We had the opportunity to participate in an assessment carousel. There was six stations that each had different types of assessment tools/strategies, our task as a group was to consider how we would be able to include this type of strategy in our major (mine being mathematics). I included three of the stations in this blog post because I feel I learnt the most from them and/or my knowledge about the subject grew in some way.
1) Quizzes/Tests: This discussion came easy to us because it is the type of assessment that we are all used to. We all grew up on taking tests to mark our progress so we decided to change our discussion on how to change ways of assessing using these methods but not relying on a big test to mark the progress. We decided that instead of one final unit test, one could have two quizzes to make the stress seem a tad bit less. Having two quizzes instead of one big test could allow the students to have more success and will also help them retain the information easier. We also discussed a situation that we aren’t familiar with, our prof, Tracy, brought up the idea of allowing students to redo questions on a test in which they didn’t succeed. We were all pretty shocked about this concept but in the end thought it was a great idea. Allowing students to do this will make them realize where they made their error and will be able to grow and learn as a student.
2) Pre-assessment/Diagnostic forms: This station was the station I felt I learnt the most. Going into this station I had no idea what these words meant or how they could be performed in a classroom. Looking back at those thoughts, I feel embarrassed because it is one of the easiest forms of assessment to know (I feel). This was also one of the easier topics that we could discuss because there are so many different ways one could perform this in a mathematics classroom to see where their students are at before jumping into a unit. We discussed having a review period by going over notes and making sure the important materials were understood, having them answer an entrance slip, playing a game of jeopardy to see the knowledge they know, etc. Our prof also provided us with different examples of pre-assessment, found here, and diagnostic forms, found here, in which we could use in the future.
3) Contracts: This station was the one that caused our group the most difficulty for discussion. None of us has ever experienced contracts before nor knew how one would consider using it in a mathematics classroom. We couldn’t decide whether the contracts were meant for personal goals or for academic goals. We finally came to the conclusion that this wasn’t our favourite type of assessment to work with because it lays a lot of responsibility of the students to complete what is given. There are also different types of contracts out there and we were really confused on how to make one suitable for a math classroom. We liked the idea that it gave students the options on what they would like to achieve amongst the semester or let them choose the type of assignment/project/test/etc in which they would benefit the most from, but other than that we decided that it would be pretty difficult for us, as math teachers, to use these because there isn’t many options out there to assess math.
I actually did some exploring on contracts for a math setting and came across this website here. A teacher, Miss Foster, came up with the idea to have weekly homework contracts, I’m not entirely sure for which grade. Pretty much what it is are templates created with the homework questions assigned in them. It says when it needs to be done, what they should do and any other information they need to know. I believe that this could be a good contract to have with students. It shows that you’re organized and are keeping on top of things and it allows the students to be ontop of what they are learning and makes the teaching easier for you as well.
Overall, I really enjoyed this activity. It allowed me to increase my knowledge on different assessment tools. To be honest, at the beginning of the semester Tracy gave us a sheet with different types of assessment on it, we then had to give it a rating out of five (one being the lowest) on how comfortable and knowledgable we feel on the tools given. I gave both, Contracts and Pre-assessment/Diagnostic tools, a rating of two. After completing this activity, I would say my knowledge for the two is now at a level four. I would say I know what I’m talking about but I’m not a master at the topic.