Based on this weeks two readings and my own experience I have formed an understanding of assessment in the classroom.
I believe that assessment should take multiple forms, because I believe that every learner is unique and both learns and communicates most effectively in different ways. I also believe that grades should not be the focus and that feedback about what the student has succeeded at and what they need to work on is a better way to practice on going assessment. I would agree that pre-assessment is valuable to help get an idea of where the class is and then work out lessons that take pre-assessment into consideration. I liked the idea of brain-based assessment presented in the first reading, such that there ought to be comfort provided, meaningful content, choice in way of showing knowledge of subject matter and adequate time to display knowledge. I believe that assessment should be all of these things and I hope to add to my understanding of assessment as I gain experience.
I feel as though assessment is made into a scary, nerve-wracking thing and that huge high-stakes finals take away from the learning experience that has and could be enriched with better ways of assessing student knowledge/understanding continuously throughout the year. I worry that end-result assessment promote the idea that school is all about grades and once you have crammed and written your final exam the knowledge can be lost to you without much worry. I worry that students become complacent when they receive high marks and discouraged when they receive low marks. I worry that grade-based assessment is equated to self-worth and I believe that this kind of bad stress makes learning un-enjoyable and difficult. I worry that with traditional assessment practices select types of students are privileged and all others are made to feel that they have to become a different learner to be “good” or otherwise believe that they are “stupid” or incapable of learning.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers to my worries. I can see how accommodating and continuous ways of assessment serve to better the learning experience, but I think I have a lot more to learn so that I can put positive ways of assessment into my classroom environment. I think many of the cultural ideas about assessment for first nations students could be applied to the idea of diversity among all learners and the creation of an inclusive classroom.
Reading #1 here: http://education.alberta.ca/media/307199/words.pdf