The Fall, 2011 issue of Jewish Educational Leadership focuses on Assessment. It addresses questions such as: How do we know that our students are learning what we think we are teaching? Should students be measured against other students or against their own potential? Can we measure success in areas such as Jewish connectedness, commitment, beliefs and values?
From the editor's introduction:
"This issue of Jewish Educational Leadership opens with some broad thinking by Shirah Weinberg Hecht on both our goals and how we evaluate our success in achieving them. Laya Salomon brings the discussion to the level of the classroom, exploring a variety of non-traditional assessment approaches. Steve Bailey shares the results of a project which taught, and assessed, core competencies in Jewish knowledge, and Vardit Ringvald examines assessment in Hebrew language instruction.
There are many schools in which assessment (and academic standards) in Jewish studies is downplayed and grade inflation is de rigueur. This is linked to a mindset which understands that specific content in Jewish studies is less important than giving the students positive feelings associated with Jewish learning – and why ruin that with the parts of school that students most dislike – homework, tests, grades. We present to you the results of a brief survey we conducted of schools and teachers and the attitudes towards academic standards in Jewish studies.
Our Applications section opens with Sharon Freundel, whose school moved to a radically different reporting system to parents, and Sally Mayer, who introduced a “review and drill” routine into a Talmud class which may not have been popular with students but which yielded significant results. Aliza Libman Baronofsky uses art to assess a Humash class and Estelle P. Harris describes a tracking system used to follow student progress in Humash skills. David Leibtag explores assessing affective goals, and Rivky Krestt shares her experience working with rubrics. We round out this section with a gallery of assessments developed and used by alumni of the Pardes Education Program.
Levi Cooper opens the Features section, where he presents fascinating research on the different uses of assessments in traditional yeshivot. Finally, our Perspectives article is written by Jan Morrison, an educational trainer, researcher and consultant, who has worked extensively with public, private and Jewish day schools."