and Realizations, Insights, Reflections

Needs and Wants of Assessment, Assessment Cycles

How do you feel about being assessed?  Do you believe that you need to be assessed; do you want to be assessed?   Is there a misalignment between your “needs” and “wants” about being assessed?  

            Assessment is stressful for me as a learner. I do believe I need to be assessed, and I want that opportunity to share (prove?) what I have learned. However I’ve had a handful of testing experiences in which I felt prepared but performed poorly on an exam. This could be due to poor test validity or misaligned learning outcomes and assessment methods. However, having these negative experiences continues to contribute to the anxiety and sense of urgency I often feel when taking a test. I mostly feel that assessments in the later part of my educational career have been assessments of learning used to determine if I will pass a course or not.

As a student, I would like to have more assessment as learning and for learning.   These types of assessments are less stressful and the emphasis is on improving and enriching the learning process for myself and to track growth in understanding and readiness for more complicated material, rather than for the teacher’s grade book. Learning is more enjoyable when assessment is formative and incorporated into the lesson. When you are focused, hardworking, and thoughtful, you would hope that your assessment results would reflect the same.

I was so relieved to see that the quiz for modules 1 and 2 in this course allowed multiple attempts. I felt more relaxed about having opportunities to review my answers and consider new perspectives for incorrect responses. I was able to focus on the questions instead of worrying about what my score would be. I was surprised that the correct answer was given in the feedback, as I expected to be scrambling to figure out which questions were incorrect and why. This was clearly a learning experience for me in that I was able to spend time with the material and actually enjoyed combing through the questions to see where I erred.

How do you perceive the way teachers commonly practice assessment–cyclical or linear-terminal?  Why do you say so?

I think most teachers commonly practice cyclical assessment, providing they teach similar ages and subjects year after year. It’s natural for any good teacher to want to improve her job performance, help the flow of classes to run more smoothly, engage more effectively with her students, and feel more organized and efficient. These are symptoms of cyclical assessment. A teacher’s curriculum is streamlined as she learns from past mistakes or futility.

What makes a good teacher better is using this logic to consciously, thoughtfully plan desired outcomes, experiment with and revise teaching activities, review student work and performance, then make informed decisions to take the necessary steps to improve the content and strategies for the next class. Cyclical assessment is about being metacognitive and self-aware of your own teaching. The behind-the-scenes assessment work makes all the difference for future teaching.


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