Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Assessment literacy is an essential component of education, Popham (2016) states that assessment literacy will help teachers to become successful advocates for learning. Educators today assess and teach their students in a world where knowledge is a necessary prerequisite in the workforce. The purpose of an assessment is to give educators an opportunity to assess to find out about what students can do, what knowledge they possess and where there may be any difficulties (Briggs, Woodfield, Martin, & Swatton, 2008). The role of an assessment is to provide teachers with provision of information on student progress throughout the learning and teaching process, to the student and to the teacher, this is so both teacher and student can understand which steps to take to set the direction for desired and appropriate teaching and learning to achieve syllabus outcome.
It is essential for educators to understand that an ideal teaching, learning and assessment environment is one that encourages students’ wellbeing and their learning by giving students an opportunity to express their opinions, giving them direction and opportunities for authentic and rich learning experiences (Kivunja, 2015). According to Costa and Kallick (Kivunja, 2015) as assessment is occurring throughout the learning process children are learning and use the results to understand what knowledge they possess and what difficulties are apparent. Overall assessment is essential for self reflection, feedback and further improvement for students’ learning. It is evident that the understandings gained from assessments are critical in informing and improving teaching. This is because assessment provides a consistent flow of knowledge or data on students understanding; the effectiveness of teaching approaches and measures to further improve teaching approaches or style, learning environment and assessment quality. Assessment results are utilised by students and teacher, to see how both learning and teaching are progressing on their joint pedagogy journey. Overall Assessment is essential to provide feedback to inform and improve teaching and learning (Kivunja, 2015).
It is also essential for educators to understand and implement self – assessment; Students learn best when they are aware of the intentions/outcomes of the lesson, are aware of the self- assessments and reflection time they are solely responsible for. Readman & Allen (2016) state for educators to be successful in engaging students in learning and assessment – teachers must be willing to have a grasp of the purpose and the strategies. Teachers must clearly understand and communicate to their learners the purpose of assessment as learning, this can be achieved by having a set of formative assessment strategies- which will enable students to become their own best assessors and to use the information gained from assessment to further their own learning (Readman & Allen, 2016).
Principles of Assessment and Ethical consideration
As educators it is essential to be fair and logical with assessing students- there must be an inclusive way to assessing students. The five essential principles of fairness in assessment which is in the province’s policy are essential for every educator to have in their repertoire for teaching, learning and assessment but should also practice in the classroom. The first principle that will impact all stakeholders in education is; educators should strive to comprehend and confront the personal impact any assessment may have on individual students and their families. Second principle is based on inclusivity, it ensures educators with a narrow view on diversity reflect on their assessment identity; this principle consists of teachers ensure all assessments are differentiated appropriately to accommodate the ability, social, cultural and linguistic background of every student in the class. Third principle ensures all members of the school community are active in challenging any illogical and inappropriate assessment. The fourth principle is province’s policy states teachers must not overload learners with assessments – frequency, intensity and intrusiveness must be carefully monitored- as this may impact families. The final principle states teachers must not use assessments as a way of confronting any student behaviours or rewarding any behaviour.
Research (Readman & Allen, 2016) has shown that when teachers choose to not implement these five principles into their teaching repertoire, negative effects on student’s attitudes, views on assessment and to learning can happen. More importantly, it is essential that all educators in a learning environment follow these principles, as the actions of one teacher will negatively impact on the learning environment of other educators and students. Readman & Allen (2016) state teachers need to develop good communication practice, open and frank discussion with students about assessment practice. Another important strategy is – negotiating with students over assessment, establishing expectations, explaining course demands, sharing information. All these strategies listed are related to an open and honest discussion about assessment, and consistent practice (Kivunja, 2015).
1.2 Peer marking rubric
This is a rubric marked during a speech. The marking is done by a student.
Assessment for learning (Formative)
Readman & Allen (2016) define formative assessment or assessment ‘for’ learning as a learning process whereby the educator aims to gather data/information about students’ progress in their learning. This information gives teachers an opportunity to guide the development of future learning activities. It is a process of two-way feedback instead of recording and reporting marks. The benefits of formative assessment is obvious; formative assessment is normally called assessment ‘for’ learning, this is because it works to support learning- it does not simply end but it is focused on taking learning further and improving outcomes. For educators this is a positive and beneficial strategy to assessing for learning and teaching; it gives teachers an opportunity to assess how student learning is progressing in relation to learning goals/ learning outcomes and what should be done next to further learning to improve outcomes or meet certain learning goals. Formative assessments for learning also shows teachers current practices and what can be modified to better meet students needs, learning abilities and learning styles to further improve learning outcomes and closing the gap. Implementing formative assessment in everyday classroom time can also help educators engage students; it is evident that students can utilise formative assessment to improve, self-reflect on learning, think about their own learning process and create strategies that will help them in learning experiences (Kivunja, 2016).
Formative assessment has many approaches, however an effective and student centred approach is self-assessment. Self -assessments teaches students how to appropriately and independently problem – solve their learning; in other words when students are self assessing they are encouraged to find a different strategy to further their own learning and reach their learning goals. Self- assessments help students to not only change strategies but also helps monitor and judge their own learning. So this approach is more student centred. Self assessment also improves children’s motivation to learn, this is because students are monitoring and become more responsible for their learning – which means they themselves have to be proactive about their learning and engagement. This approach also improves children’s enjoyment and understanding of key aspects of learning areas such as literacy, example students are able to monitor their own reading progression through the year. Self assessment gives students and teacher an opportunity to converse and reflect together on learning progress and teaching strategies, self -assessment requires teachers to make time and view students’ self-assessments and make notes for reflecting on teaching (Georgiou, 2003).
Readman and Allen (2016) define feedback as a way to convey information to learners about their progress, this is essential in classroom practice as it assists the learner to achieve their learning goals. Hattie and Timperley (2007) define feedback as information that is provided by some sort of agent, which could be a teacher, book or parent. This information relates to one’s performance or progress. Feedback consists of information that is corrective, for it to be effective in learning and teaching; it needs to provide information relating to a task or process that has only occurred that fills in the gap between what has been understood and what has been aimed to be understood. Feedback can help close the gap in a number of ways; affective processes such as increasing engagement, different cognitive processes, reconstructing understandings, pointing to directions students could pursue. When students receive feedback from the teacher – it gives students an opportunity for the learner to confirm their understandings, add to and tune or reconstruct information in their memory (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).
1.4 Minute To Win it.
Students can view their feedback from teacher after each reading session.
Feedback is also essential to teaching, when feedback is given to the student; it also gives the educator an opportunity to provide specific challenging goals to cater for student learning and learning goals. Feedback should also work to assist teachers in implementing effective learning strategies for student. Feedback should be implemented in a positive constructive way- a good way to do this is to use the effective feedback three questions; where am I going?, How am I going? And where to next?. Each feedback question works at four levels, these are; task level, process level, self-regulation level and self level. This model of feedback works to enhance and encourage learning in a positive way. If feedback is implemented appropriately it can assist teachers to confirm goals, clarify any misconceptions, enhance commitment/efforts and manage goals to suit student ability level. Most importantly feedback can help teachers to create a positive learning environment where students are responsible for developing self-regulation and error detecting skills (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).
1.3 Continuous marking rubrics
This is an excellent example of student self – reflection. Also a great example of an ongoing assessment.
My Assessment Literacy- Self Assessment.
As pre service teachers in EDP323 we were required to take the AITSL Graduate Standard 5, to rate our current level of understanding and proficiency. According to the rating sheet I lack understanding in how to demonstrate timely and purposeful feedback to students about their learning 5.2 standard, in this standard I rated 1 low.
1.1 AITSL Graduate Standard 5 rating sheet
Brookhart (2017) defines feedback as information that matches specific descriptions with student work. It must be just in time to further improve future learning goals or to give information to student about their current progress. Firstly as a practicum student I will ensure students in my class will understand their learning intentions or intended learning outcomes along with what I will be expecting from them and how I will monitor, record and assess these expectations. All assessments – if its formative feedback assessment, summative, informal and formal will all align with learning intentions communicated at the beginning of each lesson I teach. I will learn and practice backwards mapping (Readman & Allen, 2016) this will ensure I am able to plan appropriate assessment for learning outcomes and able to plan according to student need, ability and learning style. I will ensure to keep up to date with the rewarding system that is being practiced in the classroom, for example the tick charts which show student progress and what areas students are lacking. This is an excellent assessment that allows teachers to give instant feedback to students; also it is a great example of self- reflection and self- assessment (Readman & Allen, 2016).
After completing the AITSL Graduate Standard 5 rating sheet I took a moment to self -reflect on my strategies as a pre service teacher. From my reflection I believe as educators we must value consistent, appropriate, authentic and backward mapping approach. Feedback assessments are absolutely essential to teaching, learning and assessment, however careful implementing these strategies as they are tricky. In my future teachings I will firstly start at the beginning of every week with learning intentions for each ability group, making these learning goals realistic to ability level and learning needs. This is essential as I believe it gives students a sense of responsibility for their own learning. I believe formative assessment such as; ‘minute to win it’ which is an assessment that provides instant feedback and compares student progress from when they started at the beginning of the term till current day. This type of assessment does provide essential information to teacher and student also helps students self reflect on their own learning. I will in my future classes include formative feedback assessment such as ‘minute to win it’, peer marking rubrics where both peers and teacher mark student work. These types of formative assessments ensure the assessments are fair, consistent throughout the learning journey and authentic to student needs. All class assessments must not have an end but be continuous to further learning through each students ‘learning journey. I also will implement feedback charts – this strategy ensures that students are receiving up to date consistent feedback throughout the school year and rewards for achieving learning goals or stepping stones. To conclude I believe in always re- assessing our own teaching strategies and assessments to better student outcome and further their learning.
Briggs, M., Woodfield, A., Martin, C. Swatton, P. (2008). Assessment for Learning and Teaching in Primary schools. Learning Masters, Southerhay East: Exeter.
Brookhart, s.(2017). How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students. ASCD.
Georgiou, S,. & Pavlou, Pavlos. (2003). Assessing Young Learners. Oxford University Press, New York: USA.
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. American Educational Research Association, USA.
Kivunja, C. (2015). Creating an effective teaching learning and assessment environment. Retrieved from https://link.library.curtin.edu.au/ereserve/DC60271037/0?display=1
McCallum, D. (2015). The Feedback-Friendly Classroom. Permbroke Publishers, Portland: USA.
Readman, K., &Allen, B. (2016). Practical Planning and Assessment. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne: Victoria.
Sackstein, S. (n.d.). Peer Feedback in the Classroom: Empowering Students to be the Experts. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.au/books?id=EEyYDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=feedback+in+the+classroom&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7xcqt3bzWAhUCmpQKHZTHAkIQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=feedback%20in%20the%20classroom&f=false