Friday, November 19, 2010

Authentic Performance Task

9th November 2010
Reflection 8

Initiatives in Assessment

In view of the changes recommended in the PERI Report, it is important to provide a foundation upon which pupils can build future knowledge and skills. For this to materialise, we have to consider the holistic assessment of the child and provide support in keys areas of his learning. Unlike formal assessments which can be intimidating to our young learners, performance assessments could be introduced to our pupils to build their confidence and shape their attitude towards learning.
So WHAT IS Performance assessment? Performance assessment or authentic assessment, is a form of testing that requires students to perform a task rather than select an answer from a ready-made list. Through the task, we can systematically document what the children know and can do based on the activities they engage in. through the use of rubrics. This is very useful as it provides feedback for the teacher in terms of improving instruction, and allows the teacher to plan a comprehensive, and developmentally oriented curriculum based on their knowledge of each child.
Performance assessment can take the form of developmental checklists, portfolios, and summary reports. Ongoing checklists allow the teachers to keep track of children's progress towards widely accepted curriculum goals. The use of portfolios enable us to see the differences in the quality of one child's work over time which might be hidden, and children's ability to take an active role in evaluating their own work ignored. And a summary report is a comprehensive report that provides a holistic report of the child’s capability. With this teachers would be in a better position to provide valuable, and in-depth information to parents, both in terms of quantitative and qualitative feedback.
Having established the context for the tutorial, we were given an authentic task. We were provided with some resources and asked to measure the height of a column on level 1. ( a very tall column! )
Some of the methods employed were:
1) Using direct measurement
2) Multiplying the height of I step by the number of steps
3) Estimating the height using one tile as a base
4) Using the trundle scale to measure the length of the shadow
5) Using the concept of ratio

We discussed the various strategies taken and examined the reliability and accuracy of the data collected. Throughout the session, we were constantly reflecting on our metacognitive process.

This is a good example to show how a teacher can assess the pupils’ understanding of concepts through observation, and allowing the pupils to articulate their strategies and documenting it in the form of rubrics or checklists. We watched a video of a Maths lesson conducted in Thailand. The pupils were asked to show the concept of addition ( 5 + 6 ) provided in a story context. The pupils showed various ways as to how it can be done. The teacher can then assess the pupils level of understanding based on the presentation of their answers.

Where international assessment such as TIMMS and PISA are concerned, the emphasis of assessment is on mathematical literacy. Questions are modelled after real authentic situations and pupils are tested on the reasoning ability. Hence it is pertinent to provide our pupils with various opportunities to experience Maths in the real world.

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