This article is exactly what I needed this weekend as I struggle with ideas on not only how to use assessment in the classroom but actual ideas of what I can assess in the classroom. Up until now my learning has been based on subject areas and lesson plans. We have discussed in numerous classes how teachers are not giving grades and are using various kinds of assessment to back this up, of course this basically only could work until grade 10 in Saskatchewan. I struggled with this as I had a class last semester that was a pass/fail class. I found this a little frustrating because I have grown up with having marks on everything that I did in school. There was always a number attached to my work. I did learn a valuable lesson though because my professor gave me more useful feedback on work I submitted that I understood and could work on. After all isn’t that all we want, is to improve ourselves.
I now see assessment as a way to motivate students in their learning and make it meaningful to them. Proper assessment in the classroom is essential in targeting a variety of learners in the class. By allowing students the opportunity to be able to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways is crucial in the classroom. No two students are the same, and therefore we shouldn’t be teaching or evaluating them the same. This article really made me rethink my grading philosophy, not only for Aboriginal students, but for all students.
I think we can ensure that assessments should benefit students rather than penalizing them. By encouraging students to complete the work rather than penalizing them completely if it is turned in late. How can a student understand if he is learning something if you give him a low mark just because he handed it in late. Students are still struggling with their time management skills, trying to balance school, work, family and friends. It is important to teach the students life skills while in the classroom, for example, second chances. Everyone deserves a second chance and hopefully the students can take that life lesson with them into their adult life and return the favour to someone else. I believe as a teacher that you have to make what you think is the right decision for every student. This may be different for everyone as you get to know your students but will be worth it for them and how they feel about themselves.