*the desire to learn*, and I believe the evaluation process is one of the most formidable killers of motivation in education. Rewards, punishment, incentives, threats, or any external strategy might get students to do their work, but they rarely influence whether children

*want*to learn. These externals create finishers, not learners. Thus, the question remains: How can assessments increase motivation for learning?

*try again*. Assessments should encourage students to keep trying, whatever their level of achievement.

## The Motivation Downward Spiral

*C*than a

*B*. Further, the common practice of assigning course grades by averaging all grades during the semester takes control out of the students's hands. When I was a college freshman, I scored poorly on my first three math tests, but then I started to work, scored in the 90s on every test from that point on, and earned the highest grade in the class on the final. My final grade for the course, determined by adding my scores throughout the semester, was a

*B*. Mathematically, that score was accurate, but was it an accurate assessment of my learning?

## Effort-Based Evaluation

*Count improvement.*No one can improve without trying. More improvement can translate into more points. Higher scores near the end of the learning process deserve more weight than at the beginning because they show the student is progressing.*Count seeking help.*A student who asks for help is exhibiting effort.*Count offers to help other students.*Helping others shows effort, and teaching others is the best way to learn.*Count extra work.*Asking to do extra work shows initiative.

## Seven Ways to Encourage Effort

*If students can succeed without trying, then the work is not challenging enough. These students need a higher level of challenge, and they should seek it out themselves if their teachers fail to provide it. Although determining the level of challenge is the teacher's responsibility, students need to be taught that getting by without effort is not acceptable. Taking the initiative to elevate their challenge needs to be expected of the best students.*

**1. Never fail a student who tries, and never give the highest grades to one who doesn't.***When going over an assignment, start with what the student did well. "Marty, you got numbers 3, 5, 6, and 8 right. That tells me you can do this work. Let's figure out why you missed the rest and how you can get them right."*

**2. Start with the positive.***In every life situation, from building relationships to playing computer games, except school, mistakes are important in the learning process. We learn from them. In school, mistakes should never be seen as failures, but as diagnostic tools that tell students what they still need to learn.*

**3. See mistakes as learning opportunities, not failures.****Let students who want to increase their scores learn from their mistakes and try again. This expression of initiative clearly shows effort.**

*4. Give do overs.**This way, they can see what they need to learn, what the teacher's priorities are, and how to organize their learning.*

**5. Give students the test before you start a unit.***More than two corrections a page overwhelm most students. They may look at the test or paper and throw it away. Teachers do not need to correct every problem, just the most important ones.*

**6. Limit your corrections.****Students should never be measured by the achievement of others. Parents may want to know how their child compares with others, but a standards-based reporting system reports progress in relation to identified standards, not in relation to other children (Carr & Harris, 2001). For any standards-based assessment to be effective, I believe it must include effort as one of the major standards.**

*7. Do not compare students.*