Think about assessment in your classroom. How does it guide instruction? How do you involve students in the process? What do you do that is similar to the ideas you have read in this chapter? What is different? Record your thoughts.
The sixth chapter in this book is dedicated to describing why involving students in assessment choices and process is important. As mentioned in other areas of the text, Davies asserts that “When students are involved in the classroom assessment process, they become more engaged in learning” (55). Through being involved in the assessment process(es), teachers will ensure that students will have a better understanding of what is being expected of them, as well as develop and expand self- and peer-monitoring strategies, while teachers will be more clear on what the student knows. Davies lists the benefits of self-assessment as “[self-assessment strategies] give them time to: process – to learn – during teaching time; give themselves feedback; [and] transition from one activity or class to another” (57). This clearly increases the students’ responsibility for their learning and documentation of learning. Davies also discusses the benefits of displaying models or exemplars to students before they begin working on a project to show what success looks like. In addition, she discusses the purpose of presenting evidence of learning, which is to establish accountability of learning for the student, teacher and school.
My future classroom will use assessment to guide my instruction to students. I believe that it is important to take the assessment or evaluation tool and share the results with the students. This sharing should be used to show areas that students succeeded in, as well as highlight the areas in which students did poorly. The areas that require additional practice or information should have a basic review or re-teaching of the concepts, in an effort to enhance student success. I plan to use assessment tools such as entrance or exit slips, journal reflections, class discussions and other strategies to find out how familiar students are with new concepts and throughout a course of study, so that I might be able to learn about each student’s understanding or interpretation of the concept. These will also help me to learn about what the students are most interested in; therefore, the course that my units take may be altered. The evaluation of essays, projects or exams will show me the areas that may need to be re-taught, or allow a student a chance to redo the assignment or exam because of misunderstandings.
I want to involve my students in the process of assessment and evaluation, because I think it is fair that everyone has the opportunity to justify their learning. I think by using those tools (entrance or exit slips, journal reflections, class discussions, etc.), I will allow students to communicate their concerns and opinions. I believe that communication is the key to including students in their assessment. The way I imagine involving students in their assessment starts with involving them with their assignments. I think if I were to propose an assignment and be open to changes, students would be able to let me know if my expectations were on par or not. There is no sense in assigning a project that is too simple or too complex and allowing them to help decide how it will be assessed or evaluated if the project itself will not benefit the kids. From there, I would discuss with the students the criteria that we would c0-create a rubric with. I think it is fair that I decide the criteria and have the students help with the description of the criteria. In addition, putting the criteria into their own words will help students to know what I expect of them. I would have the final say, but I would definitely take the students’ comments into account because I want them to be successful. The reason I would get the final say is because while I want them to be successful, I do not want to create “slack” assignments. I want to challenge my students. Depending on the project or assignment, I would also have students self- and/or peer-assess each other part way through, and then self- or peer-evaluate each other at the end of the project. This way students are able to make changes before the final submission, and it does not put all of the assessing on me. If it was a project or assignment that the students could present, I would also have students do self- and peer-evaluations while at the same time I evaluated the students and took notes. It is extremely difficult to mark oral presentations based on a few jot notes, so I think having students understand what a “good” oral presentation is like and then using those criteria to rate their peers is a good way to ensure that each student is assessed and evaluated fairly.
As I do not have a classroom of my own yet, I do not have any ideas of how to involve students in assessment currently implemented. However, I do have a few ideas and some of them aligned with Davies’ suggestions. I like the steps to setting and using criteria that she has included (brainstorming a list of ideas, sorting and grouping the ideas, make and posting a T-chart, and using and revising them as we learn more). I think I would use these steps as a foundation for co-constructing rubrics, but as aforementioned I would make the final decision about what is included. I also like how she suggests to find acronyms so that students can easily recall the steps for success. I like the diagrams for self reflections and goal setting. I think I would use these, or create similar documents for my students because it keeps in mind the specific targets students will set for themselves, and then it will be apparent when they improve.
My questions to you: as a new teacher that was continuously pressed for time, how were you able to include students in the assessment process? Did you use a basic method that would apply to several assignments, or did you schedule time to discuss the assignment and marking criteria for each assignment? If the latter is the case, what did you have to alter or give up in your class to fit this in, as it takes up valuable class time?