The first reading from “Learning to Love Assessment” promoted a lot of great ideas about assessment, mostly because the author wrote in a very honest and authentic manner about the mistakes he made as a new teacher. The author suggests that students learn better when they know why they are being assessed, and this involves the teacher clearly laying out the learning objectives for that unit. It is also important that the teacher takes the time to assess what the students’ strengths and weaknesses are, which can be done through informal assessment. The teacher can them utilize this feedback and work it into the lesson plans to provide a better learning environment for the students. I really liked that the author of this article gave specific ways to do informal assessment, rather than vaguely saying it needs to happen and expecting teachers to know what to do. Ideas such as surveys, pre-assessments, and simply asking the students to write to him about which instructional approaches worked best for them were all great ideas.
The second reading from “Classroom Instruction that Works” focused a lot on assessment feedback. When giving feedback, it is extremely important to provide specific details about what that student needs to work on, and what they did well, so that they can build and improve upon these skills in the future. Not only does the teacher have to be the one providing feedback, but students can also provide it to one another. The chapter also emphasized the use of rubrics for assignments. This really struck a chord with me because I can remember my 9th grade Governor’s School teacher telling as at the beginning of the year to always ask for a rubric if a teacher does not provide one, because if they don’t, the grade they assign to your assignment has not been fairly explained. The article that I chose for today’s blog post focused specifically on the importance of rubrics: “They spell out scoring criteria so that multiple teachers, using the same rubric for a student’s essay, for example, would arrive at the same score or grade.” An interesting idea that the article noted is that rubrics aren’t only for the teacher’s grading benefit, but they allow students to self-assess as well. If a student and a teacher disagree on a grade they have been given, the two can schedule a meeting to go over the criteria and why exactly their opinions differ on the grade. This is a great way for the student to become involved in their own education process.