Standard 5: Assessment
Meeting Standard Five
"The student teacher demonstrates knowledge of a variety of approaches to assessment and evaluation. Assessment is seen as integral to the curriculum and instruction process and employs a repertoire of formal and informal methods. 'Traditional' tests and essays, as well as performances, exhibitions, and portfolios which allow students to demonstrate what they know in a variety of media and technology are used. Students are also given various opportunities to self-assess progress and their classroom work is guided by known criteria and standards developed by the student teacher with the class (or with the class' knowledge). A focus on continuous student improvement in skills and content knowledge is emphasized and grading reflects that objective."
-Brown University Teacher Education Handbook
Part of planning is building in adequate chances for students to demonstrate their knowledge and teachers to gauge their students’ progress toward unit or course objectives. To gain an understanding of how much my students were really getting from my lessons, I have used did use a variety of different methods, including worksheets, quizzes, projects, teacher observation, oral communication with students (individually and in groups), and one-on-one interactions. Because classroom activities are generally varied, the assessments allow students to show proficiency through different means, including writing, speaking, and contributing to a final group product.
I have found that one key to appropriate assessment is making expectations very clear before students begin working. I have already improved significantly in this regard since our first few assignments. For major assignments like essays and final projects, I give students a checklist of what exact elements need to be included in their work in order to receive full credit. I also grade according to these checklists or using a rubric derived from them. I have found that my students respond better to simple checklists than to rubrics, although they then miss out on the nuances between different scores.
Scheduling a lot of scaffolding into our daily work and allowing students to work on large assignments mostly in class allows me to clarify directions or assist individual students who may be struggling. I like having students working in groups so that they can help one another while waiting for me to come around and talk to them. One important thing I have learned to do well is casual, observational assessment. This helps me see fairly quickly if the majority of the class understands a concept. Furthermore, if several students ask me variations on the same question, I know that my directions were unclear and that I need to clarify to the whole group.