Selina Zhang - Week 2 Reading Response

As teachers, we use feedback and assessments in the classroom as tools to help both ourselves and our students. When we are able to assess our students on their progress through forms of formative and summative assessments, we can determine how to improve and differentiate our instruction for our students, overcome misconceptions, and evaluate learning outcomes. Through this, we can provide feedback to our students that determine what they need to work on in order to improve. I like the low-stakes of formative assessments and how I can incorporate it into my lessons every day. Sometimes I like to do a quick question and answer with the popsicle stick method so I can randomly assess a few students throughout. Throughout each unit, I administer a quiz to assess any misunderstandings of my students that I have not picked up on. Formative assessments occur in two primary forms: spontaneous and planned. Spontaneous formative assessments are impromptu, such as (a) when a teacher reads misunderstanding in the body language of students during a class session and queries the student about her understanding, (b) when a teacher calls on a student to provide an example of a concept just covered, or (c) when question-and-answer sessions are conducted during a lesson. These activities provide information about student learning in real time. (Dixson, D. D., & Worrell, F.C., 2016). As a first-year teacher, when lesson planning, I try to predict and expect specific/common misunderstandings that students will face a certain concept/topic. While planning for misunderstandings, I incorporate and plan activities where students will either engage in discovery with their peers, question and answers, and quizzes to assess progress and improve student learning. However, we cannot plan for everything nor can we foresee all misconceptions our students may have. It is common for me, especially when introducing new units of study, to pick up on the body language of my students. Their body language will tell me if they are engaged and understanding the topic or closed off and unwilling to ask for assistance. I learned through their body language that my students prefer hands-on activities at the start of a new unit. It keeps it low-stakes and allows all my students (high, medium and low-level students) to participate in an inquiry activity without feeling like they do not have the prerequisite knowledge to understand what is going on. They are all able to observe and conduct the same experiments and given a different outlet to communicate their understanding of the material/concepts being demonstrated in the activity. I also engage my students in a lot of turn-and-talk activities as they are first asked to answer a probing question independently and then able to share it with peers on a smaller scale rather than in front of the whole class. This takes off some of the pressure, allowing them to share their thoughts while perhaps hearing a different perspective from their fellow classmates.

 

Feedback is seen as a primary component in formative assessment and one of the factors that have the strongest influence on learning (Havnes 2007). The unit quizzes I give are to assess student progress and I do allow students to do test corrections on the questions they got incorrect. This allows students to conduct a self-evaluation of what they have learned and what topics they need reinforcement on. It also guides them into reflecting on their study habits, find the correct answer and provide the correct explanation for the new answer. By completing test corrections, my students are able to guide and take charge of their own “re-learning” of topics. I find this method more impactful than giving students an answer key as they tend to use answers keys as a form of memorization, not impactful and active learning. Without the use of formative assessments through the day’s lesson or throughout the unit, I would not be able to gather the data I need to improve my teaching for my students. Formative assessment is essential when it comes to differentiating my instruction as well as gauging the effectiveness of my lessons day by day.

 

We like to tell our students that “6th-grade transcripts go nowhere, but 6th-grade habits last forever”. Often students like to obsess over the numerical grade they have gotten for a class without thinking about the reason behind it. As teachers, we assess how well our students meet standards or develop certain skills. Through test corrections/the self-evaluations my students conduct, they can be a part of that conversation in determining if they have mastered a skill or not. This method helps my students not only see where they need to improve but also keep them more accountable for their learning. Giving students a sense of control over their own learning can keep them more motivated to be successful. Test corrections are available for any student who did not score full marks on an assessment. This gives all students the idea that everyone can benefit from feedback and self-evaluation. For the students who have received full marks on an assessment, they are also asked to provide their own feedback on the unit of study, things that they would do differently if learning the content over again and any lingering questions they might have. By having all students assess their learning, it helps create a more positive classroom culture around feedback and assessments. It shows that everyone has room for growth. Feedback is written directly on their assessments and I leave a note in our grading system when students have submitted their test corrections/self-evaluations. Students have to provide their new (and correct) answer with scientific reasoning backing up their answer. Not only would this prove that they have re-teach/re-evaluate their understanding but they can now explain how they understand.

Without the use of formative assessments through the day’s lesson or throughout the unit, I would not be able to gather the data I need to improve my teaching for my students. Formative assessment is essential when it comes to differentiating my instruction as well as gauging the effectiveness of my lessons day by day. I often think that both formative and summative assessments are important factors in determining student understanding but research, as well as efforts in my classroom, has shown that the feedback is essential to improving student learning.

 

 

References:

a. Dixson, D. D., & Worrell, F. C. (2016). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom. Theory into practice, 55(2), 153-159.

b.Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112.

c. Havnes, A., Smith, K., Dysthe, O., & Ludvigsen, K. (2012). Formative assessment and feedback: Making learning visible. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 38(1), 21-27.

 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Selina,

      I very much appreciate your honest and thoughtful responses to this week's readings. I was very interested to learn more about how assessment and feedback work in your classroom.

      This really stuck out for me:

      The unit quizzes I give are to assess student progress and I do allow students to do test corrections on the questions they got incorrect. This allows students to conduct a self-evaluation of what they have learned and what topics they need reinforcement on. It also guides them into reflecting on their study habits, find the correct answer and provide the correct explanation for the new answer. 

      I would love to know more about the specifics of this process. In what way do you teach your students to perform and benefit from this self assessment? How do you track the feedback you give them and what they do with it? What have you done to create a classroom culture around assessment and feedback?

      Please revise your blog post to address this. You can do this by clicking on "Edit" above, making these revisions, then clicking on "Save." Once you do this, email me or message me on Pace Commons to let me know so I can take a look.

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