired with classmates who can explain to them about the roundtables.
This would take up quite a bit of extra time but as we’ve read about already one key to good instruction and learning is doing pre-assessments before asking students to do any work.