It is my belief that the main purpose of assessment is to support student learning. This means using assessment for learning to drive instruction in order to improve learning. The following are beliefs that I have that support this:
I believe in differentiated assessment.
Just as I believe in differentiated instruction in my classroom, I believe in differentiated assessment. This means catering the assessment to the child. I believe that there are many ways to assess students and that not one assessment will work for all students. Every student has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to know my learners so that I can provide assessment to them that allows them equal opportunity to show their learning. One practice that I will have in my classroom is giving students options on the assignments that they will be assessed on. This will help incorporate all learning styles and also the interests of the students.
I believe that mistakes are essential for learning.
In my classroom, my students will feel comfortable enough to make mistakes. I believe that mistakes are important tools to learn from and assess what could have been done differently for next time. As a teacher, I will help cultivate this safe atmosphere in my classroom by acknowledging my mistakes and showing students how I fix them. I believe wholeheartedly in these words of Anne Davies:
Learning involves taking risks and making mistakes, and then doing things differently as a result. Mistakes provide assessment evidence- they give learners feedback about what is not working and bring them closer to knowing what will work. Unless students understand that mistakes are essential for learning, they may not take risks necessary for it to occur (Davies, 2011, p. 16).
I believe that constructive feedback is more important than a “mark.”
This means that I will provide my students with feedback and comments to help them understand what they did well and what could use improvement. I will also provide constructive ideas for students on how they can improve for next time. One thing that I learned in this assessment class is the effectiveness of going over comments and feedback with students before they see their “marks.” This practice will help students to focus more on the learning and give them time to reflect on their efforts.
I believe that assessment should be an ongoing process between teacher and student.
This means that assessment never stops and is continually used to help students grow. Students will be involved in the assessment process by helping decide assessment criteria and setting goals for themselves. This also means that in my classroom, if students are unhappy with the outcome of summative assignments, they will always be able to go back and fix it. I don’t believe that assessment is meant as a one time shot to show what you know. In my own classroom, I will encourage my students to always look back at their mistakes and correct them if they wish. I will always be willing to reassess student work because it means that they are taking the learning into their own hands and learning from their mistakes.
I believe that students should been shown success.
It is important to show students examples of what success looks like so that they know what to aim for and what they will be able to do after they have learned. In my classroom, I will show students several examples of varying successes because success may look different for different students.
I believe in beginning with the end in mind.
It is important that all learning activities have specific purpose and that students know that purpose. As Laveault writes,
A key prerequisite for properly implementing assessment for learning is for teachers to have the big picture of what they will engage in with the students over a period of time. This means that they need to understand and keep in mind the main purpose (s) of a unit and each lesson, as well as the activities. They need to see how the various blocks of knowledge fit together at a higher level, which will prepare them to help their students build conceptual frameworks based on principled understandings. ( Laveault, 2016 p. 233)
I believe it is important to share learning goals and outcomes with students from the very beginning so that they have a goal to strive for. It is also exciting for students to see all of the things they are going to be able to do after learning in class. A practice that I will have in my classroom is sharing a specific “I Can” statement with students for every lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, I will introduce to my students the learning topic and share the “I Can” statement with them. I will post the “I Can” statement for all students to see as a reminder of the learning track they are on.
I believe it is important to have open communication between the teacher, student, and parents about assessment.
I believe that parents should always be informed of what their child is learning in school as well as how they are doing. I want to create an open communication between me, the teacher, and the parents and student. This will involve me doing things such as inviting parents to my classroom, giving parents friendly phone calls to share good news instead of always negative phone calls, and inviting parents to contact me with concerns they may have about their child’s learning. One thing that I want to incorporate in my classroom someday is a class blog. This would involve sharing what the students are learning, as well as pictures and student work.
Davies, Anne. (2011). Making Classroom Assessment Work. Courtenay, BC, Canada: Building Connections Publishing.
Laveault, D., Allal, L, & Laveault. (2016). Assessment for learning: Meeting the challenge of implementation. Springer.