Module 2 – Frameworks for Assessment of Student Learning
After going thru the first and second module, I realized the importance of assessment to improve both teaching and learning. Assessment is so much more than testing and grading. In fact, an effective assessment provides meaningful information. However, this meaningful information must be anchored on sound evidences. Hence, gathering of evidence is important, as well as the different components that make up the whole assessment, and how these components undergoes a cyclical process rather than a linear one.
Gathering of Evidence
The gathering of evidences is what strikes me most. Prior to learning this module, I thought that evidence of learning is gathered only from student’s output like their quizzes, assignment, examinations, research paper and other tangible works that student do. So in essence, evidence is the one we assess in order for us to give grade and to give feedback. But after going through this second module, there are just many other forms of evidences that are of importance too like evidences that are qualitative.
We need to be purposeful and intentional in doing assessment as the result of our assessment is meant to improve our instruction. Teacher needs to know the why’s, how’s, and when’s to gather evidence for effecting teaching. As to why, we have to gather evidences to help our student achieve deep or high level of thinking and for the continuous improvement of instruction. As to how, evidences are gathered thru observation and should be carefully planned into the lesson. Also, take note of spontaneous or on-the-fly indicators of learning. As to when, evidences are gathered on critical junctures, during an instructional task, at the end of the lesson, before students go to independent work, after a first draft during a lesson, after 15 minutes of independent problem solving, and other situation like observing or listening to students while they discuss with their partner, or discuss among themselves. So, it is like doing assessment all the time. The challenge now is how to develop a system that records all these evidences of learning, or how one captures evidence that we need for a particular assessment. What I learn here is that evidences need to be planned into the lesson so we will be more focus to capture the evidence that we need for a specific objective. Moreover, as teacher, we need to develop the skills necessary to integrate assessment seamlessly into our teaching. It helps to consciously review our intended learning goal/objectives and it would help a lot if we partner with colleagues (accountability partner) to learn more or practice improving our skills at gathering evidences.
Looking back from my own experience in teaching pre-schoolers, I adapted this system of using index card to take note of student learning. I used the index card to keep track of attendance and participation in class. I used to take note of students learning by writing what I think is important so I have something to write in their report card. The index card serves as my own reference but that just it, only as reference for giving grades. I failed to be more objective and intentional in using the index card as one assessment tool to improve my delivery too. Now, I will be more purposeful.
Another thing I learn from this module is the importance of using qualitative evidence. Yes, I must admit that I usually shun from giving feedbacks (in the form of writing) to student because I find it more difficult and tedious to put my assessment in words, much more communicate effectively. I am not the type who explains in details, or who can elaborate. That is why; giving quantitative grade is easier for me. But thru the lesson, I learn that qualitative evidences are just as important and therefore must not be ignored as these qualitative evidences are useful in connecting different types of data. Furthermore, there are also kinds of evidences that are given less or no interest at all. Example of this is perception. This kind of evidence is subjective; therefore needs more time to assess as each student have different takes on a particular subject/interest.
Components of Assessment
According to Westwinster website, there are four (4) fundamental elements of learner-centered assessment namely: 1) Formulating Statement of Intended Learning Outcome; 2) Developing or Selecting Assessment Measures; 3) Creating Experiences Leading to Outcomes; and 4) Discussing and Using Results to Improve Teaching and Learning. Among the four components, the last one tends to be overlooked or given little regards. Personally, I think teachers use assessment to improve or adjust their teaching but will not have enough time to discuss results with student. Assessment result in the form of general feedback to students like after quizzes/exams, reports, or project may be given by the teacher, but I think It is not enough given that assessment by definition have this goal of refining programs and improving both learning and teaching. With my own experience as learner, I don’t remember having discussion regarding result of an assessment with my former teacher/professor. As teacher to pre-school, I was not also aware of the importance of using assessment for learning though I usually give feedbacks to my student’s work. Hence, one consequence of not discussing and using results of assessment defeat the purpose of actually meeting your intended learning outcomes for the student. Similarly, there will be no improvement in your teaching and it will just be another one semester passed.
The assessment cycle follows a cyclical process. It is continuous and is integrated into the whole process. It is never meant to be a separate process. As shown in the figure below, the assessment cycle is made up of four main processes.
First, learning objectives are planned; second, learning outcomes are measured; third, learning outcomes are compared with the objectives; and last, program is redesign to improve learning. And the cycle continues as it seeks to provide better learning experience for both the teacher and the learners. In effect, learners are being help to maximize their learning potential as they progress in their level of thinking. Likewise, the teacher will be able to assess his/her teaching method to facilitate better learning experience in the class.
In summary, the framework of assessment includes gathering of sound evidences to help improve our teaching. It includes four different components that undergo a cyclical process. Assessment therefore is continuously done to improve teaching and learning.
Formative Assessment for Middle School: Gathering and Analyzing Evidence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhL_sQwGl5c&list=PL9s6JUcLAVlAf7tEFUOyw4QWH0HMzm-D5&index=40
Fundamental Components of Learner-Centered Assessment http://www.westminster.edu/academics/accreditation-assessment/definition.cfm