Chapter 7 focuses on examples of how to involve students in assessment for learning. The examples that are used do not focus on strictly one subject area, but give a perspective from each subject. Each subject has a different way to involve students in creating criteria, but ultimately has the same focus— having students take part in the process.
This chapter was excellent in showing many examples of what assessment for learning looks like; however, something I did notice was that there was never any mention of how long it took for these teachers and students to come up with the criteria they used. I am curious to know how long each of them took, whether or not the teachers used these techniques more than once throughout the semester and whether or not they were successful. Sometimes I feel as though this textbook paints a pretty picture of what everything should look like and does not often mention if teachers struggled with these types of assessment, or if they felt they took up a lot of time, or if they recommend that teachers use this type of assessment quite frequently. It would be nice to read about assessment tools that did not necessarily work the first time, but then the teacher explained how they improved it and learned through their own experience. Knowing that soon I will be a first year teacher scares me enough as it is and so I am wondering whether or not these types of assessment are recommended for first year teachers, or more experienced teachers who do not feel as stressed because they have a few more years under their belts. Should I be trying these as soon as I am done university, or do I wait until I have had more experience in the classroom?
Chapter 8 discusses how it is important for students to collect evidence of their work throughout a semester so that they can see their growth as the class progresses. Davies provides many examples throughout the chapter of how to collect evidence for students and parents to see the progress that is made and to be able to justify it with a collection of the work they did. Davies emphasizes the importance of this type of assessment as it allows students to become involved with what they are being assessed on. It also gives students the opportunity to choose what they want as evidence, whether it be pieces to show growth, their best pieces, or pieces they are proud of.
I think this chapter was extremely useful to read, it may have even been the best one to read! This to me emphasized what I had been questioning all along, how much is too much assessment and evaluation and how to keep track of students’ progress without overwhelming myself with tons of marking! Having students keep pieces of evidence that shows their own learning growth will not only save me time as teacher, but will actually allow students to pay attention to their own growth. My grade eleven English teacher had us keep all of our pieces of writing in one portfolio so that she could see what we had completed and also tracked it to see if we had improved. However, towards the end of the semester she forgot about them and I lost track of my own growth as a student because she no longer emphasized what we needed to put into our portfolios. Having had that experience and not realizing at the time how important that could have been in my writing abilities, I now think that I will use this type of assessment to make sure my students can see their growth through evidence they provide in their portfolios. The only thing I am hung up on is whether or not I tell them what to put into their portfolios, or if I leave it up to them to choose what they think is important. Maybe doing a bit of both would be most beneficial for both the students and me.