Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:34 PM
The Importance of Everyday Assessments
By J. Myron Atkin and Janet E. Coffey
In this article the authors believe that there are positive results from doing daily classroom assessments, and that science gets overlooked in this subject area. It gets overlooked because of the accountability that educators have to deal with by showing some form of measurement for a grade or for the public.
Everyday assessments do not have to be just in the form of tests or quizzes, but can also be by student conversations, observations, lab investigations, projects, explanations or the questions that the students are asking. Students need to get immediate feedback from the assessments but when we give them a worksheet, it takes time to get that back to them. I feel too often that we are pressured to have a certain amount of grades for each student to show the parents how their children are doing in a subject area. There needs to be more focus on how students are learning and not so much on what is their grade.
After reading all the information on all the different ways we can assess our students, I feel that classrooms would be more inviting if they could investigate, question and participate actively instead of worksheets, therefore, the students would be facilitating their own learning. The most difficult part is to have a philosophy and an understanding with students to know what your expectations are and what their learning goals are.
Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:26 PM
Beyond Paper and Pencil
Paper and Pencil Assessments
By Chris Demers
A committee of three teachers in Concord, NH set out to develop a performance based test that would test students’ science abilities by a meaningful, hands-on approach. The committee had three goals in mind: addressing the state standards, develop a guidepost for elementary teachers in their daily instruction, and to allow students to freely investigate and answer questions based on their own ideas and experiences.
The committee referred to the state science curriculum frameworks as a guide to the task/test questions. Instead of a multiple answer type test they developed open-ended questions and tasks for the students to respond to using their scientific knowledge. The problem with performance based tests it that it is very difficult to standardize them. In order to score the tests, the committee had to come up with detailed rubrics and they can be very subjective. However, having students take a well-designed performance assessment pushes the completeness of the students’ science knowledge above the paper pencil tests because it shows the whole picture.
As it said in the article the students that took the test said that it was fun and that they did not mind the test at all. This would cut down on some of the stress of taking the “normal standardized tests” if the students could actually show what they know by using the hands-on experiment type approach. I feel this would help students who do not memorize the content well or are not good test takers to show what they know by actually doing it.