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McAloon

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Assessment Philosophy

Assessment practices are crucial for educators to gauge student learning and positively affect their achievement. That being said, many students feel a sense of anxiety when it comes to assessment; as a teacher, it is my job to address this anxiety and help students reach their utmost potential. To do so, I will assess fairly and keep an open mind when reflecting on my practices. My assessment philosophy addresses diagnostic, formative and summative assessments. It includes my outlook on providing students with choice and feedback, as well as communication with students and collaboration with other teachers. In turn, students will be provided with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. As an educator, my goals are to fairly assess students’ understanding, guide students towards improvement and overall, help students to succeed.

At the start of a new unit, I use diagnostic assessments, such as group discussions, to gain information on students’ prior knowledge. This allows me to develop strong lesson plans that deepen students’ understanding by building off what they currently know. This also helps me to address any misconceptions that students may have, as well as differentiate for learners at various levels. When it comes to group work, I am able to sort students according to their skills, which ensures that groups benefit from the diversity of students’ strengths.

To assist me in determining students’ current understanding, I will co-create and administer ongoing common, formative assessment (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many, 2010). This too aids me in identifying misconceptions and areas that require additional instruction. In my experience, I have found that minimizing the number of concepts being assessed reduces students’ anxiety and alleviates the pressure of grades. I administer formative assessment in the form of questions, quizzes, entrance and exit slips, as well as infrequent, purposeful homework. The sole purpose of homework is validating student learning, as well as formatively assessing what they know. To connect homework with assessment, I record students’ test results and compare them to the number of completed homework assignments to help students see the relation (Vatterott, 2011). This also indicates to me areas where I may need to intervene or enrich the learning of students.

To examine studentsoverall understanding, I construct summative assessments that fairly represent what students have learned. In order for students to express their understanding suited to their learning style, some assessments need to be individualized. I recognize that every student is unique, and by getting to know my students, I will learn what works best for them while being assessed.

Students do not all learn the same way; consequently, there are different methods to teach to their learning styles. That being said, not all students demonstrate their understandings in the same manner, so there needs to be a variety of evaluation methods in place to support them. Providing students with choice, such as creative writing, drama, and music and dance, engages them and enables them to have more control over the demonstration of their learning. From my experience as a student, I can testify that demonstrating my understanding creatively is undoubtedly one of the most exciting

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aspects of learning. I do not want students to be so caught up in grades that they do not have fun learning, so I do my best to provide choice for students on tests, projects and performances to give them the opportunity to truly shine.

According to Marzano (2006)., studies indicate that students gain a better level of understanding when they receive frequent, clear, and encouraging comments regarding their work. This is why I provide descriptive feedback to my students, including explanation and words of encouragement. This helps point students in the right direction, improve their overall comprehension in areas that present challenges to them, and motivates them to continue learning. Keeping in line with Alfie Kohn’s (1993) theories of grades, I do not provide students with rewards as incentives to get good grades; rather, I use grades to highlight students’ struggles and successes. My goal is to help students develop, as well as fairly assess their understanding. When it comes to reporting student progress, I place stronger emphasis on recent performances, for they are most representative of their current level of comprehension.

When formulating assessments, I keep the curriculum’s learning objectives in mind to ensure that students are being tested on what is most important. Prior to facilitating lessons, these objectives are communicated clearly to students to make certain that they are aware of and understand what their learning goals are. I communicate these learning objectives with students, both orally and in writing. It is important that these outcomes are clear, brief, and in a language that students understand. Prior to providing assessments, I clearly go over the instructions, while providing examples of what I am looking for. To better assist students during assignments and tests, I include numerical values by each question so they do not have to wonder what they are worth. This helps students better manage their time by not getting too caught up in sections with little weight value.

I am a firm believer that a teacher has a continuous commitment to lifelong learning. I am constantly seeking ways to improve my teaching and assessment practices. I keep an open mind while working with other educators to gain new perspectives and ideas. Collaborating with colleagues can help create a more similar and fair manner to assess students. By participating in professional learning communities, students can reap the benefits of being assessed by a set of standards that are paralleled in all courses.

Overall, I believe that diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments gives me the information I need to maintain a strong understanding of what students know and where they require further assistance. By offering students choices to motivate and engage them, and providing them with positive feedback to fuel their desire to learn, students should feel as though that have fair opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge. I believe that clear communication with students ensures that there is little to no confusion on what their learning goals are. Lastly, through collaboration with colleagues, I hope to benefit from their experiences and continue to grow and improve my own assessment practices.

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Work Cited

DuFour, R., Dufour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2010). Learning by doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work. (2 nd edition). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by Rewards. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Marzano, R. (2006). The case for classroom assessment. In Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work. ASCD: Alexandria, VA, 1-11.

& Grading that Work. ASCD: Alexandria, VA, 1-11. Vatterott, C. (November 01, 2011). Making Homework Central

Vatterott, C. (November 01, 2011). Making Homework Central to Learning. Educational Leadership, 69, 3, 60-64.

VA, 1-11. Vatterott, C. (November 01, 2011). Making Homework Central to Learning. Educational Leadership, 69, 3,