Assessment at its best!

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.

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3 Responses to Assessment at its best!

  1. Mark Regnier says:

    Hey Cindy!

    I really appreciate your opinion on differentiated assessment in the classroom to address the wide variety of learners we are seeing in the classroom. During my Internship, I was able experiment with different forms of assessing what my students know. If I had a choice I would completely move away from exams and leave it open to students to choose how they would like to be assessed. However, I was presented with a troubling problem that I think many teachers are faced with: How can we completely move away from uniform assessment, when all of the post-secondary courses, training programs, certification programs all use uniform assessment (exams) as the method of proving what you know? Are we really preparing them for the future, if we are not helping them prepare for the assessments they will see later on? What do you think?

  2. Cindy Bear says:

    Thanks Mark! I totally agree with your comment about not being able to completely move away from the uniform assessments that these students will have to face after they leave high school. We are trying to prepare them for better learning while they are in school but this is almost hindering their ability as they move on into various educational programs. In a way, it is almost backwards. I feel that if we are learning this in University to teach in the schools, then why isn’t this being implemented at the University level?? Possibly something that should be taken up at a higher educational level in the province, maybe the government levels!

  3. Sorry Cindy, did I miss the link to the article?

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