TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release
TC² @ 25
Focus for This Month
Success Stories
Next Steps
Media Release

Assessment: A Tool for Fueling Passion and Imagination


Jessie Claudio

Assessment is not a series of events; it is a journey.
—Garfield Gini-Newman


Always seeking strategies

Like most educators, every year I dive into the curriculum, seeking strategies for making my lessons inspiring and meaningful for a new set of students. The one piece I strive to improve in my own educational endeavour is assessment. How can I help my students immerse themselves in the content areas in a meaningful way? How can I ensure they don’t just memorize the content? How can I guide them in taking their own learning to a level where they will understand deeply and imagine freely?


The question of assessment

I have been very fortunate to work with both Garfield Gini-Newman and Laura Gini-Newman from The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC²) over the past few years. Through that experience, I have learned how to give students a rich learning experience by challenging them to solve problems through critical inquiry.

Even if the lesson achieves the goal of a rich learning experience, however, what about assessment? Many educators besides me have struggled with the question of how to assess critical inquiry. Garfield and Laura helped me find an answer to this question.


Taking on the challenge of assessing inquiry-based lessons

The key to assessing critical inquiry lies in the learning targets—criteria. By creating sound critical thinking curriculum maps with Garfield and Laura, I was able to understand and implement the process of creating and focusing on learning targets for my students. Indeed, in many subsequent lessons, my students created the criteria for the lesson themselves, thereby allowing for opportunities to assess FOR and AS learning, not simply OF learning.

By using the strategies of ongoing assessment, I could help my students make effective use of TC²’s five intellectual tools for quality thinking: background knowledge, criteria for judgment, critical thinking vocabulary, thinking strategies, and habits of mind. All of this aligns beautifully with the re-designed Social Studies curriculum in British Columbia, where I teach.


A classroom of confident students

In Mrs. Claudio’s class no one fails at anything. We wonder, explore, and inspire each other to find understanding.
—a student in Jessie Claudio’s Social Studies class

My interactions with TC² have ignited a spark in me that has changed my goals as an educator. By cultivating a classroom in which thoughtful reflection is valued, the atmosphere in the classroom has changed. My classroom is one in which students are confident in stating their thoughts and ideas in a supportive and collaborative manner. By exposing my students to an environment in which they feel free to provide guidance for one another, they exchange useful critiques that are respectful and constructive. In short, focused use of assessment has helped me fuel both passion and imagination in my students.

Jessie Claudio
Vancouver Talmud Torah
Grade 5 Humanities Teacher/ Teacher Mentor
Re-designed Curriculum Coordinator
CAIS Accreditation Coordinator