Assessment is a Two Way Street

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After and during my reading of “learning to love assessment” and “our words, our ways”, my view of assessment has completely shifted. Not only did I think assessments were simply tests, quizzes or presentations, but my thought towards if they should be mandatory or not altered as well. I began to read this articles with the thought of, “why do I need to learn about how to give a test, a test is a test.” However as I went through each reading I realized I was completely wrong. Of course tests, quizzes, etc are included under the assessment category, however there are so many other ways to assess a student and a teacher should in fact cater to individuals needs for different assessment strategies. These articles outline that each student is different. If one student tries very hard in class but struggles with exams it is a teachers duty to come up with a solution for that student to strive and that very well could mean a different type of assessment. It all depends on the student.

iThe first article “our words, our ways” focused on the assessment of aboriginal students. Although this article is geared towards aboriginals only, it could be applied to any student. It’s specifics of strategies to assist aboriginal students really did open my eyes to the differences these students face in the classroom compared to other students. The emphasis of teaching these students something eith meaning is a key element in shaping how leachers approach assessing aboriginal students. Based on home life, cultural beliefs and commitments, things can get tough and school can get put on the back burner because of these circumstances. However this article expresses how important it is to get to know your student and perhaps those circumstances can be resolved. In return trust will be gained from these students as effort is being put in to make schooling work for a particular individual.

In the second article, the lay out of using the ten points to emphasize what informative assessment really is by using the sub titles of what it is not was very clever in my opinion. It caught me off guard and before reading the content bellow each sub title I found myself wondering what each means. My favourite was question number nine, “informative assessment isn’t just about finding weakness”. This is one reason I wanted to become a teacher. All throughout elementary and high school I began wondering why teachers always emphasize the negatives in the classroom. Negative behaviour, negative news, pointing out our faults on assessments. It was my grade eight teacher who expressed at the beggining of the year that positive are what should be focused on and that’s exactly what she did. It changed my whole experience as a student and pushed me to want to give that to other students, to be a positive role model. The strategy of pointing out the preferences of students, their likes and their understandings will give them a sense of possibility and I believe that is what is needed for them to strive.

Before reading these two articles I believed that assessing was a mandatory thing. Everything that is handed in should be graded. After reading and listening to class discussion I am whole heartedly against that now. I do believe assessments should be graded at the end and should be catered to allow students to strive. There are assessments that can be used within a unit to see if the students are grasping the concept but I don’t believe grading every single assignment is a good rhing to do. it is a teachers job to make sure people are learning and if they aren’t, it’s their job to turn that around and find ways for their students to succeed. Assessment is a two way street. It takes the student to try different ways and see what works best for them and it takes the teachers analysis of the situation and action put forth to ensure the student is being catered to.

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“Learning From Our Students”: A Response

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When I began to read this article, my head started to nod… very clever Ned Noddings. My previous ECS classes had articles that were assigned to read however, they were not quite like this one. In all of my previous readings I found myself looking up definitions and trying to pick apart sentences just to understand that “education jargon” that was being said. “learning from our students” is the first article I could read, completely understand, and fully enjoy. Every point made was something I have been thinking for a very long time in regards to education. This article made me realize that I am not alone in my view of teaching.

This concept of learning from the students is something I have thought about since early high school. Although I completely agree that mentors and elders are wise and the experiences they have encountered do educate a younger generation, I believe it is the fresh minds and view of the younger people that can shape the way things are taught.

The section in this article about minimal requirement courses is brilliant. Students are always asking how certain things will be used in their future, and Noddings explains perfectly, a solution. is children know what they are striving for then I believe they should be focusing on techniques and knowledge that will apply to what they are interested in and will become their future. having a base knowledge of an array of subjects is important, so I do believe having those minimal requirements in subjects that don’t necessarily interest the student is still important, but minimal is all they need. Students learn more efficiently when it is something that interests them and they know they will apply to other aspects of their lives. when children are forced to take courses they do not have any interest in, it affects their ability to learn and most importantly their want to learn. letting the students choose their paths and assisting them promotes freedom of choice, independency and trust that teachers are looking out for their best interests and do want to help the students strive.  So why doesn’t education use these children interests to help build their futures and goals? seems rather obvious to me that education needs to be more unique to each child. rather than forcing studies that seem irrelevant to the student upon them why don’t help them learn what they want to learn and will use in their futures.

More to come on this,

Alyssa