Monday, November 1, 2010

Can We Run Away From Assessment?

Reflection 7
26th October 2010

We started the lesson by brainstorming on ideas related to assessment and Dr Yeap skilfully mapped them out into a concept map to represent the big picture. This led to framing the definition of assessment as an on-going process of gathering, analysing and reflecting on data collected to make informed and consistent judgement to improve student learning. To put this in perspective, we need to understand the rationale for assessment. Is it for formative evaluation, authentic evaluation or summative evaluation. And based on these purposes, different testing instruments are used to validate the data so that a certain degree of reliability is achieved. Hence, assessment is a critical stage in the continuum of teaching and learning as we have to analyse the performance of the students, the validity of the test questions, identify the misconceptions
students surfaced in the test, see if it is aligned to learning outcomes and reflect on our teaching practice.

Assessment itself can be categorised as assessment for learning, assessment of learning and assessment as learning. Asessment as learning is very important as we want to encourage our pupils to become self-directed learners. Students are required to reflect on and monitor their own progress to develop and sharpen their intellectual competencies.

To give us a better understanding of how assessment can be crafted into an activity, Dr Yeap made us form quadrilaterals of 5 sq units on the geoboard. From this activity, we discovered certain things about the way we processed information. Certain strategies came naturally like combining triangles to form squares and decomposition while other strategies surfaced with a bit of scaffolding. Effective questioning techniques can also be used as a tool to assess students’ learning. This is an effective way to gauge what kind of direct teaching is required to bring the students to a higher level of learning. Creativity is also encouraged and a culture of success should be promoted so that all pupils can achieve based by building on their previous learning. To reiterate his points, Dr Yeap highlighted an exercise on subtraction from My Pals Are Here Workbook. I shared this with my colleague who is teaching a high ability class and she was amazed. It is important that as teachers we recognise the need to help children see beyond the obvious.

The most essential take away of the lesson is providing feedback to pupils and parents with regards to problem-solving. Newman’s six step strategy is very helpful in error analysis.
1. Pupils cannot read
2. Pupils cannot comprehend
3. Pupils lack knowledge of heuristics
4. Pupils unable to transform the story into a mathematical strategy
5. Pupils encounter error in computation
6. Pupils do not fit the computation into the solution

Wow! Truly another power-packed tutorial. This is only part 1 of Assessment. We’ll unravel more theories and concepts in a fortnight’s time.

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