He Dies (Assessment of Reading)

Mr. Magorium (says to Molly about his dying),When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.”

Now it was easy for Mr. Magorium to assess Shakespeare’s work; however, how do we do this for our students?  There are a couple of ways in which we can assess students learning.  The first step before assessing a student’s work is to determine what we want them to learn.  Next, we teach, and finally we assess. (If necessary we re-teach.)  The Baltimore County Public School (BCPS), in Towson, Maryland, has generated several ways that students can be assessed. 

Some of my personal favorites include the product assessments because they are real world assessments that translate to real world goods. Click here to jump to their website for more ideas.

 What is nice about this website is for each product an assessment checklist is given.  This is a small example that the BCPS gives.



 Earned Assessment
 Self  Teacher
The main theme is clear when one first looks at the poster. A title helps to identify the theme.      
Appropriate and accurate main ideas support the theme.      
There is a wholeness about the poster. It does not seem like a collection of unrelated information.      
The information in the poster is accurate and shows that the student thoroughly understands the concepts.      
Space, shapes, textures, and colors provide information themselves and add to the over-all effectiveness of the poster.      
Pictures, photographs, drawings, diagrams, graphs, or other similar devices add to the over-all effectiveness of the poster.      
The format of the poster is appropriate to the task and to the audience for which it is intended.      
The poster accomplishes its purpose with its intended audience.      
The poster is very neat and presentable.      
The poster is creative and interesting.      



The BCPS also gives examples for process assessments and reading and writing assessments.  It is important to give students the opportunity to evaluate their own work.  This creates a sense of ownership in their own learning and helps them become independent learners.

 I’m going to leave with you one of my favorite quote from the Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

 Mr. Magorium: 37 seconds.

Molly Mahoney: Great. Well done. Now we wait.

Mr. Magorium: No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.

-Mrs. Berry


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