ECS 410

Week one: Assessment in the classroom means doing something for the purpose of evaluation. There are many potential reasons a teacher would implement assessment into their class which is why there are an abundance of aims for having assessments. One potential aim for assessing at the beginning of a term or semester would be for diagnostic purposes, as teachers may want an indication of how much prior knowledge on subject material students may have. Assessment may occur throughout a term or semester to evaluate whether students are actually learning what the teacher is instructing, but also for teachers to have an indication on what they may need to allot more time for. Teachers can also use assessment to indicate to themselves whether their lessons are effective or if they need to be altered if a large portion of the class does not understand something after a lesson on it.

Week two: There are lots of reasons for a teacher to assess in the classroom, most of them are student-oriented (as they should be), but there are also a few not so student-oriented reasons for assessing as well. The main reasons- and student-focused reasons- for implementing assessment into classrooms is so students can receive some kind of feedback on how they are progressing throughout a course. Assessments early on in a course can assist students by indicating where they may have areas they need to improve upon and allows for students to make the decision to seek out help before the term is complete. Teacher may also implement assessment for other reasons to benefit students. If group work is assigned and the teacher thinks it would benefit the students being in groups that are at similar levels in their learning, it may be beneficial for teachers to conduct an assessment in order to classify students into groups. One reason that isn’t so student-oriented for teachers to assess is for feedback for themselves. Teachers can often use assessment as not only how well students are learning, but how well teachers are teaching. For example, if a teacher spends 3-4 class periods discussing and practicing Pythagorean’s Theorem, but only 10% of the class demonstrates on an assessment that they understand then there is a possibility that the lessons were ineffective for the class or the assessment doesn’t reflect the practice.

ECS 210

Week One: “The Problem of Common Sense” is an article pertaining to what it means to teach using your “common sense.” This article explains the experiences of a woman going over to another country that has a very different way of conducting the school day than the traditional western way that she attended school in, and is expected to implement these favoured “common sense” ways about doing school. The real problem about using “common sense” to teach in a classroom is that it caters to only one demographic that is the most privileged. This is important to recognize when teaching a diverse classroom of children as it’s important to recognize what children are being privileged though the teaching of this information.

Week two: Apparently the traditionalist approach to curriculum is very common in high schools in North America, which makes sense because I remember in both of the high schools I attended many teachers used this approach. Even in University, many professors use this same approach. I remember a few practice assignments throughout a course until the very last few weeks of school and then suddenly having what felt like 100 assignments due all at once. This is exactly what the seventh and last step of R.W. Tyler’s procedure for a traditionalist approach to curriculum. The seventh step of Tyler’s approach states that a teacher must “determine of what to evaluate and the ways and means of doing it.” This is why many teachers in high school still do final exams to this day- as they follow a traditionalist perspective. This perspective has both positives and negatives associated with it. The best part about a traditionalist perspective is that students are somewhat comfortable with this approach as it has been the common practice of teachers for many years. Students can feel comfortable that there is some sense of predictability even when taking a new class with a new teacher as the two teacher’s approaches shouldn’t differ that much. However, there are also negatives aspects of using this approach to a curriculum. A large portion of assessment tends to take place at the end of the curriculum instead of throughout as it is the last step in the traditionalist approach to curriculum. Students have the possibility of feeling overwhelmed with the amount of assessment at the end of a semester. This also prevents students from having the opportunity to having an indicator of where they nee extra assistance prior to the end of the year with the lack of assessment throughout a curriculum.

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