My philosophy of assessment and evaluation has changed throughout this semester due to this class (ECS 410) and my pre-internship experience. I thought I knew a little about assessment but this class showed me there is so much more to it than I thought. Also, now I know the difference between assessment and evaluation, at the start of the semester I definitely thought they were the same thing. Assessment is so important for teachers and students I am glad we were able to have the opportunity to take a class on assessment.
People assume that there are only tests and quizzes in math and I think for many math teachers that is the only option. I have learned from this class though that there are many forms of assessment and we should be using them in math classes to help students succeed. My philosophy now is that diagnostics should be done at the beginning of every unit and should never be for marks. Then teachers can refer back to the diagnostic throughout the semester and it gives students a chance to demonstrate to teachers what they know and what they can improve on. I rarely ever did diagnostics in high school but this is something I want to incorporate into my classroom.
This class opened my eyes to formative assessment. Not everything needs to be for marks and I think students and parents need to realize that. From my field experience it seemed like teachers were pressured to put marks into Home Logic. Formative assessment is very important because it gives teachers a chance to see where students are and as a class, where they should go from there. Overall my philosophy has changed a lot this semester and I am sure will change as I gain more experience in the classroom.
There was a variety of assessment strategies that I tried during my pre-internship, here is three different ones that my partner and I tried.
Quiz – A check in to make sure students understand the work and not only doing it with peers. For many students, their marks between the homework and the quiz differed quite a bit. I would use the quiz again but change the wording because many students misread the question. Maybe next time I would bold or underline key words. This was a good check in for the unit because we were able to see where students were going wrong and what we needed to address before moving on.
Mid-Chapter Review: A multiple choice review, but students needed to show their work, they could not just select an answer. I would use this assignment again. I liked the format of this assignment, leaving blank space for students. I gave more time for students if they needed it and most of them did need extra time. I guided them through some questions; they knew how to do it but needed help getting there.
Co-op had a rule that students could correct assignments, hand them back in and get half marks for the corrections. I think that is a good idea, because students would have motivation to do the corrections and see where they went wrong.
Chocolate cake challenge: Formative assessment (assessment by observation). Jon and I walked around the classroom while students did the activity. We saw most students engaged but still found that sometimes only one person in the partnership did the work. I really enjoyed the activity though and would do the activity again. It gave students a chance to figure out for themselves where the formula came from. It was a neat experience because when I was in high school we were for sure just given the formula and told to plug in a number.
I did not include students in assessment though. I would include students if I was doing a project, I would include them in the process of creating a rubric for the project. My assessment and evaluation practices in the field aligned with my philosophy. There were no real barriers that I had during pre-internship. My partner and I had the same ideas of what kinds of assessment we wanted to do. Our co-operating teachers had some requirements (unit tests, projects, quizzes) but we were able to design them ourselves if we wanted to.
3 Key Learnings:
- Tests are not the only option, that being said I don’t think there will be a day where high school students won’t have finals. There are such a variety of assessment strategies (group tests, diagnostic, journals, take home tests, projects, assignments, etc.) but I still feel like most math teachers still only use tests and quizzes for assessment strategies. I honestly do not know how to be the only teacher using a variety of assessment strategies. It might take students some getting used to because they probably aren’t used to different styles of assessment.
- Consistent marking is everything. Teachers need to keep their marking consistent for everything they correct. I think having an outline of where the marks are coming from for each question can help with that.
- Differentiation is not always easy but it is so important. Before the semester started I really was not sure how to differentiate in the classroom. From doing assignments, talking about it in class and my field experience I feel like I have a better understanding of how to differentiate.