Blog Entry #5

Dear Lynnea,

I just have to tell about two videos I watched pertaining to assessment in mathematics! First of all, they were filmed in what looks like 90s, with their poofy hair, huge glasses, and out of date outfits. However, they did seem to give me some insight into how assessments can be quite valuable in a mathematics classroom. The first video I watched was called Teacher Insights 9-12 (High School), and it really opened up my eyes to see how assessment in mathematics should have been done in our high school years. If you watch the video you will see that assessment and evaluation is not just quizzes, tests, and homework assignments like we were given all throughout our high school mathematics, but students can actually be assessed on how well they work in groups (who knew you could work in groups in mathematics), self-assessing themselves to see what they understand and how they can adapt their learning so that they better understand concepts, and how they can show progress in their work. The first video really emphasized different teachers point of views on how they assess their students, whether it be through group tests, portfolios, student-teacher interviews, etc. This seemed quite unfamiliar for me to see in a mathematics classroom as I am sure you know we only ever got evaluated on how well we did on a test, never given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. I think this video would be a good one for you to watch because I know how much you enjoyed mathematics in high school and now that you also want to become a teacher, I think it would give you different ideas on how to assess your students. It is sort of a starting point and I am sure these teachers had to try a few things out before they found what worked best for them, but take a look and let me know how you feel about it.

The second video that I watched was called Beyond Testing and it sort of dealt with the same types of topics discussed in the first video, but focused more on how teachers can collect the evidence they need to assess students on and getting support from their administrators so that they can actually try out some of the new assessment strategies. I found it quite interesting in how involved the principal at the one school got. He sat down with the one mathematics teacher and discussed how she thought the assessment practices she was using were useful. I am not sure if any of our mathematics teachers ever did that, but I do know that we were never given the opportunity to show that we knew what we were learning other than through a test. Do you think we would have struggled more in mathematics if we were assessed differently, or benefitted from them? Do you think that our teachers would have had the time to try out all these types of assessments that I talked about from the first video on our class because we were always in split classes, so we never got the full attention of our teacher. It would be interesting to see how the teachers in these videos would adapt their methods to fit a class that contained five grade 11 students and 9 grade 12 students. I do not think that their group work would be as effective, also the group discussions would be kind of difficult as both groups would not be covering the same material.

Anyways, I encourage you to take a look at both of these videos, it is kind of neat to watch something completely different from what we experienced in high school.




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