More Thoughts on Assessment

2 Feb

A big topic in our EMTH classes has been focused on assessment.  Something that I have noticed before but never really reflected on was the type of assessment I was exposed to in my schooling career.

Assessment is going to happen in numerous places but generally in the three main areas: beginning, middle, and end.  Generally all of the assessment I have encountered has been something that happened at the end of the learning.  Originally when thinking about it I could only think of a few examples of assessment at the beginning, for instance an exam to start math in grade nine to see if I was placed in the right class.  I thought of cases where we had quizzes and assignments do throughout a course and that was the limit what I thought about for assessment during the middle of the learning.  It is easy to remember the end assessment with testing and finals.

Then I thought, well really what counts as assessment?

I didn’t think about the beginning discussions we would have before a topic, or numerous activities that went on throughout the learning, or many other different assessment tools.  I thought only about what I was marked and given a grade on.  There’s more to assessment than a grade.

The question is, were my teachers using these activities to assess my knowledge?  Did my teachers ever really do anything with that assessment for me?

I think about assessment a lot.  The only way that assessment is going to be beneficial is if I can apply it to actually help the students.  Feedback.  That’s a word I got very little of in my schooling.  Of course there was many instances where I did get feedback, but it was really ever given to me in a way that I was actually expected to apply it to my learning.  How can assessment be affective if you don’t fix the areas that are week?

Focusing assessment on the end result also has a lot of ramifications for the learning of a student.  Since that was where most of my assessment was evident I went through school knowing that I didn’t really have to learn anything as long as I could do it on the test.  Focusing on the end result puts emphasis on the final product and disregards the process to get there.  I find that the process of learning is actually where you find the learning, not the product, so the assessment should be found in the same places.

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