Assessment and Philosophy: Exit Interview

  1. Describe your philosophy of assessment and evaluation. (In describing your philosophy, you are expected to address the theory and practice studied this semester)

My knowledge and experience around assessment and evaluation was very minimal before attending this ECS 410 class. Throughout class discussions, readings, and additional resources provided, I have had the opportunity to develop my own philosophy around assessment and evaluation. I have gained a better understanding around the importance of both formative and summative assessments, and when it is most appropriate to use them. Within my own philosophy, I really enjoy implementing diagnostic assessment, and I believe it can be a great strategy in assessing what students already know prior to the learning process. Diagnostic assessment can help guide teachers in the direction of their learning process for the students.

To start, my assessment and evaluation philosophy is highly influenced around the idea of creating a safe learning environment. I believe it is important for students to feel comfortable and know that it’s ok to make a mistake. By making mistakes enhances the learning process for students and teachers. As a teacher, I want my students to take risks, and not worry about getting an answer wrong. I don’t want my students to focus on the final product and grade, but to rather focus on the process, and their individual improvement they have made throughout the learning experience.

My philosophy is also strongly built around getting to know my students and learning what makes them “tick”. I believe as teachers, we need to take the time and get to know our students interest and what learning strategies works best for them. As a developing teacher, I have learnt through class, and experience in the field, getting to know our students allows for that “safe environment”, and it provides students confidence and a sense of importance. There can be a wide variety of different learners in a classroom, no one will learn at the same pace, or at the same level. As teachers we need to develop a variety of assessment strategies to meet the different levels of all students.

One practice I have learnt in ECS 410 is involving students with the assessment process. This is one area of my philosophy that is a work in progress in regards to my philosophy and I plan to implement it within my Internship experience. Allowing students to voice their opinion, and they are able to gain a deeper understanding around what is important to know. Students are able to feel a sense of value and collaboration. By having students engaged with assessment may potentially motivate and encourage students to do their best.

As a Physical Educator, I believe in experiential learning and using formative assessment by observation and monitoring students improvement. As a Physical Educator our professional duty is to provide students with a learning experience where they can connect their daily lives, and improve their well-being. We want our students to become confident and competent movers. We had a guest speaker come in and speak with the Phys. Ed majors, and I truly benefited from this presentation. Tania stated the importance to assess what the students learn, not what they can and or can’t do well.

Lastly, my philosophy is strongly influenced by the Hellison model, TPSR, Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility. Incorporating the 5 levels of TPSR within a physical education program or wellness 10, is a great way for students to self-assess behaviour,  and responsibility. I believe developing a rubric where students can assess the following 5 levels would be a great way to engage students process of learning. The 5 different levels include;

  • Level 5: students apply level of 4 beyond the physical education setting, such as in the classroom, on the playground, at home, and in other life situations.
  • Level 4: Social Responsibility, make sure all players in the group have equal opportunity to be involved. The student willingly helps others, actively encourages, and proactively applies fair play/rules.
  • Level 3: Students will demonstrate an ability to be more self-directed, showing self-responsibility and being caring. A student who could involve others in the group more or could encourage others more. A student, who plays by the rules, self-motivates and can work independently. Could be more sensitive to others.
  • Level 2: Students will demonstrate aspects of participant and involvement. They take part as direct but show little effort to contribute independently. They can control behaviors to not interfere with others and are self-organized. They are able to participate without getting fully involved.
  • Level 1: Students who demonstrate aspects of respect and self-control. They are involved some of the time, and have minimal respect and consideration for others, They are unfair at times, and tend to lose focus without teacher supervision.
  • Level 0: Irresponsibility, the students disrupts group activity and distracts others, they cheat and denies responsibility. They prevent others from participating and blame others.

 

As a Physical Educator, assessment is just as important as any other subject area, and it is something I wont take lightly. As physical educators our job is to build better and healthier people for life!

2. Describe how you used assessment and evaluation in your field experience.

Throughout my pre-internship, I implemented all three forms of assessment, diagnostic, formative, and summative. I used diagnostic assessment within the “set” portion of my lesson to try and spark my students attention. I used this approach to see where students were at and what knowledge they already had. I find diagnostic assessment a great way to determine what direction to take with the students learning process. Some examples of diagnostic assessment included brain storming strategies like concept maps, and a yarn activity to create an analogy to reflect on ones life.

During my pre-internship I found to like formative assessment the most. I found students were more engaged with the learning and they always completed the work on time, and were open to different assignments I tried. I used formative assessment in a variety of ways, these included, observation, discussion, exit slips, self-monitoring tools, pair share, and visual representations.

With regards to summative assessment, I used it three times throughout my pre-internship experience. I had students complete a journal entry and students were marked on how well they were to show their deeper understanding around connecting what was learnt to their own individual experiences. I also used it for a final presentation, students were given a case study and they were marked on the information provided, along with how well they were able to understand the supports and health promotion around a specific Chronic Illness. Lastly, I used summative assessment in a Physical Education class where students were asked to rate their effort using a scale, and they were asked to provide a reason why they believe they deserved their mark.

Tools Used:

The tools I used throughout pre-internship included rubrics, checklists for Health Education, and in Physical Education and Wellness 10, I used mainly rating scales and self-assessment tools. I found it difficult to find which assessment tool or strategy I liked the best because 3-weeks didn’t seem like enough time. When speaking with my cooperating teacher around assessment, she said it is something a teacher will always be working at to improve and you constantly change the ways you assess students to meet the classes individual needs. Assessment is one of the most difficult aspects to teaching and I would have to agree.

Differentiation/Accommodations: 

Ways in which I provided differentiation and accommodations in regards to assessment included, providing a variety of ways in which students could present a case study. They were given options like, verbal, use of a poster, role play, or use of technology. I also accommodated for students with anxiety struggles, I allowed them to present to myself at noon rather then in front of the whole class. I also provided option for students when they had to create a health promotion poster, they could use technology, free hand, visuals, words anything to develop some sort of promotion in regards to Chronic Illness.

3. How closely did your assessment and evaluation practices in the field align with your philosophy? If there were discrepancies between your philosophies and practice, describe the barriers that prevented you from realizing your vision. Describe how you might address/overcome these barriers in your internship.

My assessment and evaluation philosophy didn’t always align with the practice being done out in the field. However, I may think this due to being at the school for only 3-weeks, and not seeing as much of the assessment practice that takes place. There were a few discrepancies that did come to my attention in which I would consider doing differently within my own teaching assessment strategies.

For example, the Physical Education classes I observed throughout my experience, consisted students marks mainly around participation and what students felt they deserved. Students would rate themselves daily on a scale form 1-5. As a physical educator, and the knowledge I gained from Tania, I believe it is important to assess students learning process, and not just participation and effort levels. As educators we need to ask ourselves what is it that students are learning. A barrier to making this change was lack of time, and being respectful towards my cooperating teacher. My goal was to not go into the school during my three weeks and change the ways someone else assesses. but to gain experience and insight on ways I could improve and develop my own philosophy.

Another area that didn’t align was providing marks on assignments that were handed back to the students. I had asked my cooperating teacher if she wanted marks visible for the students to see, or not. She confidently said, “of course”. This is one area throughout ECS 410 I began to consider whether I would provide marks on my assignment when I handed them back. I’m still on the fence, and throughout more experience I will be able to come to a conclusion.

Another barrier to assessment use during my experience was the demand for assessment in Health, but not in Physical Education. We were asked to provided marks for health, but told Phys. Ed wasn’t crucial. I believe all subject areas are important and need to be assessed equally. I believe overall, having more time, and getting to know the students would assist in any barriers or challenges I felt throughout my assessment experience. During Internship, it is important to collaborate with my co-operating teacher and ask what her philosophy is on assessment and to see fi I can try a few new things throughout my experience.

4. Based on ECS 410 and your field experience, what are the 3 key learning’s you have taken away form this semester about assessment and evaluation? Why will these 3 things be so important your teaching practice?

3 key learnings in which I have taken away from this semester around assessment and evaluation include;

  1. Students involvement. The idea around involving students within he assessment process is important, and it is something that has come to my attention throughout the semester. It is important because it gives students a sense of value and importance. When students are given the opportunity to set their own criteria they learn more about what they need to know and they begin to understand what it is important. Setting criteria, along with developing class and individual goals helps to motivate students learning and it can all have a positive impact on students success.
  2. Differentiation/Accommodations. I really took away the idea around choice, and providing variation for assessment. It is important within my teaching practice because not all students learn the same, and are at the same learning levels. Providing variation and options allows for all students to find success throughout the learning process. Making adaptations allows to accommodate all students. It is important to get to know our students that we teach, and to be able to provide appropriate strategies in which all students can benefit from. Providing oral, written, visual, and active learning is key.
  3. Formative Assessment vs. Summative Assessment. Lastly, I have really developed the idea around formative assessment and how beneficial it is for students. Summative assessment is still being used across Saskatchewan, and throughout my pre-internship experience, it is demanded they as teachers we provide students with grades. However, I have grown to understand the process in which students improve and develop rather then focusing on the final product. Formative assessment is a positive learning experience for students, and it allows them to take risks, and learn at their own level and pace. There is a time and place, and understanding the appropriate times to use different assessments is crucial to students learning experience.

 

I have really enjoyed the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout this class. And I am excited to explore and practice my assessment strategies this Fall.

Michelle Sweeting

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