ECS 410

Week one: Assessment in the classroom means doing somethingwii 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.

Week Three: “In a digital, media driven, globalized world, educators are faced with the challenge of mediating traditional notions of what it means to be literate with new and Ever emerging skills and interests in technology and digital media.” Teachers are Challenged with assessment for “new literacies” do you leave, as assessment for a traditional literacies such as reading and writing print these texts is far easier because of the familiarity of it. “New literacies,” Such as understanding image, sound, gesture, movement, and text, is important for teachers to assess, as it is more common for an individual to be interacting with technology is a form of literacy today. Using technology opposed to print base literacies requires a different mode for creating meaning, which is why it is so essential for teachers to introduce multi media literacy modes into the classroom and to be assessing how comfortable and successful a student is while interacting with multi media literacies. Unfortunately, in my experiences through elementary and high school, I don’t remember any teacher doing any lessons that pertain to the practice of multimedia literacies. In my experience, I feel as though teachers and educators expect students to have an understanding of how to make sense of information communicated through multimedia as long as their students can make sense of information communicated through print-based texts.

Week four: This weeks reading called “What Meaningful Feedback Looks Like” provides an analysis on what it means to have meaningful assessments and feedback opposed to giving feedback that doesn’t actually help the student. The article notes that in order for feedback to be meaningful, that the assessment itself must also be meaningful and worthy of feedback. This is something I never really thought of before as I always felt that an individual can use feedback to improve upon anything and that anything worthy a person can do is worthy of feedback. Where I struggle with this idea is that I don’t understand why a teacher would assign an activity that isn’t worth assessment. To me having students do assignments that can’t be used to improve upon their skills seems pointless. Another point this article touched on was establishing clear learning goals, and one of the recommendations on how to do this includes providing students with examples of successful assignments to assist them with knowing the expectations for an assignment. This point I really appreciated as a student, as I find when teachers do this I am able to understand what is expected of me from assignment much better.

One thing that I never really thought about prior to the readings is that students may also need help receiving feedback. I never really thought about how students receive feedback differently from each other, and that some students must be taught how to receive feedback. This made me think of my own personal experiences with teacher feedback, as I actually rarely ever looked at the feedback teachers gave me throughout high school and even when I did I never really saw feedback as useful information. More or less, as a high school student feedback was only helpful for that particular assignment in my eyes. I cannot think of one time throughout my school career where a teacher attempted to help me see the value in feedback and therefore I went through all of my school career never really understanding why feedback was given in the first place.

One thing that I disagree with in the reading is the idea that receiving feedback from peers is more welcomed among student, opposed to feedback from teachers. I don’t often like to admit it but to me when a peer in my class gives me constructive feedback, I sometimes have the tendency to feel offended or threatened. This may be due to the fact that I may think too highly of myself and I don’t like to feel like I’m wrong, but this is the case. However, when a teacher provides me with feedback I am able to internalize this much better as I know that feedback is one important aspect to a teacher’s job.

Week Five:

Assessment is an integral part of the education system, but sometimes there can be a disconnect between what is taught in class and how students are assessed. For instance, one popular method of assessing in North America is standardized testing. While standardized tests have their place in the education system, especially at an academic level, it is important to impliment different types of assessment that will make all learners comfortable. That isn’t to say that we should just do away with standardized tests all together, as they are useful especially in education beyond K-12. For instance, one probably would agree that there is a certain set of knowledge that a doctor should know prior to practicing as a doctor. Another reason for standardized testing is to see how students preform relative to their peers. However, this is a problem as standardized tests will invariably contain information that may not be discussed in class.

This is why it is so important to implement different assessments into the classroom as different students respond in different ways to different epistomolgies, and that is what was touched on in the two articles. There are many different theories on how students learn, some students learn best in Behaviourist Theory, Positivist Learning Theory, Socio-cultural Theory of Learning, Constructivist theory or Cognitive Constructivist Theory of learning.

Week Six:

On this weeks blogpost one of the prompts was have I struggled with a “less traditional” form of assessment, and following being graded on these blogposts, I would just absolutely love to talk about how I’m currently struggling with a non-traditional, and therefore, unspecific and too generalized form of assessment. Throughout my whole years of grade school most of the assessment I have had were very straightforward, these assessments had goals to work towards and very clear expectations- which is something beneficial to the well-thought-out traditional approach to assessment that is still being used after decades of practice. This is significant when speaking of less traditional forms of assessment, as the teacher would not necessarily know if this form of assessment would work without the prior practice. Tests, essays, assignments with rubrics and clear expectations can be assumed to work, as they are traditional. However, even the traditional approach to assessment may not necessarily work with all students, but there is a much better chance of the students being adjusted to this type of assessment. This is why it is so essential for the teacher to consider what is the best form of assessment for the class and make adjustments if needed.

In the article ‘The Trouble With Rubrics’ by Alfie Kohn, he argues that rubrics aren’t good because they produce grades and that research shows that students “tend to think less deeply, avoid taking risks, and lose interest in the learning itself” when they are graded. I would argue that there needs to be research done on students who aren’t graded and the quality of work that they produce. Speaking from personal program I wanted to be in. I would argue that abolishing the grading system is a very harmfulexperience, grades were an external motivator as I wanted to achieve high grades. I especially wanted to achieve high grades in my later years of high school to show to universities that I was a capable student and that I should be admitted into the idea as society still places a significant emphasis on grades. Top universities aren’t looking for students that get check marks for completing a task. I wouldn’t want a doctor whose acceptance into medical school was on the basis of a task simply completed.

Week Seven: Tim R. Claypool and Jane P. Preston argue that the necessary steps to incorporate learning and assessment techniques that parallel to aboriginal worldviews could be one way to assist in Canada’s interests for improving the education for aboriginal people. Claypool and Preston argue that while westernized worldviews are very rigid and structured, an aboriginal worldview would be a more holistic approach – using the example of the medicine wheel to demonstrate the connectivity of all aspects of life. So when aboriginal groups of people were asked how students can be more successful throughout school, the aboriginal participants took more of a holistic approach. The grandparents representatives in the aboriginal culture, as well as the representatives from aboriginal organizations both emphasized a holistic approach. Both groups argued that for students to be successful, first students must have a sense of self or a sense of belonging for them to feel comfortable in their learning. Students must feel comfortable in their environment before they can actively take part in their learning. This can be challenging for aboriginal students if their worldview isn’t being considered in the teachers approach to teaching the curriculum content, as well as the teachers approach to assessment. This not only makes me consider aboriginal students worldview, but the worldview and the class experiences of all students in a classroom. With that in mind, somethings I would ask my co-op teacher in regards to assessment would be:

  1. How would you ensure all students feel comfortable in your classroom before learning takes place?
  2. How would you ensure students are comfortable, what are the indicators of a student feeling as though they “belong?” If a student didn’t show these indicators, would they be assessed differently?
  3. How do you make assessments that align with all your student’s worldviews? Have you created different ways to assess for different students?

Week ten: As the Canadian population increases through immigration, our public institutions are becoming increasingly more diverse. With more social diversity, as students tend to differ in socioeconomic status, the needs for students also become more diverse. For example, a Student who was born in a Third World country, whose first language is not English will have very different educational needs in comparison to one of their peers, who may be Canadian born and the Balkan the English language their entire life. This is where the educational approach of differentiation comes in. Differentiated instruction is instruction that is specifically tailored to different students, or a group of students, needs in mind. Well teachers can use the approach of differentiation for instruction, teachers can also use this approach and how they conduct assessment. In order for differentiation to be successful, the teacher must consistently be assisting and responding to their student’s work. Teachers must assess to identify their students strengths, and respond by creating assessments that would ensure the students and being successful using their strengths. This requires a lot of work, as a teacher must always be observing and listening to their student’s needs to make adjustments which can be challenging in a class of more than 25 students.

With that being said, I think one way my philosophy for assessment has shifted is that I used to believe that there was a “correct way” to assess different lessons, but I now believe that there isn’t a correct way to assess lessons, but there is a correct way to assess each individual learner. Teachers must be tentative to each of their students’ needs so they can have a differentiated approach to assess student success. And part of being attentive to their students, teachers must be aware of the different worldviews present in their class, which is proposed in Claypool and Prestons article. Being aware of different students’ worldviews will assist in what kinds of assessment will be used in the classroom, assumptions require a less traditional approach to assessment, and other students will be more comfortable with traditional forms of assessment, such as testing.

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