Making Classroom Assessment Work response (CH 2, 4, and 6)

Chapters two, four, and six of Making Classroom Assessment Work all focus on creating authentic engaging assessments for our students. As teachers we need to make our assessments meaningful to ensure that our students are actually learning rather than just memorizing the information. Chapter two talks about the importance of creating a space where our students are able to take the risks needed to learn, because without the student stepping out of their comfort zone no meaningful learning takes place. Chapter four discusses the importance of understanding what success looks like for both the teacher and the students to ensure students have the best opportunity for success. Chapter six explains that “when students are involved in the classroom assessment process, they become more engaged in learning” (Davies 55) and thus more likely to retain the information. All three of these chapters focus on how teachers can best support their students through assessment, something that I personally think is an important aspect of teaching.

There are many connections that can be made between the chapters in Making Classroom Assessment Work and Sandra Gibbons and Bonnie Kankkonen’s article Assessment as Learning in Physical Education: Making Assessment Meaningful for Secondary School Students. All four readings focus on making assessment authentic for our students to increase engagement and overall learning. In the article Gibbons and Kankkonen emphasize the importance of making assignment criteria and expectations explicit “to help students become self-directed learners” this stood out to me because it’s something we have been discussing in our other classes and I plan to incorporate into my own teaching practice. By doing something as simple as explaining the outcome in student-friendly language to my students I can begin to uncover the hidden aspect of why they are learning what they are learning, and in turn, increase their engagement and learning.

ECS 410, Uncategorized

Making Classroom Assessment Work response (Mo and Cooper)

Both Weimin Mo’s article “Can you Listen Faster” Assessment of Students Who Are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners and Damian Coopers chapter How Should Assessment Be Matched to Students Needs discuss the importance of working with our English as an Additional Language Students (EAL) to create a classroom climate that offers the greatest opportunity for success. This is important because many times teachers do not know how to adequately gage the learning that EAL students have in their previous language. When this occurs the student becomes disengaged, as they either already know the material or do not have the supports needed to succeed. Many teachers also have difficulty differentiating assignments for their EAL students, and the students are often left completing assignments that do not meet the required grade level outcome. 

Both pieces focus on the importance of creating a place of success for all of our students but particularly those whose first language is not English. One way we can help our students is by using formative assessment to gage where our EAL students are at, particularly when it comes to things like vocabulary. Mo and Cooper place a great emphasis on the fact that our EAL students “do not…share the same conceptual system that…[we do]” (Mo 46) and that we need to communicate effectively with our students to assess whether or not the scaffolding that you have provided is enough. This scaffolding could be as simple as revisiting key terms related to the assignment or having the student repeat the instructions for the assignment in their own words, but the heightened understanding the student will have of the assignment and that you will have of the students understanding will make a world of difference.

ECS 410, Uncategorized

Making Classroom Assessment Work response (CH 7 and 8)

Chapters seven and eight of Making Classroom Assessment Work involve both assessment of learning and involving students in their own learning.  Assessment for learning is important because it “teaches students, while helping them learn how to assess their way to success” (Davies 63).  By working as a class to set criteria for what we are doing is a way to involve students in both their learning and assessment, in turn encouraging student accountability.  Chapter eight discusses involving students in their own learning by allowing them to gather their own evidence in support of it.  This is important because “when students are responsible for assembling the evidence [of learning], they have more opportunities to figure out whether they are on track” (Davies 77) and gives them the opportunity to get help.

These chapters connect to The Classroom Experiment videos we watched this week as well.  In these videos a school in England implemented some controversial ideas into a classroom.  I loved the red, green, and yellow cups, and the whiteboard ideas but had difficulty accepting the comments not grades rule; particularly as it was implemented in this school.  I like the idea of using less grades and more feedback in my classroom, but my main concern would be involving the parents in the process.  As our schools get more and more diverse we should acknoledge the fact that some cultures prize grades and that parents might not understand when their child has no grade to show them.  In the videos they only involved the parents towards the end of the experiment and I believe that if they went to the parents first the parents could put their childs minds at ease regarding the new rules.  Davies comments on the importance of teacher-parent communication when she says “You may not be marking or grading work in ways parents expect.  Let parents know that you are continuing to assess all student work” (Davies 78).  Without this communication both parents and students are left confused and uninvolved with the assesment process.