Philosophy of Assessment

Teaching in a twenty-first century revolves around giving feedback. By giving feedback throughout a unit, or a lesson a student can monitor his or her progress throughout the unit. By providing students with feedback through formative assessment, it is important not only to further their learning but to also give the opportunity to meet the outcomes. The role of formative assessment is to inform me as the educator where I need to take future instruction. It will show me if something needs to be retaught or if the knowledge is grasped enough to move on to the next concept. As stated in my philosophy of education goal setting is a beneficial way to support formative assessment in the classroom. By setting goals, you can set up various ways to check progress throughout the school year.  I can help students achieve these goals by providing them with positive and constructive feedback in order to help them succeed. I believe that there are many different ways in which formative assessment can be used in the classroom, such as exit slips, brief presentations, and checklists.  However, formative assessment can be as easy as paying attention to what your students are doing in the class.

I believe that there is a great focus on summative assessment in the classroom. After all, grades provide many students with motivation. However, I believe that in turn this motivation by grades can be detrimental to many students. To explain, many students get anxiety and get added stress from different forms of assessment because of the need to obtain high grades. Because of this, I believe that assessment should be performed in a way where stress is easy to handle. Furthermore, I believe that assessment needs to be engaging. I believe in order to reduce this stress it is essential to move away from traditional forms of assessment and include assessment such as contracts, portfolios, as well as providing plenty of choice for students.

I do believe that grades still have a place in the classroom because there are students that are motivated by grades. Students are driven to improve their grades by including more effort. However, I also believe there is truth to the idea that assessment needs to be used as information to guide future learning. Traditional forms of assessment revolve around what Alfie Kohn calls reward and punishment (Kohn, 2009, p88). As a result, assessment needs to be beneficial to all students. I believe it is important to find a balance of using grades as well as getting the message across to students that the important part of assessment is the information that you gain from the feedback. As a result, it is important to provide multiple ways of summative assessment to cater to the different students.

As noted in my philosophy of education collaboration is an essential in today’s classrooms not only as an instructional strategy, and as a way to build relationships, but also as a way to form assessments between teachers and students. To further explain it is important that the students have a role in the assessment process. I see an importance in finding what types of summative assessment interest students. On the other hand, it is important to incorporate a variety of assessments to interest the needs of all students, rather than the majority of a class. Students can provide input and insight as to what they want to be assessed and compromise with the teacher to create assessment that is equal and fair.

In today’s 21st century classrooms, teachers are going to have to adapt to different needs in the classroom. As the article, The Adaptive Dimension in Core Curriculum states, “Teachers have both the right and the responsibility to adapt the learning experiences so that students may benefit more fully from instruction” (Saskatchewan Education, 1992, p6). In other words, a responsibility of the teacher is to assess the needs of the students in the classroom in order to know the best way a student can achieve success.   Furthermore, the Student Evaluation: A Teacher Handbook states,

“… Student evaluation should be an integral part of good teaching practice … student evaluation should be planned, tied to the intended outcomes of the curriculum, and be capable of meeting individual student needs” (Saskatchewan Education, 1991, p2).

The role of the teacher is adapting to the needs of the classroom to foster student success. To achieve success the students need to be in a supportive environment that focuses on collaborate work, and giving more power to the learners, students must be engaged in active learning, (Saskatchewan Education, 1992, p4)­.

There are many parallels to my philosophy on education and my philosophy on assessment. Fostering to the eight multiple intelligences is important for adapting to the classroom needs in order to become successful. I believe as the Adaptive Dimension states, “The role of the teacher is twofold: first, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of students in terms of their various types of intelligence; and second, to help students to maximize their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses” (Saskatchewan Education 1992, p17). By identifying the multiple intelligences in our students we not only can create an environment that students feel comfortable in but we also can maximize student’s learning potential (Saskatchewan Education, 1992, p17). In order for students to succeed to their fullest, the classroom environment must be a safe environment.

In my philosophy of education, I focus on the importance of teaching in a twenty-first century classroom. In a twenty-first century classroom, I view assessment as ongoing. It requires collaboration with the teachers, parents, and students. Assessment needs to take place through out the learning in order to create a continuum for students to visualize their progress. To further explain, I believe both formative and summative assessment needs to measure throughout units rather than testing students at the end of a unit. I believe that this visual of growth throughout the unit is beneficial for students in order to achieve success.

I feel as throughout my teaching profession there is going to be different challenges that I am going to face in regards to my philosophy of assessment. One of the main challenges that I believe I am going to have to deal with is learning how to manage the many different opinions when it comes to assessment in the classroom. For example, there are many teachers who still believe in the traditional model of teaching. However, I believe that these differences could cause conflict in certain situations. To further explain, I believe that as Jerome Bruner said, “we should endeavour to create an environment where students can ‘experience success and failure not as reward and punishment, but as information’” (Kohn, 2009, p88). If someone who believes in standardized testing is the right direction for education I would see a conflict of interest between our two beliefs and would, in turn, could create conflict in the workplace.

Another challenge I am going to face is the accountability of students in situations where there is collaboration on projects. Everybody has been in the situation where one student has put in a bunch of work and the other students did not put in the same effort. As a result, this ends in frustrated students because they have to share the mark. Furthermore, this grade does not reflect everyone in the group. However, to combat this challenge, I am going to give my students plenty of peer and self-evaluations. This will give the teacher the idea of who and who is not contributing to a group, as well as their personal learning in the group. If possible, in group situations a teacher can also assign roles for students in order for them to be involved in their group (Piper, 2012). Fair assessment in collaborative situations is a goal for me to strive and achieve as I move forward in my teaching career.

In conclusion, my view of assessment deals a lot with collaboration in the classroom, as well as collaboration with students, parents, and teachers. Assessment also stems further than just monitoring student’s classwork. Rather it is assessing the needs of the student in the classroom and how to support student learning in the classroom. Assessment is determining if students need additional help or supports in place for students to succeed in the classroom. Through the many challenges that I will come across in the teaching profession I do not believe that these challenges are impossible. However, I view these challenges will be goals of mine to improve on in my future classrooms.