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Neil McLeod


TCHL 878-99 What do I make of it?

1. Obtrusive assessments are the type of assessments that are most commonly

used in classes. Obtrusive assessments are exactly what the name implies. They are

assessments that are formally given during class times. They interrupt daily

procedures and the learning process in a classroom. Typically instruction does not

occur during these tests. Therefore, students stop learning in order to take the

assessment, hence the term obtrusive.

Obtrusive assessments can take the form of quizzes, tests, demonstrations,

and presentations. The text gives examples of how to design obtrusive assessments

to get a clear picture of the learning progress of the student. Its important to make

even obtrusive assessments as unobtrusive as possible. Therefore, the ideal test or

quiz would allow students to efficiently demonstrate their expertise with the given

subject. Its important that teachers learn to use questions and formats that best fit

with their given subject matter and learning objectives. For example, in a physical

education classroom a multiple choice test wouldnt be nearly as effective for

showing knowledge of proper free-throw techniques as just having students shoot


2. Unobtrusive assessments test a students capabilities without interrupting the

flow of learning in a class. Sometimes these assessments can be done without the

student even knowing their being observed.

Unobtrusive tests can most easily be applied to content that is procedural in

nature. The text gives an example of a PE teacher watching students use correct
stances and motion while playing softball at recess. Ive used this technique myself

in chemistry laboratories. Its easy to see when a student has learned and

internalized safety procedures and proper laboratory behavior. Every student will be

presented with a situation in which they have to choose to follow proper safety

procedures. By taking note of what the student does during the situation I can make

an assess unobtrusively their completion of that learning goal.

Unobtrusive assessments dont always have to be specifically crafted by the

teachers. My English program during middle school utilized the accelerated

reader program. In this program students could read any books they wanted from

a specified list. After they were finished, students would take a quiz and would earn

points based on their score on the quiz. This was a method used to motivate

students to read more books. However, by the end of 8 th grade I had read almost

the entirety of the schools approved accelerated reader program. My teacher

recognized this, and also noticed that I constantly read other books anyway. The

teacher made an unobtrusive assessment of my skills and even though my earned

points were low, she gave me high marks on the learning objective. Its important

for teachers to be observant of their students and recognize activities that students

already participate in which they demonstrate proficiency of the learning objectives.

3. Student generated assessments are a method that can be used where

students develop their own ideas about how they show proficiency on a specific

learning goal or task. In order for student generated assessments to be effective the

student needs to have a clear understanding of the grading scale that is being used

in the class. The student should be able to identify activities and projects that

demonstrate mastery of a target learning scale. Once the student can identify the
goals, it is then the students responsibility to develop a plan of how they can show

mastery of that learning targets scale.

Its easy to see that student generated assessments allow students to take

ownership of their learning. The student can decide what level of scale they want to

demonstrate, and then the student gets to design a paper, project, or presentation

that meets their goal learning level.

This type of assessment also presents an interesting way for students to

make-up points missed on previous learning goals. For example, if a student didnt

score proficiently on a unit about the solar system, then the student could decide to

draw a model of the solar system, and write down the key features of each of the 8

planets. Together the teacher and student could decide what level of the classs

learning scale would best fit this demonstration of mastery.

4. Ive been reading and learning a lot about how different teachers are

implementing flipped classrooms. A model that Ive been developing in order to help

me understand the effect of a flipped classroom breaks the learning of a unit into

four distinct areas.

The first area is all about allowing students to explore the content. This

includes the typical flipped classroom norm of videos of lectures, but it can also

include reading, interactive websites, group discussions, documentaries, slide

shows, and any other type of material that gives students a first look into the

material. The goal of this area is purely to give students a plethora of opportunities

to dig into the material. Each student learns best in different ways, and finds

different things interesting. Giving students lots of resources to learn about a

subject allows students to gravitate towards research that speaks most to them.
This area of learning can easily take place individually outside of the classroom, or it

can happen during group work during class.

The second area is all about the student getting experience with the material.

This experience can be games online or in class, experiments, group discussions,

activities, group projects, worksheets, labs, and anything else that gives students a

chance to figuratively get their hands dirty in the curriculum at hand. Ive

envisioned this area taking place in the classroom as students help each other

develop their ideas around the research they did in the research phase of the


The third area of this learning cycle allows students to demonstrate their

mastery over the specific knowledge or skills that they gained during the first two

stages. This section can involve quizzes, tests, oral presentations, essays, or even

individually done work packets. A key of this area is that students are given the

opportunity to show their mastery individually. This section of learning can be used

to assess through obtrusive, unobtrusive, and even student generated assessments.

The key is that students are showing off the knowledge that they gained throughout

the unit.

Finally, the fourth section is where students can show true mastery of the

material. Allowing students to develop their own ideas of how to show complete

mastery is key in this area. Students must take ownership of their learning as a

whole. The goal of this area of learning is for students to work on developing

applications for their learning in areas outside of the classroom. A student that is

learning about other planets could develop plans or guidelines for what

characteristics a rover would need to have to complete a successful mission on the

surface of another planet. A student in a music theory class could take a popular

pop song and analyze the chord changes in that song versus what theyd learned in

class so far. In general this part of the flipped classroom would revolve around

individuals or possibly pairs of students.

When thinking about how to apply this concept in a classroom several things

become apparent. The teacher implementing a flipped classroom must have a very

deep understanding of the material. They must be able to take the material and

apply it in several ways effortlessly. This allows the teacher to spend more energy

allowing students to develop their own ideas about learning. Also, the teacher must

be prepared to give a ton of sources for information. Because the teacher isnt going

to spoon feed the material to the student through direct lectures, its imperative

that the teacher spends their time helping students learn how to effectively

research and learn on their own using resources they already have. As the school

year progresses, teachers will be able to give less specific readings and videos

because students will be able to find the resources they like on their own. It might

be helpful for teachers to have students write reflections of how their learning


Its also important that teachers establish very clear learning goals and a

grading scale for each individual unit. Because the goal of this style of flipped

classroom is to have students move at their own pace and in their own way, each

student will progress differently. Therefore, students will not be able to gauge their

progress based solely on their completion of homework. Students need to

understand the scale used so that they can recognize their level of mastery, and

what they can do to move themselves up the grading scale.