1. Write the test before teaching a unit. After writing my objectives, I write the test, with every question aligned to an objective. In fact, I write what objective each question assesses so that way I can later break down how students do on each objective. This information is communicated to students so that way they know specifically what objectives they have not mastered, and can take steps to fix that broken knowledge. When you write your test first and align each question with what objective its assessing, you get a more useful assessment for you and, more importantly, for the students. Plus, you get more valid assessments that actually reveal how well students understand important concepts rather than assessments ripped from a test bank that measure all the random minutiae that may have been mentioned at some point during a class.
2. Put objectives in the gradebook instead of student-completed tasks. I once read a blog post about how powerful it was to put your objectives in the gradebook rather than the normal homework, tests, and quizzes....and they were absolutely right. It flips your entire perspective of grading on its head. You start wondering why you're dishing out made-up nonexistent points for all sorts of things that don't actually help students meet the objectives. You start realizing that you need to change what tasks you give students so that you can actually give them a rating (not a score) on how well they have met the objectives. You start realizing that the traditional system of "students do, teacher gives points for" just doesn't cut it anymore, and you start questioning the need for averaging grades, for assigning overall letter grades....and for the need for grades at all. You start focusing on real learning.
Since I know that teachers at this time of year are already thinking about changes they would make in the new semester that is almost upon us, I thought I might issue a small challenge to anyone who hasn't already made these changes - make one of the changes above. See how it changes your thoughts, your attitude toward teaching and learning, and/or how you conduct daily life in your classroom. But also think about how making one small change can make a huge difference in the learning of your students.