One of the biggest things I wish I had been told when I started teaching was to only expect to see what we were focusing on learning in the classroom. Too often we assume our students know how to do something and then are surprised when they don’t.
Working collaboratively as a group is one of the top things I can think of that many expect students to know how to do but yet do not actively teach it. I know many adults who do not know how to work collaboratively yet we expect students to know this.
We have to make sure that we help students learn how to do all of those things that we think will make them successful. Many students may not have learned how to work collaboratively, take effective notes, ask questions to help their own learning, or how to plan their time out to be effective. These are all important aspects to learning but beyond elementary school, how often do we spend time making sure our students learn these?
If we can identify a trait or piece of knowledge as essential to our students being successful learners, then we need to make sure we are spending the time to ensure our students learn it. Being a successful learner is a more important outcome than learning a little more content, being able to be a life-long learner will help our students more than spending more time on any particular unit.
Are you assessing something you did not spend time on? Are you assuming your students know something or are you making sure they have learned it? How are you ensuring that your students are successful learners and how are you ensuring that you are a successful learner?