Week 8

My assessment philosophy has changed a bit over the course of the semester. The readings for the 21st century competencies assignment really helped to change the way I view assessment. It kind of gave me an answer as to why we need to move away from former ways of assessment and prepare students for the way the world is now. This really spoke to me and made me think of the way I viewed what we need to assess. These new things that we should be assessing such as collaboration will really be important for students to learn in school. Another article that helped change my philosophies was the Dochy and McDowell article that once again talked about moving away from more traditional types of assessment. I mentioned before how I liked the idea of exams but this started me thinking of ways to assess other than exams. I began to think of ways that we could use final assignments instead of exams. For my Health unit plan that I came up with I had them do an inquiry project instead of a final exam showing growth in my philosophy. The last articles that helped were the video and article on feedback. Coming into the course I never really thought about giving feedback throughout the process. Now I think that it is a must to continuously give students feedback so they can keep improving. Overall, I think that I experienced growth in my assessment philosophies through the course.

Week 7

The Claypool and Preston article discusses the importance of incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom. This will help the Indigenous students in our classes to succeed. Trying to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing is definitely something that is on the rise in Canada which is good to see. I hear a lot more about it now than what I did before and it is for sure something that I will be including in my classroom. It is important to help every student to succeed and hopefully by taking that step I am able to do my part in doing that. In the article they mentioned that this should be done in all subject areas. A lot of the time this only gets done in Social Studies and maybe English classes. As a future physical education teacher I will try and use Indigenous ways of knowing in my class and do units on traditional Indigenous games.

The article also talks about how the grading is very westernized as well though. In physical education we talk about being cross-curricular and teaching things from multiple subjects in one. From my understanding that is a step towards what the article is suggesting and there is some benefit in doing this. We are also not putting as much emphasis on number grades but our school system is very based in that sort of Western way.

Going into my pre-internship I have a couple questions that I look forward to having answered. One of my questions is how do you assess in physical education. A lot of my classes have not really spent time on assessment in physical education and I have some questions about what types of assessment are acceptable in physical education in today’s schools. Another question of mine is how you decide the weight for each thing they are assessing. I have no idea if this is assigned by the school division or if the teacher decides how to break it up themselves. My last question that I have is how to make assessment fair for all students. There are students with different abilities and I would like to learn more about how to assess each student in a way that is fair. I am very excited for this experience and I hope I get my questions answered.

Week 6

In my years as a student in school I always resisted forms of assessment around things that at the time I did not see as useful. This included being assessed on things such as poems, drawings and other more artistic things. Now looking back, I can see that they had uses and there was a reason that we had to do them but at the time I did not understand. Using technology for assessment was often something that I did not like as well. I did not see the purpose of using all this technology when I could do stuff a different way. Now though I see how computers and programs can be very useful in today’s world and that I should have taken these things more seriously. Presentations were another type of assessment that I did not enjoy. I absolutely hated having to get up in front of everyone and share what I did. Even though I was a social person, for some reason I did not like doing presentations. Now that I am older, I can really see how presentation skills are important in life.

In university I am still kind of the same way with what assessments I do not like. A lot of stuff that I do not think will help me as a teacher is the assessment I do not like. Also, being in university I have struggled with less traditional types of assessment. I can see how they could be useful but there are times where I wish that we could be assessed differently. For example, I really like having a series of quizzes throughout the year and then a big exam. I find that this is the way that I learn best since I am constantly trying to remember information. However, I do understand that there are better ways to assess learning and that it is not always about being able to memorize information. The main reason why I think I get frustrated with the less traditional types of assessment is that they are new to me. We were often not assessed in the ways that we are in university and I feel that I am not able to show what I do know. As a teacher though things are always changing and I will need to improve how I handle change.

Week 5

The article “rethinking what we know” talks about different approaches to how we think about knowledge. The article explains that understanding epistemology is important because it explains how we define knowledge that we then use to determine how we will educate. The traditional way knowledge is looked at is though positivist epistemology, where knowledge is based on facts and information that can be proven and is very scientific. The positivist way of looking at knowledge is that to know something means that you have information on that topic. To organize this knowledge we have categories, these are the subjects in schools like math, science, english, etc. Positivist teachers assess students’ knowledge by having them write tests and grading each student on how well they can regurgitate the information they have been given. Then there is constructivist epistemology. The constructivist approach to knowledge is about more than just having the facts, it is about understanding the facts and assigning meaning to the information that we are given. Constructivist teaching focuses on allowing students to develop their understanding and interpretation of the information they are provided. This approach encourages students to think outside the box, ask questions and consider things from various perspectives since the students are encouraged to develop their own understanding of the information.

The article by Mary James discusses assessment and how it relates to learning. The type of assessment often influences the type of learning that is provided, this is why effective assessment strategies are important to make sure students are also learning effectively. In the article three theories of learning are explored, behaviourist theories, cognitive theories, and socio-cultural theories. According to behaviourist theories learning is a response to the environment, rewards and punishment are used to develop habits. This theory is based on memorization of facts and deconstructing material to practise and then build upon. Cognitive or constructivist theories are about understanding and about what goes on inside a student’s head. Socio-cultural theories are based on the idea that learning happens when students interact with others and that students develop their knowledge together. The article explains how each of these theories can be used to achieve a desired outcome.

Week 4

The Sackstein article’s focus was on how to give good feedback so that we can get students to give feedback. When teaching physical education, I enjoy when I have the chance to watch the students participating in an activity and give feedback. I took a lot of what was said in the context of teaching physical education. One thing that the article suggested was limiting feedback. Instead of giving feedback on everything, focus on a couple things that the student could improve and what they did well. I think this is very important. If you give students too much feedback all at once when they are working on something new it is often overwhelming. It is important to try and improve things step by step. Another thing that was mentioned in the article was that the feedback has to be meaningful. Saying things such as “Good job” is not really that helpful to the student. The point of giving feedback is to help the student to improve, but by just telling them that they did well they are not going to be able to. Giving them specific feedback on what they did well is how they can grow and realize what they are doing well. Also, when students hear that they are doing something well it can be very motivating for students, so it is very important to give positive feedback as well as things the student can work on.
The idea of having students giving feedback to each other is one that I like as well. This was not something I was familiar with until this year. I think it is important for students to learn how to give and take constructive criticism from peers and this is kind of like that. Getting students to give each other feedback first was brought to my attention when someone in another one of my classes had an assignment using this idea. They would get students to pair up and have one student videotape the other and give feedback on how to improve. After this they would switch. I really liked this idea and I am glad to see support for the idea of peer feedback.
Another topic covered in the article is how to handle students who do not want to receive feedback because they think they did well. This happens a lot in physical education where students who are good athletes sometimes think there is nothing for them to learn. However, there is always room to improve and they need to realize that and be appreciative of feedback. The feedback is just to help students and not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
The other advice about feedback in this article was about including students in the process of making a rubric and deciding how they are assessed. I think this is a very good source of feedback for the teacher by letting the students get a say in how they want to be assessed. It gives the teacher an idea of what the students think is important. Also, this relates to other articles I have read that talks about how including the students in this process helps to motivate them. Since they are being assessed on what they want to be assessed on and they feel included they are more likely to try and give their best work.
My big takeaway from the video was how feedback should be given at all points of learning. This builds off of other readings and learning I have had that has mentioned the importance of this. Getting all the feedback at the end does not help the student to improve. If we give more frequent feedback the students will be able to do better since they will have lots of information about what is expected of them. Also, they will know what it is that they need to improve on so they can work on doing that instead of having no idea what they are doing wrong.

Week 3

Through reading the Dochy and McDowel reading they talked mainly about how teaching has changed, specifically around assessment. They mentioned how in the past assessment was done to see how much a student learned. We are now starting to shift into a time when assessment takes place throughout learning. I think that this is important to continue doing. Student cannot really learn much if they just get a grade on a topic and then move on to something else. If we assess as they progress through a project or unit, they are able to see what they are not understanding and improve. By doing this, they will be able to learn more instead of just receiving a grade on what they did know. As a teacher this is definitely something that I will be trying to work on since this process is kind of new to me.
One way that assessment and education continue to change is the use of technology. Technology is becoming more important in the society we live in and it is important that we are giving the students the skills that they need. This process of using technology in the classrooms is a learning process for the teachers as well, especially for me. It is important though that as we find new ways to use technology for education, we give students the opportunity to engage with it. This can be applied to when they talked about changing the way that we teach. Making the learning process more engaging for students can be done with the use of technology. During my previous placement the students had access to laptops every day. I used this to organize my classes in a way where the students were able to learn through programs on the computer. I think the students learned a lot with this method opposed to me telling them what they need to know.
The article also talked about how we are moving away from exams especially those that are full of multiple-choice questions. I agree that we are doing this since knowing information like that isn’t as important in today’s world. It makes sense that we move into assignments that are more creative and that help them learn through the process. In my opinion what they said makes sense that there are still some uses for exams and that multiple forms of assessment are probably what is best. There are still situations that I see where taking tests are important. Also, there are a lot of situations that cause you to work under pressure. Because of this, I think that it important that we do not completely turn away from this type of assessment.
The Roswell and Walsh article talked about how literacy has changed. They talked about with the world changing to be more technological we can use teach reading and writing on screens. This idea does kind of make sense to me. I agree that times have changed and it is becoming very important to use technology. A lot of the reading and writing we do in the real world is on technology anyway, so they should be learning to read and write on with technology. The article did mention how a lot of communicating is done digitally now instead, so writing skills online are important. I think learning how to write a proper e-mail is a skill that should be taught now. Also, I think students are more likely to be engaged when doing this work online. Students love technology, so giving them the chance to use it when you have the chance is a good idea.
However, I do think there is a bit of a downside to all of this. I think that working on a computer fixes a lot of errors that could happen when you are writing. Maybe students should continue to first learn the skills for writing without technology first. Also, students already get a lot of screen time and there has been lots of conversation about how we need to reduce kids screen time. By allowing them to do this work online as well they are really not getting a break from screen time. Overall, I do find this idea intriguing and agree that literacy has changed and our education for it should as well.

Week 2

“Putting Assessment into Practice” helped me to become more familiar with assessment and connect it to other classes. It covered values for best practice, why we assess, what to assess and when to assess. This information will be really helpful for me as a teacher when it comes to assessment. Before this my knowledge with assessment was a bit limited but now, I have some information to work off of. As I was reading the article there were some points that really stuck out to me.

In the values of assessment, a lot of the points seemed to revolve around being fair with the students. I agree that assessment should be fair and I think a big part of having fair assessment is knowing your students. Another one of the points that built off of assessment being fair is that assessment should be transparent. Students should know what they are being assessed on and it is important to make sure that they do before they are assessed.

My takeaway from the section on why we assess is that it helps the students know where they are at. With assessment students are able to see what they need to improve on and what they are better at. This is important for students to know so they don’t stay at the same level throughout the year. Also, when there is something that is being assessed students are more likely to actually try and learn the material. Lastly, I agreed with the article where it said that we can use assessment as feedback for ourselves as teachers. If there are a lot of students not understanding something, then maybe time could be spent going over it again.

The what are we assessing section really had me thinking. Looking at the section really made me realize how much goes into assessing. I thought assessment was just making an assignment and having the students complete it. This has made me realize that I need to think about what I am assessing beyond the curriculum. Also, after looking through the list it is clear to me that it is important to always assess something different instead of just doing the same type of assessment.

The when should we assess section was really clear on when to assess. It is important to assess early on, assess often and to space assessment out. If that is done the students will have a better idea of how well they are doing and what they might need to improve on. I mentioned earlier that students knowing what they need to improve on is a major part in why we assess, so it makes sense to give them time to show that they have improved. Also, if the assessment is spaced out and they do not have a bunch to do all at once, we as teachers will get a better idea of where the student is at because we should get their best work.

The “Principles for Effective Classroom Assessment” had a lot of points that I thought were important from the other article. Something new that I found in this article was the student-centred assessment and how it is motivating for students. I think it is important as teachers to try our best to make sure our students are motivated so we can assess their best work. This is something that I will remember when I am teaching and try to incorporate it into my teaching more often. When discussing learning targets Vilardi talks about how it lets the students know what they are expected to learn which goes to what I was saying previously about how assessment should be transparent. Another topic that was brought up that I agreed was really important was using multiple methods of assessment. Using multiple methods of assessment will make classes more engaging for students. Building on that is looking at the different students skills and making sure that I am assessing for all skills. That also leads into my next point of bias. Bias is something that we are working to get rid of and a lot of the points that were outlined in the bias section of the article are things that we have covered in previous ECS classes. With the work I have done in those classes I am more aware of how to avoid being a biased teacher. From both of these articles I have learned more about what assessment should look like and I look forward to using it as a teacher.

Week 1

Assessment is used to see if students are understanding the material that they are being taught. It can also be used so that the student themselves can see where they are at and what they might need to improve on. There are different ways to assess students such as exams, written assignments or other more creative activities. Ideally, students will be able to accurately demonstrate what they have learned through the assessment.

Assessment, classroom environment and instructional practices are all different from each other but are related. They all work together into either making a student’s school experience either enjoyable or not enjoyable. For example, if your instructional practices are not working for your students then your students are going to struggle. Then since they are struggling, they probably are not going to do well on the assessment, which will lead to a poor classroom environment. It is important that the assessment, classroom environment and instructional practices all work for the student.

When designing assessment for my class it is important too keep in mind the needs of my students. Some types of assessment students struggle with, so it is not a fair assessment of their knowledge. For example, some students do not do well with tests so they might know information, but their test score might not reflect that. However, I also think it is important to challenge students and that sometimes they will not always be able to do what they are comfortable with when it comes to assessment. Another thing that is important to keep in mind is that they should be assessed on what they have been taught. If something has not been covered in class then it is not fair to assess on that information.

Thinking Critically About Mathematics

Looking back at my math class experience it definitely benefited certain types of learners more than others. At the time though I did not really notice it since I was one of the people that benefited from the way it was organized. Our class was set up very basic. The teacher would do examples on the board and we would follow along and take notes. Then we would do practice questions and problems to see if we understood. After this we were given an assignment where we would answer questions based on what we were learning about. We would do several lessons set up like this until we completed the unit. At this point we did a test to see if we learned what we needed to in the unit.

This type of experience worked for me because I like trying the examples. Other students though did not like doing examples and were not learning that way. They probably would have done better if we did more hands on examples instead of just going through examples. The other thing that I liked that most students did not was the tests. I found that I retained the information more with frequent testing than if we just did assignments. Most of the students though hated tests and thought they were the worst thing. I can see that there are definitely some changes that could be made to math class to make it more inclusive for everyone.

Reading the World

Where I grew up definitely impacted the way I read the world. Looking at everyone in my town and from what I was taught I believed that if you work hard you will have money. Now that I have come to university it is clear that is not always the case. The way society is, certain people are set up to succeed more than others. Another bias that I had was that everyone learned the same way so if they were struggling then that was on them. Now I am aware that there are many different ways people learn and have learned many different ways of teaching. These are different biases that I have worked to overcome and will continue to do so through the different classes that I take.

Growing up we read a variety of different books. But lots of the time the books all involved the same types of characters. For the most part, the stories were about white characters who were either middle or upper class. This kind of does show who’s story is important. We did read stories about people overcoming rough times as well but those were the only stories we read about Indigenous or African American people.