experiments, instruments & measurement book

What Is Jewish About Assessment?

by Jessica Goldstein, Professional Learning Team member at Community Synagogue of Rye


On October 26th, the CJL (Center for Jewish Learning at Community Synagogue of Rye) had our monthly professional development meeting.  The week prior, our PLT met to develop a plan to guide the meeting in order to best help our faculty develop effective assessment tools following the LOMED philosophy.  We briefly discussed the book What is Jewish About Butterflies (by Maxine Segal Handelman and Deborah L. Schein) and discovered out “hook,” the big idea for our learning – What is Jewish about assessment!

We began our monthly meeting by asking participants (including the PLT members) to share a story about using an assessment.  Then we introduced the hook and linked assessment to Jewish values.  That lead us into our text study which examined the effectiveness of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son as opposed to just God asking Abraham how much he believed in and valued God…the value of authentic formative activities instead of just paper –and-pencil summative tests.  Then we looked at why assessments are necessary and what information can be gained through them.  

The remainder of our meeting was spent in our peer mentoring groups looking at a powerful learning plan developed by our Coalition Educator, Shana Zionts.  She intentionally did not include noticing tools so the groups could work on creating effective assessment devices which could be used in several lessons, yet linked to these specific noticing targets as well.  We reconvened as a large group and shared several of our ideas.  Some of our ideas were to use bibliodrama, venn diagrams, text studies to identify values and examples of them, scavenger hunts (both actual and within text), creating a meal, a creative box, and filming a documentary. 

As a conclusion activity, one of our teachers demonstrated several ways to incorporate quick Smart Board activities as noticing tools.  Each part of this professional development was lead by one or two members of our PLT.  We are looking forward to developing appropriate and exciting noticing tools as part of our peer mentoring this year. 

What is Jewish about assessment?  How is your congregation developing noticing tools in education?

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