Interview – ECS 410

 

As of right now my philosophy of assessment and evaluation is still a work in progress, but it has definitely changed since the beginning of the course. I think it will take a bit more teaching experience and chances to experiment with assessment and evaluation until I have a more solidified philosophy. However, I do believe that assessment and evaluation should be a constant, on-going practice. This is essential, as our students have to right to know how they are doing in their classes. These constant assessments and evaluations do not always need to be for grades or for summative purposes. To me, these on-going assessments can be observations, conversations, homework checks, etc. I do believe that there is a time and a place for summative assessments. In my teaching practice, I would like to move away from summative assessments always being a test. Moving to a more project based practice would be ideal – to me, this shows more knowledge and understanding than writing a test. I also believe in differentiated assessment. I plan to differentiate by offering student choice in assessment methods, giving adapted or modified assessments, and allowing accommodations for doing tests and assignments. A large part of my philosophy comes from Davies’ book. She states, “To ensure success for all learners, especially those who struggle, students need to know what they already know, what needs to be learned and what success looks like”, to me, this is the only way it is fair for our students to have an authentic and successful learning career. By giving students descriptive feedback and using assessment for learning, I hope to ensure student improvement.

During my field experience I used a lot of formative assessments and a few summative assessments. Most of the formative assessment involved me walking around the classroom while students were working on assignments or projects. I also took in numerous homework checks and wrote comments on them, but did not enter them for marks. Finally, one formative assessment that I learned in ECS 410 that I used worked really well. While doing a lesson on rotational symmetry my grade 9 math classes used mini whiteboards. I was amazed at how they used them and how willing they were to participate with them. I used two summative assessments with my grade 9 classes – a project and a unit test. The project was based off a rubric as well as a peer and self-evaluation. The students were marked on a presentation, the math used in their project, proportions and scale, and their peer and self-assessments. The students participated admirably in the peer and self-assessments. When it came to marking this project, I never took into consideration how much time it took to average and add the peer and self-assessments, it ended up working out in the end, but it took a little bit of thinking as to how to figure out the grades effectively. In my classes there were not any known needs for differentiation. Out of my entire field experience that is one thing I would’ve liked to change about my teaching. All my assessments were pretty standard for every student. This is the biggest discrepancy between my teaching practice and my philosophy. But, I think when you have your own classroom and you know the kids better it will be easier to implement and also think about the best ways to differentiate for those specific learners. My cooperating teacher never talked about any needs for differentiation, so this caused me to not have to think about it either. Looking back, I should’ve taken the time to consider these aspects. I think by having a deeper, in-depth conversation with my coop as well as the other teachers that teach my students, reading CUM files, and having one-on-one conversations with my students will allow me to minimize this discrepancy during internship.

My 3 key learnings are:

  1. The value of descriptive feedback and formative assessment: this was new to me this semester and was never provided to my in high school. I think that by providing descriptive feedback it allows students to push themselves and raise their standards of their quality of work. It also allows them to know what you’re looking for in their assignments and where they may have went wrong. Not everything needs to be for marks. Sometimes it’s nice for students to have a chance to fix things before it is permanently graded.
  2. I Can Statements: this was also new to me this semester. I feel that if we make the I Can statements apparent to students before we teach them the content, they can they go over the I Can statement and know exactly where they are completed and what they need to work on more
  3. Checking your ego at the door: my last key learning doesn’t really have anything to do with assessment. But, this saying really resonated with me throughout the semester. It really is all about the students and as teachers we need to recognize that. If I am able to keep this in mind, I feel, my students will be more successful and willing to learn.
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Bonus & Completion Marks

During preinternship there were a variety of different assessment methods used by both my partner and I, as well as our cooperating teacher. The main aspect of the assessment I had questions and wondered about was giving bonus marks. When I was in high school, if we completed our assignments and review, we were given two bonus marks on our unit tests. But, then the rules changed and teachers weren’t allowed to give bonus marks anymore. So, our reviews were then out of five marks and entered separately from our tests. This didn’t adjust our marks as drastically as having a test work 102% – which we weren’t happy about.

My cooperating teacher would put bonus questions on tests. The electronic grading system did not allow for students that received 32/30 to actually have that grade on their programs. So, they would just receive 100% instead. I feel this is maybe unfair, because the students that received 28/30 or even 29/30 still get 100%, just as the people who should’ve received a grade over 100%. I mean, this is probably a small problem that’s floating around in my brain, but it’s still there.

Another issue that was brought up during my three week block was completion marks. I had never heard of completion marks before going into this school. Completion marks are marks that are given just for completing an assignment, no correct answers are required. Completion marks were given on reviews in this class. To me, this gave a false sense of accomplishment to students that did not understand the material they were being tested on. A few students in the class received full credit for their reviews because it was complete, but none of the questions were successfully completed. Due to the fact they thought they were doing it correctly, they then went into the test feeling confident in their work, when in actuality they were not going to, and did not, pass the test.

As a teacher, in my own classroom, I would much rather give credit where credit is due. If reviews are complete and correct that will be the only way a student will receive full credit for the assigned review.

Teaching for University

This week in class we talked about teaching for university and if that’s our job as teachers. I have had this discussion in quite a few classes in the past year. When I was in high school, we brought up the fact that we need to be ready and prepared to go to university – test taking, exams, etc. My teacher then informed us all that it is not his job to prepare us for university, nor is it any teacher’s job to do so. This honestly shocked me because I thought that was definitely going to be a part of my future career. But, now that I have been in the Faculty of Ed for quite some time, I realize that he was right, it’s not our job to prepare students for university. But, that being said I feel that as teachers we can always teach our students life relatable skills and I think that knowing how to take a test is a skill. It’s valuable for students to know what it’s like to have to answer questions in a pressured, time sensitive environment. It enhances their problem solving skills and techniques.

RTI Lecture

This week’s class focused on Response to Intervention and teaching EAL students. Having an Inclusive Ed minor, this was not my first look at the RTI Tiered Intervention Pyramid. The part that was new to me and that I found most interesting was the flow chart used at Sheldon William’s School.

Obviously, I believe that RTI is an incredibly useful and important part of teaching. It allows for needs of unique learners to be met. The first tier of the pyramid are simple adaptations that can be made to the learning environment, student work, or instructional practices. I think that this ties in loosely with the triangulation Davies talks about in chapter five. Observing your students, collecting products, and then having conversations about it can allow diverse learners to learn in whatever way they feel most comfortable in.

Reading chapter five reminded me of the 5 Practices teaching model we learn about in EMTH. The 5 Practices starts with a learning goal and a task that the students do. The teacher must then anticipate how students will solve the problem, monitor student’s ways of solving the problem during the lesson, then select and sequence how to present the answers, and finally connect it to other mathematical knowledge, daily life, or connect certain student’s ways of solving problems. The students are always involved in the connecting part of the lesson and they answer questions together as a class discussion. This can allow for students to think deeper about the problem and think about it in other ways all while connecting it to other relevant material.

To me, this can be a very inclusive practice. The students are given an open-ended or open-middled problem, therefore allowing for them to go about it in whichever way makes the most sense to them. No right or wrong answers are necessary in order to complete the process which I think is key in this practice. Using this type of differentiated, open type of lesson allows for all different types of assessment. For example, I recently used a 5 Practices lesson plan as a diagnostic assessment for a Pre-Calculus 30 outcome on graph transformations. This type of lesson can be done in groups or individually which has an effect on the learning environment in the class. I feel teachers can use this to their advantage when planning their lessons.

 

Introduction to Assessment

These last couple of weeks have been an introduction to different types of assessment and recognizing the difference between assessment and evaluation. Being presented the difference between assessment and evaluation has been a large impact on my learning already. I always thought that assessment and evaluation were the same thing and the terms could be used interchangeably, but I know now the difference between the two. Assessment is an ongoing process involving feedback and comments, whereas evaluation is summative and often involves marks. I have also been introduced to assessment for, as, and of learning.

This week’s reading talked a lot about assessment for learning and getting the students involved in their assessments. I feel too often assessment is just constructed and solely completed by teachers without the contribution of students. Sometimes students are asked to complete work or assignments that may or may not be for grades, but they may not know what a successfully completed assignment looks like. Davies says, “To ensure success for all learners, especially those who struggle, students need to know what they already know, what needs to be learned and what success looks like….In order to communicate learning meaningfully to a variety of stakeholders, teachers involve students in collecting and organizing a broad range of evidence or proof of learning.” What really resonates with me in this quote is that she says students need to know what success looks like. This is so key in creating an inclusive classroom. Success for one student can look extremely different than the success of another student. I feel as though this is where the descriptive feedback is key in student achievement and growth, as well as self-assessment. Davies also states, “Self-assessment gives learners the opportunity to think about their thinking and their learning,” a key component to any sort of achievement.

I hope in my future classroom that I can give descriptive feedback and show students what success looks like for each individual. During this semester I would love to learn ways to successfully give descriptive feedback and teach students how to self-assess in a math classroom.

Dish Cloth 2.0

Alright, so, for my last and final project for this semester I decided that since my crochet skills are much better than when I started I should try and attempt my very first project again – the dish cloth.

So, here it is!

Dish Cloth1……and compared to this one…..Dish Cloth

I think it’s safe to say that I have definitely learned to crochet and my abilities are much better than when I started!

 

Headband

In the midst of all the scarf making I found another headband pattern.

This one was a bit harder to follow because usually the patterns I find are blog posts and they have pictures following along with them, but I was kind of going blindly into this one one, but i’m pleased with the way it turned out. It probably took me about five hours to complete this one.

I took a little bit of a different approach than the picture on the pattern. I went with a different colored flower and headband and also put a jeweled pin inside of the flower.

The hardest part about doing this headband was trying to guess how big to make it, much like the other headband I made. This flower was kind of interesting as well, it kind of reminded me of the heart-shaped piece I made.

Flower Headband