Standard Five: 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.
Reflection: Assessment, Rubrics, and Grading
I have found rubrics to be very useful in my classroom. As a student teacher at High School, it is important that I am very clear about the expectations I have for my students and about the criteria I will use to evaluate them. I have found that Rubrics are not only useful to me for efficiency purposes; they are also very helpful to me when planning. During my practice as a student teacher in Brown Summer High School, I learned the importance of “planning backwards” (Tomlinson and McTighe 2006). Planning backwards allows me to think about my objectives, standards, and learning goals so that each of my lessons can be designed to work towards the final goal. Learning to plan this way is extremely helpful to me because it forces me to be very sensitive to the skills and concepts that need to be scaffolded and taught for my students to be successful in achieving the objectives of my unit. Similarly, with rubrics—designing one and implementing one for both student use and my own use—requires careful consideration of the ways that I have scaffolded an assignment so that all students can be successful in meeting a high standard.
There are several benefits for using rubrics. Andrade’s article, “What Do We Mean by Results? Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and Learning,” (2000) states that rubrics are useful because they are easy to use both for students and teachers! I believe this to be true. Just today, I handed out “Paragraph Rubrics” [see below] that students needed to use to self-assess their work as they completed paragraphs. There were no surprises on the rubric—students had a pretty good idea of what they would be evaluated on because I had done several lessons to teach each of the skills. Students have a good idea of how they have done on a piece of work when they are using a Rubric. It is easy for me to give great feedback if I see that a student exceeded an expectation that I had listed in my criteria and also if they did not meet a criteria standard that was taught in class. Another great benefit of rubrics that Andrade mentions in her article is the teacher’s practice of looking at models of good and bad work with students. This is a technique that I practice in my classroom every time I want my students to complete a formal written piece. It is important for them to see how to effectively use the skills we are learning in a written piece. I very much enjoy putting a piece of student work that meets the standard on the overhead and using a rubric for the entire class to evaluate the work. Students are eager to have their work displayed; the display of student work also pushes other students to meet the standard.
Another way I use rubrics is with the “Daily Assessment” I keep for each class I teach. The “Daily Assessment” sheet is a practice I stole form a Special Ed Teacher at Hope. In the assessment, I evaluate daily attendance/tardiness; completion (yes, moderate, no) of Entrance Tickets; completion (handed in, working, or revising) of daily activity/writing/or reading; and behavior. Half way through this semester, I had students complete a self-assessment of the criteria that is listed on the “Daily Assessment.” The students were honest and came up with goals of their own to improve their abilities in the class. I also use the “Daily Assessment” sheet to track progress of a student—and of the class as a whole. For example, progress was made quickly with entrance tickets—students quickly learned that Entrance Tickets were very important to me. I have seen a significant improvement in the completion of Entrance Tickets (for present students) since I introduced the “Daily Assessment,” explained over and over again that “ENTRANCE TICKETS COUNT!,” and that I was keeping track of them for my records.
Tomlinson and McTighe’s ideas about grading are very helpful to me (Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design 2006). Like planning backwards, Tomlinson and McTighe, explain that grades should be based on specified learning objectives and standards: “A grade should represent a definable degree of proficiency related to important goals. Thus, educators should establish indicators of success, describe the criteria by which they will measure success, measure students accordingly, and report the results in a clear and consistent manner” (130). I love the idea of being transparent with my students—letting them know that there are no secrets or “tricks” to achieving in my classroom, but instead, that I will do everything possible to help them be successful.
These are students' rubrics that were scored both by the student and by me. The students enjoyed these rubrics very much and used them for each of the paragraphs for their final essay. They liked that I was very transparent about what they would be evaluated on and they enjoyed evaluating themselves.
This is a final essay written by one of my students in the 12th grade class. Each of the students completed the blue rubrics (see above) for paragraphs and then I used a more standard rubric to evaluate the entire piece of writing. It was wonderful seeing the entire writing piece come together. I appreciated the fact that students wanted to do well on this essay.