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Running Head: Philosophy of Assessment Statement

Philosophy of Assessment Statement


Jillian Ferguson
EDUC 5913
Dr. Bill Buggie
March 2nd, 2018

Introduction
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Assessment and evaluation are a crucial part of understanding the quality of student

learning that is taking place in classrooms. Assessment itself is an ongoing and ever changing

process, with many significant issues to consider and be aware of. Grades are a controversial

topic, and although Alfie Kohn argues for the removal of grades entirely from the school system,

this is perhaps not realistic for a single teacher to implement in the current educational

framework (Kohn, 2011). However, it is possible to change the way students are assessed to

better reflect different learning styles and promote student engagement in their own learning.

Students should be aware of what and why they are learning, and be involved in creating their

own goals learning. Students also need to be actively involved in the self-reflection process of

their learning. Prioritizing formative assessment with descriptive feedback and promoting both

self and peer-assessments can help to accomplish this. Allowing students to represent their

learning in different modes enhances student motivation and the enjoyment of learning.

Learning Goals

Learning goals can be a beneficial tool to introduce students to assessment expectations.

When students are involved in the creation of learning goals in an engaging class discussion

about what success will look like, they are able to convey what is important to them, whole also

understanding what they will be expected to learn. They are more likely to be engaged in the

learning that follows in the lessons when they feel accountable for their own learning choices.

For example, prior to starting a unit I will create learning goals together with my students so that

the expectations are clear for everyone. Setting and pursuing learning goals builds confidence in

students that their efforts can lead to important outcomes. It also helps establish a long-term

vision while simultaneously generating short-term motivation (Davies, 2011).

Descriptive Feedback
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Providing students with a clear idea on where they are and where they need to go is an

essential part of the learning process. This can be achieved when there is open and constructive

line of communication between the teacher and the students. When descriptive feedback is used,

as opposed to evaluative feedback, students are given this necessary information and can then

move to make improvements. Feedback can also impact motivation, and thus it is important to

remain both positive and constructive to maintain engagement with learning. Therefore, I will

provide all my students with effective feedback that is goal-reference, tangible and transparent,

actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing and consistent (Wiggins, 2012). I will also ask for

feedback from my students to understand where they may be struggling or their needs are not

being met.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment provides an opportunity for a teacher to gain insight into the

students’ progress of in learning, and the successes and challenges ongoing in their classroom.

The use of formative assessment creates an environment in which students know that mistakes

are essential for learning, that it takes time to learn, and that success has many different looks

(Davies, 2011). Formative assessment also relates to the way in which teachers collect valuable

and reliable evidence. Teachers should triangulate their evidence of learning by using

conversations, observations and products to collect evidence of student learning (Black &

Wiliam, 2009). I will use tools such as group and individual conferences, exit slips, discussions,

concept mapping, and anecdotal records to check for understanding in my classroom. The use of

formative assessment also provides more opportunities for descriptive feedback, and therefore

more potential for students to grow and learn.

Peer and Self Assessment


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Feedback from peers is another effective component of formative assessment. I will teach

my students how to provide effective feedback so that they can provide positive and constructive

feedback.. When peer assessing, students learn about the process of assessment, but also use their

own knowledge to think critically about the work of their peers. Additionally, students are more

likely to value advice from their peers.

Self-assessment is another necessary step in the assessment process, but also something

that needs to be taught. I will teach my students to be thoughtful and honest when self-evaluating

to make it as useful as possible. Self-assessment provides students with the opportunity to

process and learn. It ensures that the focus stays on learning, and provides teachers with

information as to what the students are thinking and what understandings have been developed.

The process of self-assessment teaches student how to self-monitor. Students who self-monitor

are continually developing the skills it takes to become lifelong learners (Davies, 2011).

Methods of Summative Assessment

Every student is unique and has a different process of learning. The authors Herbst and

Davies state that, “Treating students equally can be unfair” (2016). Therefore, I believe that there

should multiple methods for students to demonstrate what they have learned. For example, if a

student is a not a strong test taker, they should be provided with other ways to demonstrate their

learning and not be penalized for their differences as learner. The greatest learning occurs when

each individual student is able to personalize their learning by producing some that is meaningful

to them. For my summative assessment, I will provide students with options when possible such

as completing different projects, reports, presentations, of their choosing. I will strive to be

flexible with my assessment tools to allow students the ability to express their learning in the

way that is best for them, so long as it demonstrates their understanding of the curriculum
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outcomes. Ultimately, “there is a huge overlap between teaching excellence and the use of

quality assessment approaches.” (Herbst & Davies, 2016).

Assessment Controversies

Assessment is highly debated topic, involving many actors who feel they should have a

voice in the matter. I will put forth some of my beliefs on these controversial topics as they

currently stand, realizing that these may change with time and experience. In my opinion,

standardized testing does not benefit teachers or students. These tests fail to gage the true range

of student knowledge, as they often come in multiple choice format. “The main problem with

standardized tests is that they inhibit the kind of education that matters the most, preparing young

people with “higher order thinking skills” to compete in a global economy” (Bhattacharyya,

Junot, & Clark, 2013).

Furthermore, I do not believe in giving zeros to students, especially in the elementary

grade levels. Completing an assignment is not the only way to demonstrate understanding of a

concept. Additionally, by giving my students choice in their assessments, it is my hope that they

will find one that inspires them and provides them with the motivation to complete it. Even if

students fail to complete a task in class, I am sure they have more than zero knowledge on the

subject which I can assess in a different manner (Reeves, 2004).

Similarly, I do believe in giving redos or re-tests. Personally, there were several times as

a high school when I simply did not understand the material prior to do an assignment or a test.

After going to extra-help, I was able to retake the tests and do much better without my mark

being affected. If students are able to demonstrate their understanding of a concept, then I do not

believe they should be penalized for learning it at a different rate than others.

Conclusion
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Undoubtedly, how to assess students in a classroom is one of the most controversial and

undecided topics. However, when assessment is implement correctly, it can be a valuable tool

through which to observe, guide and facilitate student success. A strong assessment strategy has

the capacity to engage students in learning that is meaningful and is conducive to academic and

personal growth. In my future classroom, I hope to allow my students to demonstrate their

overall learning in a manner which benefits them. My ultimate goal is to encourage my students

in their pursuit of knowledge and guide them to success.

References

Bhattacharyya, S., Junot, M., & Clark, H. (2013). Can You Hear Us? Voices Raised against
Standardized Testing by Novice Teachers. Creative Education, 04(10), 633-639

Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (2009). Developing the theory of formative assessment. Educational
Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 5-31.

Davies, A. (2011). Making Classroom Assessment Work, Third Edition. Courtenay, B.C.:
Connections Publishing.
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Herbst, S., & Davies, A. (2016). Grading, Reporting, and Professional Judgement in Elementary
Classrooms. Courtenay, B.C.: Connections Publishing.

Kohn, A. (2011). The Case against Grades. Educational Leadership, 69, 3, 28-33.

Reeves, D. B. (2004). The Case against the Zero. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(4), 324-325.

Wiggins, G. (2012). 7 Keys to Effective FEEDBACK. Educational Leadership, 70(1), 10-16.