Defending and Understanding

“Assessment is not about you as a teacher; it is about your students” (Lopez, 2013)

Assessments should be a continuous activity in a classroom. Assessments allow the teacher to know where the students are excelling and where they still need help. Moving on to another topic when the students struggle with the current one is not productive and just the opposite is true. If students understand the material, then the class can move on to the next topic keeping them involved and not bored with class lessons. Assessments are an aid for the teachers to guide their lessons and gauge where students are at but it also serves the student as a guide to where they need to focus their study on. It will confirm what they need to work on and what they have accomplished.

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Four Questions Related to Assessments

  1. Why are you participating in the assessment that you use with your students?
  2. Can you share in the explicit detail the value that you find in each assessment?
  3. Do you participate in assessments that you find no value in for students?
  4. Are you using an assessment you have no idea how to deliver, but are afraid to ask for help with?

(Lopez, 2013)

The four questions Lopez discusses under “Defending our Assessment Practices” should be on the back burner of every assessment we give to our students. The second question, which I find to be the most important, Can you share in explicit detail the value that you find in each assessment. Before choosing an assessment, it should be clear what results the teacher is looking for. What is being assessed? The assessment should complement the skill set. Which brings us to the first question, Why are you participating in the assessments that you use with your students. Clearly the first two questions will aid in choosing the proper assessment. Keep in mind the assessment needs to hold value. Holding value means choosing the right assessment for the skill looking to be mastered. Asking question number three, Do you participate in assessments that you find no value in for students, allows the teacher to re-evaluate their means of teaching and assessing. The assessment has no point with no value to the lessons being assessed. Lastly, no one should be using an assessment that they do not know how to deliver and if needed then help should be sought out. This relates to question four; Are you using an assessment you have no idea how to deliver, but are afraid to ask for help? If there is hesitance in seeking help, one should re-evaluate their end goal as an educator. Seeking help and clarity among colleagues will only bring a stronger education system. It is not about the teacher and what they know and don’t know; it is about the students and giving them the best education possible. As teacher, I tell my students, if you need help, ask questions. If I expect my students to sought out help for clarity about a topic or skill then the same should be held accountable for me, the teacher. Asking questions is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of the motivation one has to understand, creating a more educated person.
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Student Involvement

I always inform students of when I am assessing them with an explanation as to why the assessment is taking place. Students are given immediate feedback and given the opportunity to correct their original mistakes. Understanding the underlying concepts behind each skill is just as important as the skill itself. Allowing students to fix their errors forces them to rethink their original idea, reevaluate their skill and develop the correct response. Students take part in the assessment to evaluate their own progress and the responsibility for understanding the material without being spoon fed the information to memorize. Students have a lot to gain as well from taking an assessment; it is not just for the teachers to evaluate students.