Demonstration of Learning

Describe your philosophy of assessment and evaluation. In describing your philosophy, you are expected to address the theory and practice studied this semester.

  • Students do not all learn at the same pace. If a student has a concept down, there’s no reason not to summatively assess them, and let some students take a little extra time.
  • Poor performance on assessment is not likely the student’s fault. Adjust teaching and communicate with the student to find out where you went wrong and help them.
  • We want students to succeed, find assessment that will do that.
  • Tests assess environmental and emotional variables as well as content and understanding. They are not always valid forms of assessment. It is okay not to utilize testing in your classroom.
  • Students need to learn to assess themselves to ensure they are doing their best work possible. Assessment as learning is also assessing peers. This is a valuable way to teach students to be mindful of criteria, as well as giving constructive and meaningful feedback.
  • Let students know your expectations. Whether it’s through a rubric or exemplars, students deserve to know what you expect from them.
  • Assessment for learning can be as simple as quick understanding checks (thumbs up/down) throughout a lesson.

Describe how you used assessment and evaluation in your field experience. Consider how you used formative and summative assessment, what assessment/evaluation tools you used, how you involved students in the assessment/evaluation process, differentiation and accommodations you made for equitable assessment/evaluation, etc. What worked well? What didn’t? What would you change and how?

  • Tests/Quizzes – went through two tests with the class after they were written, as well as facilitated a test.
  • Supplemental – redid a section of the test most students did poorly on (Summative)
  • Homework Check – people cheated, we gave them a chance to redo it (Formative/Summative)
  • Thumbs Up Check – only select students responded in class, in Pre-Calc 30, almost no one responded. The thumbs up check was the only way to see if they knew what was happening (Formative)
  • Inquiry Assignment – in Social Studies, I did an inquiry assignment that I used to guide the lecture I did the next class (Diagnostic). In Math 9, I did an inquiry assignment that we took in at the end of class, gave no marks for, just looked at what information the students came up with (Formative)

How closely did your assessment and evaluation practices in the field align with your philosophy? If there were discrepancies between your philosophies and practice, describe the barriers that prevented you from realizing your vision. Describe how you might address/overcome these barriers in your internship.

  • The only part that does align with my philosophy is the fact that I got to experience the idea of student “failure” on assessment is a reflection of the teacher, not necessarily the student.
  • I got to validate my opinions on testing.
  • Other than that, I didn’t get to try much assessing, or have many varied assessment tools. My biggest barrier was that the school preferred tests, and I didn’t want to upset the status quo too much.
  • I can break these barriers by simply having more time with the students.
  • I’ll get to know them and how they learn.
  • I will have more time to fix any mistakes I make, as well as more autonomy in my own classes.

Based on ECS 410 and your field experience, what are the 3 key learnings you have taken away from this semester about assessment and evaluation? Why will these 3 things be so important to your teaching practice?

  • Don’t try to trick your students – your goal is to ensure that all students can be fairly assessed. Assessment and evaluation are techniques used to gauge student knowledge and understanding. An assessment that does not accurately measure student understanding is ineffective and is not helping a student to grow.
  • Formative assessment can be marked occasionally, but its main purpose is as an assessment for learning, meaning that it should be used to help guide teaching and shape student learning so that they understand the content before they are graded on it.
  • If an assessment fails, or a student, or multiple students do poorly on an assessment, do not look to immediately blame them. Look to yourself and your own teaching first, to find what you  can do better to help your students. But don’t wear yourself out.
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Assessment

Assessment in Math Classrooms

What I want to focus on today is the class discussion we had about our pre-internships. During the discussion, it sort of seemed as if I was an outlier in many of my experiences and take-aways from the time spent in the school. But, after leaving class sort of confused about what had happened, and why everyone seemed so surprised with what my findings were, I went and spoke to a few of my other math major people about what their opinions were on my experience.

And we have definitely discussed before in my other classes with the math majors. But the consistent theme that comes through is that my pre-internship experience is not that much different than theirs. I did get to go to a lot of diverse classrooms, but, to be fair, most of the observation I did was in the mathematics classrooms in the school.

And in math, it seems that the only assessment really is quizzes and tests, with a few projects sprinkled in between. So I just wanted to mention that so that no one had any misconceptions about my pre-internship. The teachers were awesome and friendly, and very hard working.

The discrepancy with assessment comes from the fact that it really is the easiest in math to assess through tests. It is a way to make sure every type of skill is shown by students and it is easy and efficient for teachers to mark.

I will not be a teacher who uses tests in the classroom. I sort of see their merit, but they are of little to no use to me as an educator. I believe there are other ways to assess understanding that rely less on other variables and more on students’ abilities to understand and relay that understanding.

But having that discussion in class was very useful, it helped me see how a lot of other subjects are very quickly moving forward. It just seems like it’s math that is lagging behind in the innovation.

Communication and Making Mistakes

My Favourite No

It’s always nice seeing teachers find new ways to make a wrong answer a positive experience. Forever, it seems like being wrong has been this huge taboo in classrooms. The reasons students don’t participate is the fear of being wrong, when they get a test back, they check their mark and then look for all the red pen telling them what marks they lost. It makes being wrong such a horrible experience. When, as the teacher in the video shows, it’s actually quite a positive thing to be wrong.

Being wrong means that you make a mistake and you learn from it. When we read old fables or stories to our elementary, heck, even our high school (and university!) students, the story always has a message, or a moral to highlight. And, more often than not, the protagonist (or antagonist) learns this moral through making a mistake, and learning from what they did wrong, or they don’t learn from their fatal flaw, and die in some horrible fashion in a Shakespearean drama. This is because failure can tell us so much about ourselves, and so much about a topic, that is a disservice to our students to not celebrate those failures.

I’ve used this quote in another class this week, but it is applicable, so we’ll do it again. We learned this way back in the day when we watched The Magic School Bus, and Miss Frizzle told us to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy”. We our going to make mistakes, it is inevitable, so we should embrace them and learn from them.

I was tutoring a friend of mine in Calculus a few days ago, and he brought me his last quiz to look over, because he has his midterm in a few days, and this was the only test he struggled on. And what we did was look over the questions he got wrong, identified his mistakes, and built upon why he was wrong. And that was the most useful thing he found in studying for his test. Because he found, and I do, too, that I remember my mistakes much more clearly than what I did right. And that comes from knowing why I was wrong, or why he was wrong.

Especially in math, routines are formed by students. They learn how to divide, they learn how to multiply, they learn the “basics” of math very quickly in school…and then you proceed to take fifteen million more years of math where you basically just use those same simple rules over and over and over again, getting more and more abstract, or complex as you continue. So, by the time you reach high school, you have a way of doing math, of organizing your questions, or of doing these procedures. And if a student has not been understanding or doing something correctly from the beginning, then it is extremely difficult to undo those misconceptions without understanding of what they have been doing wrong.

“My Favourite No” really lets students get that understanding of what exactly is wrong, why it is wrong, and, most importantly, what we can learn from the mistake. And that is why it is such an important tool for assessment. Students need to know how to correct their mistakes before it is too late, they need to be guided through the formative assessment and catch those errors before they are finally graded in a summative assessment.

Importance of Communicating with Parents

In chapter 9 of Making Classroom Assessment Work, there is a focus on communication. And one of the communication channels they highlight as being extremely important is the communication between parents or guardians and teachers. I think it is extremely important to have parents and guardians involved in the school, for a number of reasons.

Like it says in the chapter, parents and guardians want to be informed of their child’s learning and how well they are doing, most parents and guardians would love it if the teachers were willing to be open in communicating.

Another reason I think it is important is that parents and guardians will be hearing about how school is going if they have any communication with their child, and that communication may not always be positive. If a child is going to be going home and talking about what you are doing in the classroom, or what you are changing, they may not be happy about it at first. Students like routine, and I know a lot of people, myself included, who hate surprises. I always like seeing the rubric before I do an assignment because I don’t want to be surprised about what I’m being marked on. I like when the desk arrangements stay the same. And, if a teacher is going to shake things up, even if I get forewarning of the change, that doesn’t mean I won’t be unsure or wary for a while. Whenever I am unsure or unhappy about something in school, most often my parents are the second people to hear about it, right after my best friend.

As a teacher, you want to get ahead of that negativity, in case it will occur, because oftentimes, the students are just not sure how to feel, or just don’t know enough about the change yet to fully appreciate it, and they will come around. But if the parents and guardians hear about the change when they are being negative about it, that negativity will stick with them. So talk to them, let them know that you care and want them to be involved, and let them be introduced to a concept in a positive light.

The final reason I’ll mention that parents and guardians should be involved is the student-parent conferences mentioned in the chapter. The conferences are ways for students to talk to their family or support group in a structured way about what they are learning. The conferences are important because it promotes communication in the family, as well as helps a student focus on what it is important to let their family or support systems know. When I would go home after school and we’d eat, there was always the “how was school?” talk, and then the “what did you learn?” after. And I would always be confused about what to say. The conferences help so that students can demonstrate what they’ve learned (reading a book, solving a problem), and also give students more guided questions on what to tell their people so that they know exactly what the student is being taught. If the conferences are monitored, as they can be, they are also a way to assess a student’s understanding of a topic, but also see where their interest lies in the topic. Hearing the student orally talk about “what they learned”, means that a student is going to be more focused on what they found they really connected with, or understood the best, and you can use that when working with the student further.

Involving parents and guardians means that you are connecting the school more fully with the community surrounding and you are also letting parents know what exactly is going on in the school. Because we have those students in the school building for a very long time for the majority of the week, and often times no one really knows or is informed about what the students are doing. Showing parents and guardians that you have nothing to hide will make you more reputable, more trustworthy, and help you develop those relationships that are so desperately needed. But it is also helpful in assessment, in one way because you can use the conferences to formatively assess student learning, but also because knowing you have a dialogue with the support systems means that you need to have something to communicate to them with, and so it might encourage you to keep anecdotal records, or collect data on student achievement, encourage students to build portfolios, or add more information and weight to your comments on assignments.

Assessing for the Outcome

My opinions on assessment always seem to be really clear to me. I think I know what I want, how I want to do it, and what it all means. But then I realize that I haven’t really done much assessment in my life, and so I still have a lot to learn. Before I can get right in there and start getting that practical knowledge, I have more assessment classes to go to. Two key areas this week that I want to address as being the areas that I have developed further with more knowledge are assessing with EAL learners in mind, and gathering evidence in a math classroom, and other classrooms.

Assessment and EAL Learners and How the Practices Apply to All Learners

We talked about a few practices that are very useful to EAL learners that I really appreciated, and I think that, because I believe in inclusion, it’s not a bad thing to say that the methods mentioned could be helpful to all learners. I think that we often learn of a concept and hear that it would be beneficial to students of a certain group, but we often forget that tier one teaching is “just good teaching”. It is making those adaptations so all students can learn and be treated like humans. And EAL learners are human, are our students that we care about, so integrating practices that help them should not only be regulated to “EAL Teaching Time”, they should be used throughout the classroom,  so that they know that they are a part of the classroom, and we want to make the entirety of the classroom an open and inclusive area for them. I do think that we did learn a lot of good strategies to apply to a whole classroom.

  • The Top Five Words – truth to be told, this is something I had never even thought about in all of my years of education, but is it ever essential! When we do outcome breakdowns in EMath, part of the assignment is to make a chart of what the students need to Know, Understand, and Be Able to Do. The Know column is where the information you need to tell students goes – any mathematical concepts or words that students cannot discover themselves. So this column becomes mostly words and phrases that are used to describe the math that the students are doing. Because students can discover how to calculate and count combinations on their own, but they will need to be told that what they are doing is called combinations.
    I find that the outcome breakdowns we do are useful in reminding us as teachers what words are important, and so it is easy to also use that chart to come up with the five most important words that the students need to know. I would probably add them to the board as we learned them, though, because in an inquiry classroom, you don’t necessarily do the teaching and deliverance of information first, you sometimes let students come up with the math before you give it a name.
    It is such a simple thing to take that information that we made for ourselves as a teacher and share it with the class, but it is also important, too, because all subjects have those special terms and definitions that are often only heard in that class. And, as we have talked about in my EMath before, we even use some of the same words differently when we’re not in the subject. Like combinations. Combinations are the  number of arrangements of a group of elements wherein order does not matter. But, in everyday life, we often use the word combination to mean anything from a meal at a restaurant, to a grouping where order does matter, when in math that is actually a permutation.
  • Assessment –  it’s not that you don’t have the skill – it’s that you don’t know how to demonstrate that you have the skill. I really resonate with this point that our guest speaker made. Because I really think that it is something that we need to remember as educators. When we are assessing for an outcome, what is it that we are also assessing? Is everything that we are looking at necessary for the outcome?
    If you are making students to an assignment by writing an essay, but the outcome does not ask for an essay, are you not also expecting students to be proficient in an area that you have not taught them in, and, if you are not an English teacher, that you don’t know if they have been taught in? Math is a subject that is a lot more cut an dry, the outcomes are very specific, and separated nicely to make organization of units easier. But classes like English have outcomes that are more complex, or deal with skills, so the outcomes come up throughout the entirety of the class and can’t only be taught to once. Having more nebulous outcomes means that there is more than one way for a student to represent that outcome, and so I think that it is essential to allow for that adaptation.
    I am a more verbal learner, I need to talk things through, or explain things in words to make my understanding clearer, and so, it was much easier for me to study  for a test or do school work at home, so when we had in class time, I didn’t do much. Because if I was working, I’d be talking and gesturing with reckless abandon. So I think it is important to recognize how your students learn, and foster their unique skills, and so let them show you that they understand in the way that they understand the best. In math, you can write a paragraph to show understanding, you can draw a chart, you can use manipulatives, you can use an algebraic proof. All are mathematically sound, so all should be acceptable as student work.

Assessment in Math/Gathering Evidence

People like to say that math is objective marking, but I think that, if done well, assessment in a math class is not entirely objective. Objectivity implies that there is one answer and one way to get to that answer, but in an inquiry based classroom, you can and should have open ended and open middled questions: questions that have more than one approach or method to coming up with an answer, and, in the case of open ended, have more than one answer. So, when you are assessing students, it is important to remember that they didn’t have to think in only one way, or solve the problem exactly as you envisioned, and that doesn’t mean that they fail.

In Making Classroom Assessment Work, it is mentioned that a teacher should gather evidence on three areas, through collecting products, observation, and conversation. And, once again, in a traditional math class, the only evidence gathered is products, and even then sometimes teachers just expect students to choose to do textbook problems, and give students no feedback on their work before tests. I don’t agree with this model of teaching because it almost completely, if not completely, eliminates the formative assessment in the classroom.

  • Observation – in the reading, it mentions that not having enough observations makes our evaluations for report cards invalid, and I think I agree with this statement. I know, from my own experience as a student, that it is quite easy to pretend you know and understand what you are doing if a teacher never calls you out. A lot of students can coast their way through school without ever being caught if they aren’t being observed by teachers. Getting answers to math questions on tests, going with friends for group work who won’t snitch if you don’t do any work, agreeing to be “the recorder” in labs so you just write what is dictated, but never actually do the lab, there are so many ways to look like you are learning while putting in the least amount of effort. Observation allows you to look at and learn about your learners. See what they do in class, make an account of the work you see them doing, having students participate so you can see what their skills actually are.
  • Conversation – conversation is excellent because it encourages students to take responsibility for their understanding, they have to explain what it is they understand, and why they understand it in a specific way. Conversation is also meta-cognitive: it means that students have to reflect on their thinking. Observation and conversation go hand in hand, I think. Because, as I mentioned before, if a teacher is not aware, it is easy for a student to coast by. But it is also easy for a student to look like they are doing work to the casual observer. Asking questions of students and recording their answers helps you as a teacher see what it is they actually know about what is happening in their group project, it helps you see what they have contributed and where they are involved, and you can see if they are of the same thinking as the majority, or if they have a slightly different opinion, worldview, or learning style.
  • Collecting Products – If you collect student work, you can see what kind of learner they are and what they are and are not understanding. If a student does all questions with the minimal amount of work, and all questions are done the same, that is an indication that a student has simply rote memorized what they are to know. If you give open ended questions, or opinion questions supported by facts as an assignment, you can look at the work that is done and clearly see if students know why the information is important and what they learned, because they have to use  what they learned and make it authentic, not just recite facts and dates. Asking students to give multiple different methods of doing work is also a good way to assess, as the chapter says, because it helps those students who are not strong in writing still show they meet outcomes. Having projects or products with choice means that students can show the information in a variety of ways and show what they know to the best of their ability. You may be surprised with how much a student actually knows if you let them create a visual representation instead of a paper.

Getting Creative With Assessment

It seems that a common, underlying theme I have found in most of my education classes is creativity. It is never really stated – we don’t have an “Intro to Creativity Class” or an assignment requiring us to showcase our creative soul or anything. But I have found that it is essential, if you want to do well as a teacher and as a student learning to be a teacher, to be creative. Forming lessons that encapsulate an outcome or big idea in a way that promotes student understanding, creating math questions that challenge students but also breed inquiry, adding Treaty Education into every subject in a wholesome way that does not damage the integrity of the subject. And creativity, have I ever found that creativity is essential in working with assessment.

There are two types of assessment that I really want to focus on. Particularly because I feel like they are not always done well in classrooms, and I really do think that they are important, because I think that knowing how to guide your teaching is such a simple way to show students that you care about them, know what they are struggling with, what they excel at, and are tailoring your unit and lessons to them and their abilities. The two I want to focus on are  diagnostic assessment and peer/student assessment.

Diagnostic Assessment

In my EMath classes, we have been learning about the Five Practices and how to teach mathematics in a way that promotes student understanding first. Students are encouraged to solve an open-ended, or open-middled questions in any way they see fit. There is not one way to tackle the question and, in some cases, not one way to answer the question. The questions have many access points so most students can even simply get a start on the question. An example of a lesson I have written using the Five Practices can be found on my blog. Anyway, one of the first parts of creating the lesson is anticipation, coming up with multiple methods that could be used by students to tackle the question and what barriers/questions may be encountered when using the method.

Anticipation is always the most difficult part of doing the Five Practices for me, because it’s hard to think in more than one way. But this is where diagnostic assessment really comes into play. Once you know your learners, and you know them well, you will learn what kind of minds they have, how they think and what parts of their math skills are stronger than others. And once you know all that, you can start anticipating with more and more accuracy. And getting to know your learners can be accomplished through diagnostic assessment.

Diagnostic assessment is a way to pre-assess students, show what they know and where their strengths lie. In ECS 410, we can up with a list of many different ways to pre-assess students, and the ones that I was the most intrigued by to try in a math class were the KWL charts, a cardstorm activity, and a modified version of a quiz, or test.

KWL, or Know, Want to Know, and Learned charts are interesting to me for the same reason that the cardstorm activity is. One thing that we seem to let slip when we teach a subject, any subject really, is the understanding part. We often think it’s enough that a student can do well on a test, tell us what 2*2 is, write out the year the war of 1812 took place in, write a poem that includes synesthesia, or draw a hydrogen atom. But the question ends up being did they just rote memorize what they thought would be asked of them, or did they really understand what they were learning? Can they tell me what it means to multiply numbers? Can they tell me why poets use synesthesia in poems? Can they tell me why the hydrogen atom is drawn as it is? And that is where I really find an activity such as the chart or the cardstorm are useful.

They make students put into words, or descriptions, what the math really is and what it means to them. It shows their thinking of a certain concept. When you do KWL chart, it shows what the students want to learn, so it gives you a place to start in your teaching. It gives you what interests students have in that particular concept.

When you do a cardstorm, you allow students to group together all of their words, symbols, pictures, and phrases and give each grouping a title. Having students explain their thinking in the groupings as well as which sections are their favourites and least favourites help you as a teacher to see which areas of a concept are their interests, or what they understand, as well as which areas they may be struggling or disinterested in.

Both activities are also useful in that if a student cannot articulate or explain any pieces of the concept that delve into the meaning of the subject, then they do know have that understanding, and must then be taught it.

The first two really give a clear picture of students’ interests, disinterests and understandings, but the quizzes are where student thinking is apparent.

Using a quiz with multiple open ended questions that all relate back to the core concept being taught are really what I think tests are for. Tests shouldn’t necessarily be marked – that way a student is not afraid to write whatever they are thinking or however they are solving a question, and they are also not afraid of getting the answer wrong. The quiz is also useful to the teacher, because it shows them they ways in which students instinctually answer a question. Adaptations should be made for students if they need it, because it will help accurately show exactly how that student learns. I, for example, would have much preferred to be able to talk during tests. It didn’t need to be to someone, I just need to voice my thoughts aloud to hear if what I’m thinking makes sense, and logic out the question. If a student needs that adaptation, it is helpful to know that ahead of time before it becomes a problem later.

 

Student/Peer Assessment

When I was in class, the only time we were given toward student or peer assessment was either when we were self-correcting tests, or when the teacher paired up students who were struggling with those who were more advanced and got them to help struggling students. While I do think that both are useful methods of student/peer assessment, the way in which we did them didn’t do much help. The marking was done with the teacher giving us detailed instruction on how to mark the tests and there wasn’t really any room for students to use that assessment to better themselves, we had already done the test, and so we were simply evaluating our mistakes, with no chance for improvement. The second was done with the teacher literally outlining that the “smart kids” would be helping the “not-so-smart kids”. Which is a horrible thing to say, because I don’t necessarily believe that a student can just be labelled, or written off, before you learn exactly why it is they are struggling.

In Making Classroom Assessment Work, there is a section on self-assessment that demonstrates why exactly it works using a line with loops in it. It shows that, when a teacher assesses regularly, there are many loops. But, if a student and their peers also assess the work of a student, the number of loops can double or triple. And while a teacher can only assess once in a period of time, the teacher can have students self and peer assess before they hand in assignments to be assessed by the teacher in order to have the students get two more chances to make sure that the work is meeting all of the expectations of the assignment. And what is also noted is that the students and the teacher came up with the expectations together.

I think that giving students the chance to do that last chance assessment is really useful, because there are a lot of little mistakes that we cannot see ourselves in our work that a fresh pair of eyes could easily identify. Maybe we copied a question down wrong, maybe we forgot that our teacher prefers we don’t use contractions in formal writing. But also, before we give it to that peer to look for those mistakes, we ourselves also get a chance to make sure that we are comfortable with having others assess it. Sometimes, having that pressure of immediacy, of having the assessment be directly after we hand it to the peer will be just the incentive needed to look over that paper, that assignment, that picture we drew one more time to make sure we are proud of it, or accept that it is our work.

I know that when I do work, I often feel so burned out by just finishing it, that I can’t imagine reading it all as well. And, like most, procrastination is my friend that tells me I can just put an assignment off until the last possible moment, and it’ll be all fine. Giving students that time to look it over, to have it emphasized to them that they should look specifically at how their work matches up with the rubric before passing it to a peer to do the same gives them that time, that opportunity to do the work they didn’t find time for at home.

The final point I want to address about self-assessment is the metacognitive part of self-assessment. Self-assessment makes students think about their thinking. In the text, it mentions that students who have no extra support in the classroom may really benefit from using metacognition, because it helps them to reflecting on how they learn, which they can then articulate to the teacher, so that the teacher can teach them better.

As I mentioned before with the Five Practices, knowing the way your students think is extremely useful in the classroom. And getting students to help you identify what type of learner they are, and how they go about solving problems can help a teacher help their students all that much more. Like with the loops, a teacher can only get so much done in the time they have, so having students do some of the work themselves can save a lot of time, and also be beneficial to the students.

The biggest thing I would have students do to self-assess in math would be to have them outline why they answered questions the way in which they did, or why they decided to use that particular approach. Like I mentioned, I think it is essential to have students understand what it is they are learning, as well as why they are learning it, and as the target in the assessment text shows, when students monitor themselves, know the language of assessment, and are invested in learning, they can be lead to understanding all that much more. Having students articulate why they multiplied two numbers together shows that they understand what it is that multiplication does to numbers and how it is necessary in a question. On the flipside, it may also show them that it doesn’t make any logical sense for them to have added two numbers, and so, they need to look at how they solved a problem again to maybe edit it.

 

The importance of assessment is shown in the growth that students can have the opportunity to make when the direction of the learning is geared toward their previous understanding, and also in the way that students get a chance to think about and understand their thinking and the thinking of their peers. If students are involved in their assessment, they are involved in their learning, and it makes the lesson we agonize over stick, and it makes the learning feel important and involved to the student, so that they have responsibility and autonomy over some of their learning process. So, how will I involve all of this assessment in my classroom? Well, to tell you the truth, I have many ideas, like some of the ones I outlined above, but I am still growing, and still learning. So I will just have to learn more, get creative with I learn, and change my math classroom, or any classroom I have into one that has more than just tests and quizzes.

Opening Night

Opening night – makes me think of performing, actually. I have been acting for a long time, and every time I hear the term, it fills me with nerves and an abundance of butterflies. Opening nights always make me nervous, for plays as well as for classes.

When I don’t quite know what to expect, I am worried that I won’t be pleased with what I learn and so far, that has not been the case with ECS 410. Assessment is something that I put a huge amount of focus on in my teaching philosophy because I don’t believe in traditional tests. A class focused on assessment will be an excellent way for me to begin to develop a repertoire, a more fleshed-out list of ways to assess my students that don’t require on the spot, be all end all assessing that really seems to test your ability to work well under pressure and pander to your teacher more than it assesses your abilities. So I am really looking forward to having the chance to dig deep because, as we talked about in class, it seems like with math (my major) there seem to be less ways to accurately assess students, so I’m going to have to get creative with it.

The last thing I want to really touch on is the time that we spent in class going over our experiences with assessment, positive and negative. I think it is really important for us to note, as future teachers, that a lot of our experiences as students shouldn’t be forgotten or ignored. Those moments where we felt a teacher was being unfair, or failing us on a lesson because we couldn’t physically get a copy of the book we needed to do the assignment, or made us feel worthless, stupid should be remembered. We should always be understanding with assessment. Make sure students are extremely clear on what is expected of them, and be open to making changes and adaptations if the need arises. Because planning our lessons does not stop when we get in to the classroom, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as Of Mice and Men taught me. Our plan won’t work 100% of the time, so don’t treat it like it’s law, don’t treat your original plans for assessment like they are law, bring students in, ask them for their input on how they should be graded, let them be autonomous in their assessment.