Blog Entry #4

In high school I never knew that there was other forms of assessment besides tests and quizzes. However, my grade 11 mathematics 20 class introduced to me something new. I had a new teacher fresh out of university who was hired to teach all the high school mathematics courses. He started his very first class with us doing what seemed like this really simple quiz full of questions that came from the mathematics 10 course. I finished it quite quickly thinking to myself that this seemed like a silly way to begin the year. But as I finished up the quiz, I noticed that some of my classmates were having some troubles with it and that this new teacher was going around the classroom to help my fellow classmates solve the quiz. Once the bell rang we handed in the quiz to him and that was last we heard about it. The next day we jumped into the mathematics 20 course and began learning as we always did, the teacher stood up at the board and wrote notes, expecting us to copy them down word for word and making sure to stop him when we did not understand a concept. It has not been until lately that I realize what this new teacher was doing with that first day quiz, he was pre-assessing where his students were to know where they excel and where they need some help to improve upon. I think because I never knew what his intentions were for this quiz I had just seen it as a waste of time. If he had been more explicit about why he was making us do it I might have had a greater appreciation for it and him in the end.

There was not too much that I had not already known about self-assessment, it is when students reflect on their own learning and give themselves a mark based on criteria that is provided by the teacher. Some self-assessments are used for grades, while others are just used for the teacher to see where each individual student is at. I found that there are a pretty even amount of advantages as well as disadvantages. Some advantages of using self-assessment are: they allow student to monitor their own learning, they help teachers better understand where their students are at, and they make students reflect and connect with the criteria that is given to them. Some disadvantages are: they put a lot of the work load on students shoulders and some students may not bother with it, they need to be modelled correctly so that students understand what is being asked of them more clearly, and students with often mark themselves higher in hoping that their grade with be higher because they do not think that the teacher will also be assessing them. Self-assessments should go alongside teacher evaluations so that if their are any discrepancies between the teacher and the student, both have evidence to support their reasoning. I found a really good example on the internet for a daily self-assessment that students could use in mathematics, it can be found here.

Kaylyn researched portfolios and they were something that I had heard about, but not something I was completely familiar with. She described portfolios has having many different forms but the main purpose of the them was to collect students for the possibility to show student progress over time. They help students self-reflect and flexible enough that students can pick what they want to include in them. Setting goals is a way to track the students progress as it happens and it gives students a chance to discuss their progress with the teacher. However, they can take a lot of time to plan, evaluating them can be kind of tricky and they can be quite disorganized. They are helpful to use when wanting to track student progress, show students processes and products and they are great to show for employment.

Emily researched rating scales and rubrics, separating the two because though they were similar in some areas, they differed in many other areas. Rating scales are a tool used to assess the performance of a task, process, quality, skill levels, etc. They are similar to checklists but determine the degree of accomplishments. Teachers make qualitative judgements where the descriptive word is more important. Some advantages to them are: they are quick and easy to fill out, they are easy to design, they describe students mastery of content, and they give information for students to set goals. Some disadvantages are: they are highly subjective and they can be unreliable as people as people can interpret the ratings differently. They are good to use for self or peer assessment and self-reflections for teachers. You cannot use them for tests and should not use them to compare students. Rubrics are a set of criteria used to assess or evaluate student performance. They have a consistent fixed measurement and focus on quality rather than quantity. Students can use them as a guideline and teachers can use them as a guideline for quality student reference. They can be easily modified and allow students to see the progression of their learning. Teachers can have students involved in the process of creating them and they enable self-reflection for students. There can be difficulty in determining the set of criteria and are used for more group work.

Each of these performance-based assessment involve students in their own learning as they have to take the time to reflect on their processes and progress throughout a class. They are meaningful for both students and teachers as they track both how the students complete their work, as well as how the teacher sees that work being completed. Though they have some minor disadvantages to them, the advantages to them provide students with multiple ways of meaningful descriptive feedback, allowing them to progress further in their work.

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