Miss. Hillary Strain

Archive for the category “Reading Responses”

Chapters 7 and 8

Chapter 7

Summary: Davies begins the chapter by explaining that daily involvement in classroom assessment builds a strong foundation for students’ learning. She proceeds to give many examples of different classroom situations that include different types of assessment that the students are included in. One can easily assess by having conversations about students of their expectations of a certain task, whether it is about cleaning up, about reading out loud or creating a rubric in specified subject areas. This way, students will know the expectations of the task and will be able to act accordingly.

Connection/Critique: I didn’t really enjoy this chapter for two reasons, 1) I couldn’t relate to it what so ever and 2) I feel like in a way it wouldn’t even apply to me when I am teaching.  I think it is great if a teacher takes the time to explain to the students how they are going to get assessed/what they should do/get their contributions to the way they are getting assessed, but I don’t know of hardly any teachers who actually do this.  It is clear from the readings, examples my prof and classmates have given in class, and different experiences I hear from my friends that co-creating a rubric with your students ends up being very successful and it’ll be an easier time for your teaching experience. I did a bit of exploration on including students and found the following website, click here, it explains the reasons why it is important to include students in creating a rubric and some benefits from doing so.  Like in the reading, another way one can do so is by simply creating a “T-chart” or have students brainstorm together and create some guidelines for you, as a teacher, to make the final copy of the assessment tool.  This way, students will understand that their thoughts and ideas will be included and will know a basic guideline for what the expectations are.

Chapter 8

Summary: This chapter focused on collecting, organizing and presenting evidence of a students’ learning. Throughout the chapter, Davies explains four key points that will allow this process to be easier for one to accomplish in their classroom: Keep the process simple, involve students, help students and parents value the evidence, and reconsider evidence collections.  She also explains that it is important for not only you as a teacher, but for your students to self monitor and keep tract of their learning experiences so that in the end you can compare your observations together.

Connection/Critique: I really enjoyed this chapter! This has always been something that I have wondered about throughout my past few years of university. How do I keep track of all the little observations and little assessments that I do in class? How often should I do this? How can I make it easier for me? This chapter allowed me to see the importance of including the students in this process.  Before you can allow your student to partake in self-assessmnet, you must explain to them the expectations and reasons why you need them to do so.  Also, near the end of the chapter, it explain many different ways you can keep your assessments organized by creating portfolios and/or journals for each student or the class that you are assessing.  This way, your notes and tools will be organized and kept in a tidy place for easy access. My prof is big on including us in creating rubrics for our projects and I have this feeling that since she is very knowledgable in the assessment area, that she is constantly assessing us through observation, participation or just keeping random notes on behaviour.  She is also getting us to self-assess our blogs and different activities that we have done in the class.  This is allowing me to experience first hand what it is like to get guidance from a teacher and to experience aiding in creating a rubric as a student/future teacher.


Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5

Summary: Anne begins the chapter by explaining that there are three different types of evidence that we can use for assessment; observation (presentations, students work ethics, students conversing amongst each other of the topic, etc and making sure that you record what you are seeing as you witness it), conversation (listening in on students conversing amongst each other, listening and discussing self evaluation, talking about what they have learnt, etc), and collection of products (assignments, projects, tests, etc). These three types form a triangulation. She then continues to explain that the evidence you collect must be reliable and valid in order to be successful and not fail to prove your conclusions that you have made.

Connection/Critique: From what I’ve come to realize in my own personal experience being an intern/pre-service teacher is that you are constantly assessing/evaluating whether you realize it or not. The three different types of examples they gave in the reading today are exactly what I have noticed I’ve used while I was in the classroom but it hasn’t really came to my attention what exactly I was doing.  While you are teaching, you are evaluating your students by observing who asks questions, who answers the questions you ask, the looks on their faces, etc.  While you are monitoring the students as they work you can see who is understanding and who is struggling with the concept. There are many other ways a teacher can evaluate without even knowing it, which can be good evidence for future events that may occur.  In my Ed French class I took, we learnt a type of assessment/evidence keeper in order to keep track of these little things that happen in a classroom.  They’re called anecdotal records.  A teacher can have a section for each of her students and make little notes about how they were doing during the class that day.  My questions are, how do we know what exactly to record because we don’t want to have evidence every little thing? how much evidence do we take per student per class?  In the book it does answer some of these questions but it is mainly our own personal preference on how much we keep and what type of evidence that we would like to support our decisions, but I am curious to know which has been the most effective for teachers and what would be the best way to approach this subject.  I guess I will be learning more and making my own opinions of evidence as I spend more time in the classroom.

Chapter 6

Summary:  This chapter focuses on involving the students in classroom assessment and many different ways a teacher can do so.  One can do this by letting them help create the rubric, getting them to self-assess and see where they can improve instead of just getting feedback from the teacher, giving them more descriptive feedback so they have  a better idea of what they need to improve on and most importantly, setting goals for success.  Anne then continues to elaborate on the importance of the students knowing how they can show evidence of their own learning.  They can do this by creating a blog or a journal and write about their experiences, or they can present to the class or teacher what they have came to realize what they’ve learnt during the session.

Connection: In many of my classes the main topic we talk about is how technology is becoming a big part of the classroom and even our every day lives.  Many of my profs have talked about having a blog for your classroom to keep your parents up to date and even having your students create their own blog/have a page on your blog assigned to each of your students.  Many of my profs have brought up the idea of getting students to blog/journal about their experience in the classroom/what they have learnt/what they realized/what they liked and didn’t like/etc.  This way they are able to self reflect and self-assess their abilities and also are able to give feedback to the teacher on who they are doing.  I had very few experiences with self assessment and taking place in the development of the rubric, but from what I remember they were never taken too seriously and it probably ended up being just a waste of time for our teacher thinking back on it now.

Critique: I have mixed feelings about involving students in assessment.  From my own experience as a student, I remember when we had to self/peer assess with our classmates, we never took it seriously.  We always gave each other good marks because that is what we wanted and we never really took the time to read the criteria that needed to be met.  Also, when teachers take the time to include students they might not get the points across that they are hoping for.  I understand that there are guidelines that a teacher would probably follow and even include some of his or her own points and guide the students while creating them, but if a teacher doesn’t write down exactly what the student says it could create a bit of drama.  I agree that it is important to include students in any aspect of your lesson/assessment/anything you do in your classroom because they need to be involved and understand what is going on. But what I am confused and have mixed feelings about is how can you make sure you are all on the same page?  Students will have a different understanding and expectations than you would as a teacher, so how can you make sure to emphasize the importance of taking certain things seriously?


Chapters 3 and 4

Chapter 3

Summary: Anne begins the chapter by explaining that if a teacher doesn’t understand the expectations of an assignment then the students will be confused as well, she also explains that each student learns at a different rate and all have different learning styles as well.  Anne then continues to explain what a learning destination is.  She elaborates the importance of making sure the parents, students and anyone who is taking part in the class knows what outcomes are going to be reached in the unit and what the students will be doing.

Connection: I remember in my high school days, my teacher would always keep us students in the loop to where we were headed with our lessons. This way, whether it was a final project or an exam, we could make notes and keep on top of things so we were organized in the end and weren’t always asking our teacher what was going on.  Not once during my high school career I had a teacher send home a note explaining what was going on or what would be the end goal/things accomplished during that unit.  Perhaps during elementary school it happened because those years are more important to get a good learning “base”, but never once were the parent informed in any way during my high school experience.

Critique: I agree and disagree with this chapter.  I understand the importance of making sure you as a teacher knows the assignments so that the student will clearly understand it too, but what I don’t understand is why would a teacher do something that they can’t comprehend and give it to their students to figure out?  That doesn’t sound like a responsible teacher in my eyes.  As for the learning destination, I believe that it’s important for the students to understand where things are going.  As stated above, I knew that at the end of the unit I would have either a test or a project and I could keep that in mine while we were learning things day by day.  What I think though, it might be a little difficult to let the parents know each time you begin a new unit, how things are going to be.  Unless a teacher has a blog with the assignments and end goal, it might be a little hard to send out a letter each time something comes around.  I understand that parents need to stay in the loop of what their kids are doing, but maybe the kids could keep them updated instead of the teachers responsibility from time to time.

Chapter 4

Summary: In the beginning of this chapter, Anne continues to explain how students vary in their learning process and style.  She then explains to us the importance of including examples and samples of previous assignments done so that students can have a “starting base” for their work and know where they should be headed for their final results, or can be used to help make up new criteria for their project.  She elaborates off those ideas and continues to say how showing students sample work, or even keeping old work of current students work, can be a great way for the students to see their progress and how they grew over the learning period/compare to where they should be.

Connection: We had this exact discussion in class this past week.  Lots of us agreed that it would be a great idea to show samples, this way the students know where they need to be headed and won’t feel lost while trying to figure out what to do.  My teacher Tracy even said that she has done this before and she gets a lot of great feedback and it helps her students take more time and effort into the project and helps her as a teacher as well.  The only downside to this that we came up with was that showing students samples/examples of previous work is that it will diminish the creativity and imagination of students.  Since they are given an example, they might feel like their work needs to be a lot like that in order to get a good grade.  What a teacher should do here is encourage the students to use this as a guideline, still make the project their own way.

Critique: I loved this chapter.  I am all for showing examples/sample assignments just to make sure each student is on the right page.  Each student wonders what his/her teachers expectations are for the assignment given, so what better way to show your expectations than to provide your students with previous years projects to see where they should be headed. The only difficult situation about this is if you were a first year teacher.  How can one provide examples/samples of things when they have never taught before?  I am guessing one could talk to other teachers and get their help but mainly one will have to wait after a few years of teaching in order to have their own examples.

Chapters 1, 2, 11

Chapter One

Summary: Chapter one begins by explaining the difference between assessment and evaluation, assessment being “when one gathers information about student learning that informs our teaching and helps students learn more”, and evaluating being “we decide whether or not students have learned what they needed to learn and how they will have learned it.”  Anne Davies then proceeds to explain what assessment for learning involves and goes on to provide us with an example of a research project and how to properly assess it until we reach out final results of what we’ll be evaluating.  The assessment in this assignment is focused on many different kinds of assessment that one can use as well as making sure that the students take part in the planning of the criteria in which they will be evaluated with.

1) Begin by thinking about what yuo have read so far. Has it confirmed some things for you? Did you realize you were already doing some of this? Did it remind you of anything you had forgotten? As I read this chapter, I came across many great ways that one can assess in a classroom.  I have only had two field placements so far in my University career so far and only was able to teach during one of them.  One of the examples of assessment that I can remember throughout my fieldwork was one that my co-op used last year.  After phys. ed, my co-op would ask her students to rate their participation on a scale of 1-5, one being the lowest (not partaking in activities nor helping clean up) and 5 being the highest (putting full effort into the class and helping set up and clean up).  When she received their feedback she would then go on to change the marks depending on what she thought but keeping in mind what they thought. This was great to see how well the students thought they did during the lesson and seeing her feedback and making the changes accordingly.   This process made me realize that I need to be more aware of the little types of assessment that could be very beneficial in the long run.  I could even use this scale technique during a lesson to see how well the students are understanding and coping with the material they are learning.   Also during the reading, she states the importance of including the students in creating the criteria of the assessment and taking part in it as well.  I believe that this could be very challenging but important as well.  This way the students will know what exactly the expectations of the assignment is and will be easier for them to be able to succeed.

2) Record something you would like to learn more about. Talk with someone else about your thinking. Well I am hoping that whoever is still following me will be my “someone” to talk about my thinkings.  What I am wanting to learn more about is how to make group work more efficient and learn more about peer assessment/including the students in creating the rubric.  I remember in my high school days and even some students in my last placement I did that group work was not some people’s cup of tea.  One person always ends up doing the most work and when the peer assessment comes along, the group mark in the end gets affect/the person who doesn’t do all the work gets upset with the mark that reflects theirs. Something that I am wondering is How can we efficiently monitor the group work of students? How can we make sure that one student isn’t always doing all the work and the work is distributed evenly?

Chapter Two

Summary: Chapter two begins by explaining that in order to have good assessment/evaluation practices in your classroom, you must create  an open, safe, and comfortable classroom environment that students will be willing to attend. This way the students will feel better about the place they are in and will be more willing to open up and talk about their opinions on things.  Anne then proceeds to emphasize on the importance of different types of feedback and taking time to communicate with students to ensure everyone is on the same page with evaluation and understand where the teacher is coming from with the steps of assessment.  She also states that it is important to get everyone involved, from your students to their parents, just to ensure that no one is confused or doesn’t understand the teacher’s point of view of how she is going to assess the assignment.

1) Think of a time when you learned something successfully. Make some notes about what you learned, when and where you learned it, who helped you, how they helped, and what kind of feedback you got. Talk with others about your experiences. I remember in one of my high school math classes I was struggling to understand a concept that we were learning about during class.  My teacher always told us when his prep classes were, he stayed at school during lunch hour and after school for extra help if we ever needed it. Well I tried on my own and with my friends to try and comprehend what was going on but I just couldn’t do it.  I finally decided to spend my lunch hour with my teacher to get his help.  He showed me many different types of ways to solve the problem and I couldn’t catch on to the concept.  At this point, we were both getting frustrated.  The lunch hour ended and we didn’t get anywhere.  So, I went to him for help afterschool and that was the time I finally got it! He ended up having to break it the solution down step by step. We spent time at each step to ensure I understood what was going on before we went on to the next step and after about half an hour, I understood what went on!  We were both so excited! He screamed, gave me a high five, and I could tell that he was really happy that I went for him to help and that I finally got it.  I’m wondering if anyone else have had this experience? Or if they have had this experience with one of their students?

2) Build a common list of the kinds of feedback you found supportive for your learning. Talk about the implications for your students’ learning and your teaching. Some feedback that I found supportive was my teacher’s excitement, the grades I got back from assignments/tests, I received both positive and negative feedback which helped me grow and even just the way my teacher would help and present things to me.   I believe that feedback is one of the most important things you can give to a student and even something you can receive as a teacher.  When you give back a students assignment or test, you should write comments on what you think of their work. Students benefit from comments on their work, whether it is positive or negative, they grow as learners and it helps them realize that you are there to help.  It is even beneficial for the teacher to get feedback from their students.  A teacher should get their students to write comments about what they think of the way the lesson was approached.  If it made sense, if something could be changed, if she should continue using this method in the future, etc.  This way the teacher can reflect and grow and improve their way of teaching.

3) Take time to reflect. How can you use this information to help your students learn more? How can you begin to give up responsibility for being the main source of feedback in the classroom? How can you create opportunities for students to get feedback for themselves that helps their learning?  This is a tough question for me to respond to considering I haven’t had much experience in the classroom let alone assessing.  Something that a teacher could do is get students used to self-assessing and even assessing the teacher every day. Even if it is by just using a scale method or by writing a sentence about what they learned or what can be improved or how they they think they are doing, this could be a good place to start.  Students will then be able to take the chance to realize where they stand with the information that they have learnt, could help the teacher improve his or her lesson or even help their peers improve as well.

Chapter Eleven

Summary: This chapter was all about building your own learning circle.  It gave many strategies on how to create a good learning network and how one can benefit from being in one.  Creating a learning circle with your colleagues, friends or anyone in the same profession can help you get different perspectives, tips, or any help that you need to make your teaching learning journey easier.


Getting Started


Hi Everyone!

Just thought I’d give a brief summary about what this page is all about.  Throughout the semester I will be reading chapters from Anne Davies, Ph.D’s book Making Classroom Assessment Work.  On this page you will see a short summary of the chapters that I have read, a connection to the class or other content that I know of, and a critique of the chapter to how these ideas will impact my teaching practice.  Let me know what you guys feel based on the information that I present!

– Hillary

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