Well, what a journey!
Starting out this course, I really didn’t really know a lot about assessment and evaluation. Even in my field experiences in my four years of education, I had never really been responsible for assigning students marks. I wasn’t sure I even knew how to go about it. Quite frankly, I had a lot of questions.
Then, after one of first classes together where we talked about including students in assessment and making assessment meaningful, and then we painstakingly made a rubric together, I decided that I really wasn’t a big fan of all that assessment entailed! I had more questions than answers, and it sounded like a lot of work.
However, as I spent time reading the text and reflecting on the things we discussed in class, my mind became more open to all of the possibilities of assessment. I kept hearing, again and again, the importance of including students. My own teaching style and philosophy has always been very student-centered, but I had never really even thought about including students in assessment – it always seemed like the “teacher’s job.”
As the semester continued with presentations on the multiple and varied forms of assessment we have available to us, I began to understand that assessment should not be a single mark on a report card, but true assessment is meaningful and gives students an opportunity to show what they know. And, for assessment to be authentic, students need to be included in every part of the process – even developing criteria, though it might be painful at first.
Further, my own investigation into one specific form of assessment (peer & self) changed my viewpoints again. I had never found peer or self assessment particularly useful, but in our research, I learned about all of the ways that both peer and self assessment can be useful and accurate. I’ve grown to particularly love self assessment, as it encourages students to really think about their learning. Metacognition is a skill needed to develop life-long learners, and I believe that is every teacher’s wish for their students.
Lastly, as I moved into pre-internship, I was so excited to use some of these methods. It came to my attention quickly, that we would not have time to use most of different forms of assessment, but we did have an opportunity to use self assessment. The students were assigned a number of journal entries throughout our block and were told that they were to choose their best one in the end, and give themselves a mark according to a rubric that they were given right off the start. In the end, students had to tell us why they gave themselves that mark. It worked so well! We were happy with their journals, but also their own reflections on their effort and quality of work. All of their grades were similar to what we would have given them, but they were able to take ownership over their learning.
Now, as this course draws to a close, I am realizing that I still have more questions than answers. I have learned so much about assessment and evaluation, but I am still so hungry to learn more! I have seen how authentic assessment motivates learning, and I am so excited to continue this learning journey as I get more and more opportunities to assess. I am looking forward to reflecting back on my learning in this class as I move onto my internship.