So, finally, I am now writing my last blog entry for EDUC 113. This only means I successfully have submitted all my other requirements for this course. Like every ending, it leaves me an emotional feeling. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with all my work and I am happy with all the learning I have acquired although it just only made me enlightened that I still have a lot to learn. That is what education is all about after all…. Never-ending learning.
Truly, education is evidently the most important thing any person could acquire as it can be a great weapon to battle this world. Any person deserves not just a good education but a quality education. During and after taking this course, I have realized that Assessment is one of the effective keys in assuring a quality education. There are various ways or mode of teaching but assessment is the most general method that any educator could use.
What am I taking home from this course?
Well, I have mentioned it many times. I never realized how significant an assessment was in learning and teaching until I took this course. I thought assessing was merely giving tests, that’s all. But now, I am enlightened and even equipped! I now know that Assessment plays a vital role in the learning of a student. It is a main factor in keeping a good of education by monitoring the progress of the learners; it identifies the needs to improve the performance of the students.
This course did not only make me knowledgeable, but also ready and equipped. I will surely use all the learning on my journey as a future public school teacher.
How have my views changed?
If before, assessment to me should only be given at the end of every term, now, I have become aware. Assessment should occur every time the students need feedback that they can use to improve, to adjust and to become better learners. Assessment helps in giving track to the process and efficiency of the curriculum development. It gives clear directions and organizes the educational system on what is essential for the learners, the value and be able to achieve the effectiveness of a quality education and the desired level of competence.
Have I been moved into action?
It is never going to be easy. To be a teacher is to play a lot of big roles in the lives of the people, the community and the nation. There are so many little and big tasks to embrace. However, the moment I have decided to be a teacher, I have been ready that everything will be difficult… But everything will be fulfilling when done right. As an educator / facilitator, it can be crucial and detailed but the prize of giving all the learners the equal benefit to assess the individual performances to guarantee a quality education for all is worth it.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Teacher Malou for being so helpful in all aspect of this course. Thanks to EDUC 113. This will be the beginning of my journey as an effective teacher.
HAPPY TO LEARN!!! =)
Isn’t a great feeling when you get a nice feedback about a work or task you accomplished? I don’t know about you but it makes me happy and I feel that everything I exerted effort into has value when someone notices it, gives comments about it – may it be a positive comment or a criticism. I would always believe that at least someone has taken time to give my work some time and attention.
I get this feeling whenever I do my school work, tasks, projects, writing, assignment and exams. For me, a teacher gives an effective assessment when he / she gives the students a feedback about every certain work.
As a student, from my younger years up to college, receiving feedback from my teachers is always an issue to me. I always thought I was unappreciated when I work hard for a school task and just get a low grade, without knowing why and how. It’s always a perfect time for me to sing Pink’s “just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough ♪♪”
A relief and joy is felt when I get a positive feedback. And when criticisms arise, I still like it as I know there is a chance for improvement and that I can do better next time.
Teachers, during my time as a student, and until this very moment, find it hard to provide feedback when assessing their students. This is an issue that needs attention and solution.
In our lesson in Module 6, giving feedback is the subject I would like to focus on. It is very important because the students need to know the reasons behind the grades or ratings they have been receiving.
As teachers, it is part of our mission to make sure that our students are learning and improving. Meaning, when we teach them the lessons then give assessment afterwards (without feedback), the mission of letting them improve becomes unclear. If that is how we do it, we do not give them room for improvement. That is why I strongly believe that giving feedback is very important in students’ learning process.
Why am I saying that feedback is significant for the students to progress? What are its benefits? For me, they are the following:
1. Students feel good that they did well when a grade with positive feedback is given.
2. Students know that their work is well attended and noticed.
3. Students realize their mistakes and can have basis for improvement.
4. Students will strive even harder for better work in the future.
5. Learning occurs because opportunity of adjustment for students’ performances is provided.
Feedback must not be neglected. Teaching does not end when lesson is taught and test is given. Teaching is a cycle for improvement, for never-ending learning and always for the better.
Grade conscious while having fun… This is how I describe myself during my time as a student. From my elementary years, to high school, up to college, I was always particular with the grades that I aimed to have. Having this attitude, there were advantages and disadvantages that occurred. During the process, I tried to enjoy but there was always a feeling of nervousness. I always wanted to be in the honor roll. Luckily, I was able to maintain my grades. I always wanted my parents to be proud of me. That was just my main reason. It was not right. But that was my reason. So, after all, it was not all pure fun. I was after high grades and not to really learn every single lesson. To prepare for every assessment, I did a lot of reading and memorization. If you ask me now if I still remember my lessons, my answer would be NO. maybe some, but most, I won’t. With that kind of preparation, I practiced in my younger years, I would always enjoy the definition, identification and enumeration kind of assessment – it’s all because I did a lot of memorization. Not learning by heart – lessons are easier to forget. I was always threatened to get an assessment with application and experimentation. Now, do I consider myself as an effective learner when I was younger? Definitely not.
As an aspiring teacher, I believe I have the power to change the ways and mentality of my future students. I can make them become effective learners, exactly different from how I was as a student before. This can only happen if I practice proper assessment. Obviously, I would refrain from repeatedly giving tests in a traditional way. This is to prevent my students from just guessing answers and knowing exactly what kind of test they will see in their exam paper. I will make sure that they will think outside the box – experience and perform themselves the lessons that they have acquired. As a teacher, I will not be the only one sharing knowledge but I will be giving my students opportunities to have high involvement in every activity the will occur.
Non- traditional assessment is an assessment where performance of what the students have learned is an important thing. Students tend to think outside the box and become creative since assessments given would normally require critical thinking plus showing and performing their learning. Students become interested and exert more effort when attending classes. High involvement in every activity happens. This assessment can be both threatening and at the same time, fun and enjoyable for the students. It is threatening because too much effort is required. Shyness or not enough confidence can sometimes be felt by some students. They sometimes feel threatened that their performances could go wrong or unsuccessful. However, this is also where the teacher’s role come in – to build and enhance the confidence of each student in order to learn, experience and perform.
In this Module, significance of non-traditional assessment is emphasized wherein I have learned the importance of encouraging the students to be creative thinkers. Personally, the difference and implication of teacher-centered learning and the student-centered learning is an eye-opener to me as a would-be teacher. I have learned that when you teach, your ways must be student-centered.
The following are some of the reasons and points why student-centered way is much more effective in learning process:
- Students construct knowledge through gathering and synthesizing information and integrating it with the general skills of inquiry, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and so on.
- Students are actively involved.
- Emphasis is on using and communicating knowledge effectively to address enduring and emerging issues and problems in real-life contexts.
- Professor’s role is to coach and facilitate Professor and students evaluate learning together.
It simply shows that being student-centered have a lot of benefits to both teacher and learner in order to have productive and better learning process. This made me realize that I can be an effective teacher if I always put the needs of students in the class first.
So, for me to produce effective students (not like me who was only grade-conscious), I have to be very careful in giving assessments, making sure that the students do not just memorize, but they must fully understand. My role will be to prepare my students to comprehend the lesson, make them ready for the assessments by being creative thinkers, always ready to perform and share their experienced learning.
I can and I will.
Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses by Huba and Freed 2000
If only I was aware about Formal, Informal, Summative and Formative Assessment when I was still a student, I guess I would have had better learning experiences. I was not aware about all these because they were not practiced and not even taught to us.
Why did I say I would have had better learning experiences?
Because as far as I remember, I was only assessed in a Formal and Summative way, during most of my student years.
I was assessed in a Formal way since my teachers used to record all the scores of my exams and all performances, and those data were used for their computation for my final grades. Although in formal assessment, I already knew beforehand what exactly to study for my exam, it still did not make me too happy since my final grades were really final. No way to change them nor make some more improvements.
Formative assessment also did not make me adventurous with my studies. I mean, I was not encouraged to experiment with my ideas since there are concrete lesson and specific answers to given exercises.
I did not even know that Informal and Formative Assessments exist. Although there were times that some of my teachers gave me opportunity to have high involvement with every lesson, it was very rare.
Had I been aware, I guess I could have been more active and not just grade-conscious. I could have enjoyed every phase of the studies since I would have been given the chance to improve every now and then. It would be good if progress was always monitored and traced after every actual work. As a student, one would be keen to know what is happening by getting feedback about his or her performance and work. Through these, chances are given in order to progress as a learner and to enjoy while learning as well.
As a future teacher, I will make sure that all types of assessments will be practiced by me to all of my learners.
All four- formal, informal, summative and formative are useful in promoting progressive teaching and learning.
Formal and summative would help me as a teacher to gather data needed using my prepared activities in order to determine if my students are learning and are on track with the lesson taught.
Informal and formative, when practiced, would even help me create a healthy teacher-student relationship. This way, I get to involve my students, make them interested to learn while they do not feel pressure and anxiety because I will make sure they will enjoy the activities, which are more casual – less formal, that will be given to them. Students get updates about how they are doing with in the class. I will make sure that my students’ voices will be heard, positively.
All assessments are equally significant and must be practiced to improve teaching and learning.
Purposes of Assessment
In my previous experiences as a learner, as far as I remember, I was normally assessed using Assessment of Learning. Like what I said on my previous blog, I never knew how important and broad “Assessment” is, until I started studying our modules in this course. All I thought was as long as my work and performance was graded at the end of the semester, I was assessed. Assessment of learning was always used to me during my time as a student – it was always summative. Tests, quizzes and essays were given to examine my performance and way of understanding.
So, while being continuously provided of more information and knowledge about assessment, I realize every single day that it is even wider than I think it was every previous day. I have changed my views and became enlightened that there is no sense in teaching and learning unless the objectives are met.
The three purposes in learning are all equally significant in education. Let me quote their definitions provided by the book Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting in Ontario Schools:
- “Assessment FOR learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”
- “Assessment AS learning focuses on the explicit fostering of students’ capacity over time to be their own best assessor, but teachers need to start by presenting and modeling external, structured opportunities for students to assess themselves.”
- “Assessment OF learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements of symbols about how well students are learning. It often contributes to pivotal discussion that will affect students’ futures”
This purposes of learning differ from each other but all aims for the same goal: to meet the learning objective, to make both teacher and student involved and exert more effort in progressing, developing and equipping themselves – before, during and after the learning process.
Based on my experience, most of my previous teachers, professors and instructors have done their best to purposely align assessment with the learning goals – although some of them failed to do so. I must say that most of them were successful in aligning assessment because objectives were met – I was able to comprehend the lesson, apply the learning, correct my mistakes, adjust to changes and I graduated in college, found a job and now longing to learn more. However, I must say that without my own personal initiative to improve, my learning process will not be a success because of wrong alignment by some professors. There were times that at the end of the semester, lessons were not clear to me. I was not properly guided or given opportunity to check my performance and improvement in the middle of the process. I was just being graded in the end without having performance or progress check. The consequence is that I passed but I failed.
Why am I saying this? When alignment of assessment does not match its purpose or objective in learning, a student can pass but fail. Pass in a sense of getting passing grades, but fail in the sense of failing to understand the essence of the lesson, failing to apply learning, do adjustments or changes and failing to improve and develop more.
To the next instructional designers, educators/teachers, trainers and learner just like me, I am leaving some challenge questions to ponder to selves before the start of every class: “Why do I have to teach / learn such lesson? What benefits will I get if objectives are met?” When enlightened by own answers, motivation and keenness to teach or to learn will be acquired from, during and after the studying process.
When I was a student back in Elementary, High School and College, I must admit that sometimes I was ‘grade conscious’. I felt the joy of getting high grades to give my parents something to be proud of. Being grade conscious unconsciously made me unhappy too. There were moments of pleasure that I missed like hanging out with friends or just enjoying the learning process, because my main concern was to get good grades.
However, was I assessed correctly by my previous teachers? Did my understanding and way of aiming high grades make me learn? Did I improve? Did I enjoy the learning process? Was my learning journey effective and developed me? I am asking these questions to myself now that I am having a lot of eye-opener from our course ‘Principles and Methods of Assessments’.
To answer myself, I would say: No, I was not properly assessed – although there were very few times that I was. No, the aim and the principles of assessment were not always met during my time.
My experiences and observations can be compared to my present realizations on how assessment should work. My experiences are now telling me that I basically was always being evaluated – not assessed.
Upon studying the modules provided for us, I understand how wide and significant an assessment is. It is not just a basic concept that I used to think. It has framework that is set as “guide to suggest priorities and possibilities with an eye toward communicating meaningful information about student learning that will be useful to various audiences.”
And the most important thing about this framework for Assessment of student learning is that it can improve practice particularly in the current and future sphere of activities.
Now that I am knowledgeable about all of these, this erudition can help me in becoming an effective teacher in the future, particularly in giving proper Assessment to my students.
One of the things that enlightened me in this module is that Assessment is a cycle. Like what I said before, I was evaluated in school, not assessed, when they gave my final feedback and grades right after end of semester or grading period. It was always summative, not cynical.
Assessment should be able to give chances and opportunities for the students to go back, improve, realize and correct mistakes during the learning process itself – not just be graded right at the end.
Like what Westminster College website published: “Good assessment follows an intentional and reflective process of design, implementation, evaluation, and revision. The Assessment Cycle relies on four simple but dynamic words to represent this process: Plan-Do-Check-Act.” In the cycle, there are opportunities for teachers to PLAN about the lesson, DO the teaching, explanations, example and elaborations, CHECK the student’s progress and ACT to give the students’ chances to revise and reflect if they have truly learned, experienced effective teaching and able to practice in actual the acquired learnings.
When it is my time to give my own students assessments, I will make sure that they will not ask the same questions I have enumerated at the start of this blog. I will make sure my way of assessment is cynical and not linear. As an effective teacher, I will assess them following the framework in order for them to learn and enjoy the whole process. It may be easier said than done, however I have confidence now because I am well-informed and guided.