Standard #5: Assessment
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.
Standard #5: Reflection
In three and a half weeks, it was truthfully a challenge to see a lot of growth in our students in regards to writing and reading skills, however it was extremely rewarding to see them internalize the information and content that we focused on in our classrooms. The two formal assessments that we conducted were an essay assignment to respond to a prompt about the 1950s idealization of the American Dream, as well as a final summative assessment that offered our students the option of a visual, performative, or written project. With the essay assignment, we did a good job scaffolding and introducing the assignment of a five paragraph essay, however I think we could have been clearer with the expectations surrounding the essay. Because our students were at so many learning levels, it was difficult to gauge what type of help they needed on essay as well as what expectations we should have of their writing. I wish that we had done this prompt earlier so that we could have had more time to offer feedback and work with our students to improve their writing. With the summative assessment, it did not feel nearly as rushed as we had prepped for it from day one, and I was proud of both my co-teachers and I, but most importantly our students, in regards to the final assessment as the work they turned in was beyond our expectations and demonstrated a real understanding of the material and theme of the American Dream.
A goal of mine is to increase informal assessment and to create a routine of reading our students’ work and responding to it with feedback and advice. Because many of the students took their notebooks home or did not organize the assignments, which is something that we should have introduce to them from the start, we did not always challenge ourselves to read and respond to each of our students’ assignments, which limited the amount of growth they could have in our class.
Another type of assessment that we took part in was informal discussions and class responses. These were often a way to gauge comprehension of material and to garner students’ insights and opinions on the topics we were covering. A problem we faced with these activities though was that many times only the certain outgoing students would participate or raise their hands and it was difficult to involve the quieter voices in the classroom. One way that we learned throughout the summer to change this was informal comprehension checks such as five fingers or thumbs up. This was a way to get our students involved and also make cold calling easier and more thoughtful. A goal of mine is to continue using such strategies and to attempt other types of discussion assessments such as socratic seminars or string discussions.