How do you typically assess your students? your teaching? other learners (e.g. teachers)? How have your assessment practices changed over the years? How have they changed in your school? district?
As a teacher, I try and use a variety of assessments for my students. Formative assessment is key for me to check for understanding along the way and to check for progress. This type of assessment may come in the form of one-on-one student conferences, mini quizzes, exit slips, etc. I will also assess my students in group activities with peer and self-evaluations. I am always amazed at how effective these types of evaluations are because students are normally very honest in their feedback. My assessment practices have most definitely developed since my first year of teaching. I feel my assessment is more informative for me now because I know more of what to look for when checking for understanding. Since I have only been at my for 5 years now, I am not sure how assessment has changed. I would assume that it has developed as more and more research on fair and effective assessment has come out. I know that this is an area that we as educators need to be continually developing and improving. Effective, objective, fair, and timely assessment is crucial for informing educators on how to adjust their teaching strategies and approaches with their students on a daily basis.
What research do you use to support your assessment practices? What evidence do you have that indicates that your assessment practices help students achieve and be successful? What have been the challenges in changing your assessment practices?
The first step of effective assessment is understanding the purpose of it and how to analyze it insightfully. Assessment literacy is defined by Fullan (2001) as the teacher’s capacity to examine student performance evidence and discern quality work through the analysis of achievement scores and disaggregation of data. Again, being able to analyze the data is vitally important for educators because it will inform them on which instructional strategies to use with which students.
The goal of educators is to reach every student and to help them succeed. Assessment is not to show them all the things they do not know yet, but to give them feedback on how they can improve. This is not an easy task. “Educators are expected to be skilled assessment practitioners, designing and interpreting more student-involved classroom assessments, often termed as assessment to improve learning” (Guskey, 2003). Understanding different assessment techniques and strategies will help educators become more effective in guiding their students to success. Brookhart (1999) emphasizes the importance of teachers using assessments that are valid, reliable, meaningful, and accurate to guide instruction. If an assessment does not meet these three criteria, then it needs to be reexamined and adjusted before being administered.
Popham (2011, p. 270) defined formative assessment as “a planned process in which assessment-elicited evidence of student's’ status is used by teacher to adjust their ongoing instructional procedure or by students to adjust their current learning tactics”. And according to Elmahdi (2018, p. 182) formative assessment provides students with just in time specific and nonevaluative feedback that improve their performance. This type of feedback is purposeful in helping students improve and continue to move towards a successful and distinguished level in their work.
As educators, as we change and develop our mindsets toward assessment, this may present some problems. Meaningful and effective assessment will take more time and energy then simply having a test at the end of a unit without any other prior assessment. With technology, this can make formative assessment much more manageable for educators. Beatty and Gerace (2009) reported that “Teachers have limited time to assess students’ performances and provide feedback, but new advances in technology can help solve this problem” (p. 142). Technology such as Kahoot, Socrative and Plickers are examples of formative assessment tools that make it quick and easy for teachers and fun for students to give formative feedback that will help lead to the success of every student.
What work do we still have to do as instructional leaders in this area to ensure that students are receiving the best assessment practices in our buildings/districts?
I think that being informed on current and effective assessment practices is primarily important. As instructional leaders, if we are not informed ourselves, how can we help others? Once we have the knowledge and experience using effective assessments practices, it would then be time to talk with the other staff in our school/district about their assessment practices. This could be informal conversations going from classroom to classroom or we could also survey the staff and get feedback that way. Once we have identified a gap in assessment practices, then we could arrange a professional development session to help train staff on strategies to use in the classroom. Using a framework like the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) and creating a flow chart would help in the process as well.
As mentioned earlier, all educators are growing, learning, and developing. Assessment is a valuable part of education and should not be taken lightly or used ineffectively. Assessment for learning, as learning, and of learning interweave together to inform our instruction in order to help students succeed.
Beatty, I. & Gerace, W. (2009). Technology-enhanced formative assessment: A research-based pedagogy for teaching science with classroom response technology. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(2), 146–162. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-008-9140-4
Brookhart, S. M. (1999). Teaching about communicating assessment results and grading. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 18(1), 5-13. Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.cityu.edu/docview/62393248?accountid=1230
Calveric, S. B. (2010). Elementary teachers' assessment beliefs and practices (Order No. 3443729). Available from ProQuest Central; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global; Social Science Premium Collection. (855823398). Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.cityu.edu/docview/855823398?accountid=1230
Elmahdi, I., Al-Hattami, A., & Fawzi, H. (2018). Using technology for formative assessment to improve students’ learning. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 17(2) Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.cityu.edu/docview/2025352702?accountid=1230
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change Jossey-Bass, 989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741. Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.cityu.edu/docview/62189029?accountid=1230
Guskey, T. R. (2003). How classroom assessments improve learning. Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.cityu.edu/docview/62233973?accountid=1230
Popham, W. J. (2011). Classroom assessment: What teachers need to know. Boston, MA: Pearson.
My name is Jonathan Bolton I am an elementary school teacher in Red Deer, AB. I am also currently doing my Masters of Ed. as a cohort program through City University of Seattle. I am passionate about teaching, learning, creating, and growing.