ECS 410- Demonstration of Learning Interview

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My philosophy of assessment and evaluation has only started to develop. From my Education Assessment class, as well as pre-internship, my philosophy has grown and developed drastically from where it has started. I believe grades should be as close to a representation of a student’s understanding as possible. That means, not giving zeros for assignments and exams not completed. This is not an accurate evaluation of their knowledge and therefore should not be shown as one. Although this is a great concept, it is not always easy to accomplish. Because of this, I believe the teacher should try their hardest to get the proper grade of the students and, if this can’t happen, to simply omit this mark (so long as there are other grades that assess the outcome). Also, I believe that every lesson should include some form of assessment- primarily being diagnostic, and formative. This allows students to have feedback and learn from their mistakes which ultimately increases their opportunity for success. One of the most important concepts of my philosophy is that less emphasis should be spend on grades, and more should be spent on the actual learning. This is something a lot of people struggle to understand; however, from experience I’ve learned that it is more important to teach life-long learning rather than memorization of facts. I’ve also learned the importance of giving students options and variety in the way they show their knowledge. This allows all students equal opportunities to succeed as well as help develop areas students struggle with.

I used various methods of assessment during pre-internship. I used a lot of formative assessment to gauge how well my students were learning the material I taught. This was very important because a concept I thought would take a few days, ended up taking a week. Without the formative assessment I would have moved on and most of them wouldn’t have learned the important concept. After I was sure they knew the material, I used summative assessment to document how well they understood it. For my formative assessment I did a few EXIT slips, thumbs up/down, discussion, and checking assignments/homework. For my summative evaluations I did a quiz, lab handout, and an exam. I had spent a lot of time differentiating my quiz and exam by using simpler language, helpful reminders, student choice, and graphics. I noticed a lot more of my students had done better with the adaptations than they had initially when I didn’t include them.

I felt that my philosophy had really developed through this experience whether it was re-emphasizing the importance of concepts or learning through mistakes. While I was there, I did end up giving two zeros to two of my students. They had only showed up to 3 classes during the three weeks that I was there. I realized in those situations the problems absences create. Both students I knew, just from those three days, were capable of getting good marks if they only spent the time learning the material. I always made sure to have some form of assessment in my lessons and this I found to really help me when planning for the next day and understanding what my students understood and what needed to be re-taught. I did also find it hard to really develop my philosophy when I was working with the conditions set up by my coop. While I thought he was a great teacher, I would have done things a little differently when setting up the grading scheme. I felt there was too much weight on the exams and not much chance for students to progress and demonstrate their knowledge of the outcomes in ways other than exams. When I am in my internship, this is an area I hope to really challenge myself. I would like to present a lot more student choice with regards to the way they demonstrate their knowledge as well as allow for students to progress in meeting the outcomes- this may mean evaluating students more than once on certain outcomes. While I do realize this will take a lot more time to develop, I am excited to try and see how much this helps my students to succeed.

Three things I learned about assessment/evaluation from pre-internship:

  1. Absences are very frustrating. I was shocked to see how often students were absent from class and had trouble keeping up with what students had missed. This was especially tricky when students missed a day in which summative evaluation took place. When I had 6 students who missed the quiz, and 8 different students who needed to hand in their lab handout that was to be graded, it was very difficult to stay on top of students and accommodate all their needs. This is important to my teaching practice because this is a problem that will more than likely always exist. I need to come up with a strategy that better addresses this problem and takes stress away from both me and my students.
  2. There’s no reason to make tests super formal. Although its great to have a common layout to the exam, there was no reason to use higher vocabulary and scientific jargon. I found I was much more successful when I directly related the exams to instances that happened in previous lessons. While I completely agree in critical thinking, I don’t see the point in making an exam tougher than it needs to be- and in ways that don’t contribute to the learning outcome. I also learned how long it took to make exams and learned the care that is needed to ensure the test is meeting its objective in assessing the outcomes. This is important because in subjects like science and math, tests and quizzes cannot be entirely avoided- and nor should they. It will be very important to further develop my test-making skills as it often reflects how well my students will do on that exam.
  3. Cheating is more common that I had initially thought. The first week I was there I had caught a student cheating on a quiz. This both surprised and upset me. I felt like I had not prepared that student enough to feel confident in their own skills and was also disappointed that such pressure was put on grades that that student felt the need to cheat. I have learned that it’s a tough situation to handle, especially when this was a summative assessment. On my next exam, I had made two different copies. This was a preventative way of not having to deal with students copying. By doing this, I ended up catching a different student cheating but did not have to discipline them as their marks were the ones to be impacted. They ended up getting a lot of questions wrong which resulted in a poor mark (they were not allowed a re-write in this case). This is important because my classroom management philosophy stresses the importance of taking preventative measures rather than always having to deal with the problems. By making two different copies of the test, not allowing cell-phones, and having the class spread out, I didn’t have to worry about disciplining a student for cheating on an exam.
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