Judy Mitschelen



Judy believes that teachers are accountable to stakeholders both in and beyond the classroom and need to become assessment-literate in order to communicate and use results of tests in meaningful ways.

While no one assessment tool can provide a complete picture of a child, a program, a teacher’s ability, or a school, understanding the complementary roles of various measurements is vital to assessing accomplishments and areas for improvement.

Judy believes that assessment closest to the learner is the most useful for the teacher’s curricular and pacing decisions as well as the learner’s use. Therefore, development of viable, unbiased classroom assessment tools is essential for maximum learning.

Above all else, students should benefit from assessments. Whenever possible, learners should be engaged in assessing themselves. Whether through individual record keeping, goal setting and self-evaluation, shared development of grading rubrics, comparing themselves against exemplars, or other means, students need to understand that assessment is a vital component of their learning process rather than a summative judgment they have no control over.

Judy has spent her entire 30+ years teaching in the Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District in eastern Iowa, and she feels that every year has been a new experience. After starting in fifth and sixth grade, she accepted the district’s challenge of coordinating the talented and gifted program for several years before moving to the middle school where she has inspired seventh graders to read and write.

Judy received a BA in elementary education and psychology from Anderson University in Indiana and a Masters’ Degree in Teaching from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1999 she received National Board Certification in the field of Early Adolescence/Language Arts.

In addition to her varied classroom experiences, Judy has been active with the district’s technology committee since the arrival of the first Apples. Judy and her building media specialist have coordinated frequent inservices and training opportunities including all three levels of the Computer Learning Foundation’s certification and a US West grant to provide internet integration coursework and graduate credit to the middle school faculty and other staff members. Judy enjoys designing web pages to supplement and extend her lessons in the seventh grade language class. Her Iditarod unit has been recommended consistently by Walter McKenzie’s Surfquarium for several years.

Technology expertise came in handy with Judy’s contributions to community and charitable organizations as well. She created web sites for several organizations and, as a board member for the local library, she spearheaded efforts to automate the library, taking primary responsibility for fundraising and the initial material and patron record installation.

Music dominates Judy’s non-teaching life. She was a church musician for 20 years and considers her primary talent to be playing piano, and she enjoys accompanying student music contests and the local community theater and choir. In recent years, she has discovered the joy of singing. The last few seasons have found her sharing the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre stage with names that (though she couldn’t even have pretended to recognize) would amaze opera buffs!

Judy Mitschelen defines herself as a curious person who is always looking for new challenges and considers herself successful when she can guide students to amaze themselves with what they can accomplish. She is looking forward to meeting new colleagues online and helping them demystify and make good use of data analysis and assessment strategies.

E-mail your comments or questions to Judy at mitschelenj@uwstout.edu

Related Information

Online Professional Development