A colleague was sharing a humorous story about assessment. The students in his college have to take a post-writing test to show their improvement from their first writing at the college. They have to write an essay based on the same five topics.
However, the irony is that the students who are in his business writing course which is the final English course for the students are the ones being asked to write the post-writing. In the business course, they write business letters according to very strict formats.
Having them write an essay in the business class is like assessing a pizza maker on how well he writes checks. The pizza maker certainly writes checks but those checks are a very small percent of his/her time. The pizza maker spends most of the time in making pizza. Maybe the pizza maker can be observed as he/she makes pizzas just as our students can be assessed doing regular classroom writing in their essay class, not in their business class.
How and when do you assess students? Are they doing things that they would normally do as part of your class or is the assessment a random event outside of their normal tasks?