Assessment is a crucial component to the teaching practice. Understanding that assessment is “essential to measure the progress and performance of individual students, [and] plan further steps for the improvement of teaching and learning” (OECD, 2013, p. 139) is why it is important that I provide effective and meaningful assessment tools to guide and support my teaching practice.
When thinking about my role as an educator in the classroom, I envision myself as a facilitator. I want to work and learn alongside the student, parents, coworkers and the classroom to find creative and effective assessment tools to support my students in becoming confident and competent in their learning and success. As stated in the Adaptive Dimension (2017) “any assessment should be fair and equitable, giving all students opportunities to make connections and demonstrate the extent of their knowledge, skills and abilities in a variety of ways” (p. 9). With that being said, I as the facilitator will be working in collaboration with the parents and students to ensure their abilities and interests are being met, and they are able to succeed in the environment provided. Understanding that the parents/guardians are a child’s first teacher, I will work in partnership with them before, during, and after the assessment to develop learning plans and goals that will support the student’s achievement.
In ECS 410, a statement really stuck out to me. That is, the child knows themselves the best. With that, I need to ensure I give my students the opportunity to have a say in how they wish to be assessed, as well as allow them to assess themselves to support them in growing their knowledge base. The OECD (2013) state that incorporating students in the assessment process “will help them develop capabilities in analysing their own learning and becoming self-directed learners” (p. 144). I will not only support my students to be able to self-assess their own work but form a classroom climate that values peer feedback to grow their understanding around diverse topics. Through self and peer assessment students will gain the responsibility to be active participants in their learning as well as the success of their peers. Through the creation of this collaborative learning space, my assessment practice will become inclusive and individualized.
As mentioned above, it is crucial I give my students the agency to show what they know in diverse ways. When discussing using products to assess students learning the article What is Triangulation in the Assessment Context (n.d.) states “if we rely on it as our primary method of assessment, we run the risk of drawing erroneous conclusions about student learning” (Benefit #2). By only giving my students performance tasks to show their knowledge, I may be missing a large portion of what they really understand. To successfully integrate assessment into my daily instruction I need to implement the concept of triangulation into my practice. By implementing triangulation, I will be able to use conversations, observations, and products to understand what the student understands, and ensure that my assessment practice is valid and reliable.
Understanding that “assessment is not measurement. Assessment is a process” (Wright, 2007, p. 45) is why my assessment practice will have a heavy focus on assessment for and as learning. It is important that I provide my students with numerous opportunities to grow their knowledge around a specific topic before I evaluate what they have come to understand. As Davies (2011) mentioned “if we evaluate too early, we limit the descriptive feedback and risk interrupting the learning” (p. 3). This is why my assessment practice will focus a lot on assessment, and less on evaluation. When it comes time to evaluate a student, I must ensure I keep the evaluation or performance task one that aligns with the instruction and how the students have been exploring the topic.
Overall, my assessment practice will reinforce the importance of mistakes to help us learn, and disrupt the idea that marks determine what you know, and who you are. Assessment is to help us grow, not to limit us.
“It is good to have an end to journey towards,
but it is the journey that matters in the end”
~Ursula Le Guin~