“… we can tell a little more of the truth. In doing so, it turns out that we can avoid pretending that a student’s whole performance or intelligence can be summed up in one number.” -Peter Elbow
As Davies describes throughout chapters nine and ten of Making Classroom Assessment Work, there are various ways we can assess and communicate a students whole performance/intelligence that are more reliable than a single mark or number on a report card. I can appreciate and see the importance of encouraging consistent communication, throughout the learning period, between student and teacher as well as parent and teacher.
As an elementary and secondary student, I always discussed my schooling with my parents, but I know that not all students do the same. In fact, some students actively avoid doing so. However, as Davies emphasizes, communication is a key part in the learning process. I really like the approaches Davies provides to help improve communication between parents and teachers. I like the idea of an open house where students lead the demonstration of their learning. I also like the idea of a class web page with examples and evidence of student learning. Students could be involved in creating these kinds of communication tools, which would support learning through reflection and support computer use in the classroom (what I view as building valuable and real-world relevant skills).
I also, prefer student-led conferences to teacher-led. This belief is supported by the idea that getting students involved helps their learning, but also in personal experiences. In one of my elementary school conferences, I had a teacher ask why we came, because there was little to say (meaning: I didn’t have any problems in school). This didn’t give me a voice to discuss my learning or ideas of areas I could improve in. While in high school, I lead a conference and was able to take responsibility of my learning and express my thoughts on how I can improve. I feel the latter was more beneficial.
When it comes to reporting student achievement, I think the communication piece is still vary important. Because it is a subjective process, it can be very challenging. However, when we consider all of the procedures completed throughout the process, it is easier to reflect and be confident in our professional judgement. That being said, I really like the idea of involving students in this process as well. Davies says to consider asking students if the report makes sense to them, if they feel it reflects what they learned, if it’s fair, and if we missed anything (99). I think this could be a really constructive method. I think, because our goal is to consistently involve students and have them reflect on their learning, asking them such questions would further support this goal.
Elbow, P. 1986. Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching. New York: Oxford University Press.
Davies, Anne. Making Classroom Assessment Work. 3rd ed. Courtenay, B.C.: Connections Pub., 2011. Print.