Miss. Hillary Strain

Assessments

I don’t have any memorable experience of assessment in any of my high school math classes.  All of my teachers stuck to two different methods of assessment, summative assessment (which in my high school math class consisted of end of unit test, or a final exam at the end of the year) and also the odd formative assessment (which consisted of very few hand in assignment and quizzes).  Typically, the summative assessments were weighted a lot higher (around 20%-30%) of my final grade, so I spent a lot of time focusing on succeeding and doing well on those tests.  The formative assessments were weighted quite lower (only 10%-15%) so I never really took any of those quite seriously.  Looking back at my experience through assessment in high school, I realized that if they did any other ways of assessing, like a journal or a presentation or something out of the ordinary, I think that I would have had a better experience.  I was so used to the basic tests and all that I never really saw the importance of getting assessed.  Now that I have taken a few education classes, I realize that my teacher did do a little more than just those types of assessment, but they were more observation and participation types of things that didn’t really stand out for me.

During class this week, one of our activities was to research a type of assessment strategy and present it to a group of classmates.  I got assigned to learn about Exit Slips. When I first realized that I got assigned this strategy, I was a little disappointed because it is kind of self-explanatory and I figured I wouldn’t learn anything.  I was a little wrong because I did learn something! An Exit Slip, is typically a written response to one of more questions(s) that a teacher will ask his or her students at the end (the reason why it’s called exit) of a class or lesson.  The question(s) that it poses are usually about what they have learnt throughout the class and it will usually take the student at least five minutes to complete.  Since an exit slip is always used at the end of the lesson, a teacher will usually give the students a small slip of paper that contains the questions/activity that he or she wants them to complete.  It can also be written on the board, or even emailed to the students’ parents to be completed at home.  There are many advantages and disadvantages to having exit slips as an assessment strategy.  The advantages are that they allow the teacher to see where the students are at with the material that they are learning, it allows the teacher to self-evaluate and make changes to their teaching style/make adaptations to their lesson to suit the needs of the students and it also allows the students to reflect on what they have learnt to see their level of understanding.  Some disadvantages are that since it is a very brief activity and is at the end of the lesson, the students are usually very eager to get out of the classroom so they might not take the activity seriously/not give you enough information about what they’ve learnt for you to properly evaluate them.  Also, students may also just not complete the activity or not put their name, so you as a teacher won’t know who needs help or how to change your methods to help your students.

I learnt about many different types of assessment from my group members but there are two types that stood out to me. Portfolios and Self-Assessment.

My group member Kaylyn did her research on Portfolios.  Portfolios are a collection of students’ work that are usually used to show their progress over time.  There are many different types of portfolios, two that we discussed were that they can be done on paper or online.  They can also be done for just one specific class or for many different classes.  This is a good strategy to use to show the individual’s work throughout the semester, it can include any assignments, either poor or really well done, to show their progress and growth.  Kaylyn told us that a teacher shouldn’t use a portfolio without an end goal in mind.  If there is no purpose for putting it together, then all the stress and work wouldn’t be worth it.  There are also many advantages and disadvantages towards portfolios. Some advantages are that they help the students self-reflect and self-evaluate on the projects that they have done.  Portfolios are also very flexible for the students because they are allow to decide what they want to include in it or not.  They also allow the students to set goals, which will make them work harder and be more successful in the end.  Some disadvantages to portfolios are the following:  it takes a lot of time for you, as a teacher, to plan and make sure the right intentions of the project are getting across. It is also very hard to assign a grade to it because it is hard to judge a students’ own personal opinion and what they believe good progress is.

Courtney did her research on self-assessment. Self-assessment’s definition is kind of self explanatory, it is the student assessing themselves on their work.  It allows the students to reflect on their own learning and to confirm, consolidate and integrate any new knowledge that he or she has obtained.  Self assessment can also be used to inform the teacher where the students believe they are at in the learning, and it can also be used for submitting as a grade as well.  Not only do students self-assess, teachers can self-assess as well on how their lesson went and what they think is effective or not.  There are also many advantages and disadvantages that come with self-assessment.  Some advantages are that it allows the students to monitor their own learning and to have a clear understanding of where they are at.  It also makes the students look over the criteria that they are given which can lead to a better outcome with their projects/assignments.  Some disadvantages are that it puts a lot of work on the student and makes it difficult because they may not end up doing it.  Also, a student may not understand what the criteria is all about if the teachers don’t explain it properly.  A final, a big disadvantage, is that the students may mark themselves really high and give them a good mark thinking that the teacher isn’t assessing them.

Before taking a teacher’s view on these types of performance assessments, I never did understand the value and purpose of them.  I always thought that they were a waste of time and I hated doing them.  Now that I am going to be a teacher, I realize that these are very important to do because it doesn’t focus on the end point of the project, it also focuses on the progress of how the student got there and takes that into account.  These types of assessment allows the teacher to see where all of their students are at in the lesson/projects, it allows them to see if anyone needs any extra help or attention and it also allows them to make any adjustments if needed.  This is also a very good way for the teacher to communicate with the students without them really knowing it.  Not only do they allow the students to set goals, work hard and keep the teacher on track, these types of assessments are ideal for one to keep in mind when they are doing the final assessment.  This way they can realize the progress/improvements the students have done and see if the changes they have done/help they have given were useful for the students.

 

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