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Jenna D’Souza

EDUC 2000

Nov 7/14

Exploring Assessment: Writing Component
Hypothesis #1: Is each stage (of assessment) necessary, or can we as teachers skip a
stage if the student shows enough proof of learning in the diagnostic/formative stage?
Each stage represents a shift of learning; diagnostic is the earliest stage, where we
assess if any pre-learning has occurred, in order to inform the following stage. The
formative stage is where we have already evaluated what isn't known, and therefore teach
it in order to assess as learning; if we teach a concept, it must be assessed in order to
reinforce the learning. Lastly, we collect all diagnostic and formative information and
continue to push the student towards learning by giving a summative assignment/test.
This work will reflect all the work completed for the course, and demands a deeper
analysis in order to make sure the student understands the material. In order to achieve
diagnostic results, we need to develop learning goals; the results will shape what the class
will need to learn by the end of the course. To create formative and summative results,
success criteria become vital; to know how to create exemplary work, it needs to be
modeled. My hypothesis poses the question of whether all stages are necessary. In a
situation where the student requires it, I believe it is absolutely necessary for all stages to
be present. In a situation where the student performs exceedingly well throughout the
year on all formative assignments, I do believe that hard work and proof of good learning
skills results in an exemption from a summative unit test. A student's capabilities may not
be illustrated well during the pressure of examination, resulting in a lower mark because
of identical testing for very different students. The motivation is there for students to do
well during the year, as it means they are exempt from the test; this can create more
engaging classes and result in more assignments turned in.

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Jenna D’Souza

EDUC 2000

Nov 7/14

Hypothesis #2: How can we ensure that we mark each student fairly? Assigning a student
a grade (especially a low one) or giving bad feedback can deter learning. How can we
prevent dejection in our learners?
Giving assessment and feedback, especially on an assignment that was not up to
success criteria standards, can be quite difficult. From practicum experience, I was able to
experience first-hand a student who had failed a test, no feedback was given (it was an
ESL class), and she had completely shut down. It took a significant part of class time to
talk her out of her sadness, and to convince her not to worry. She was disinterested for the
rest of the class; but who could blame her? As a student, I can completely identify with
this feeling. Getting a bad mark with lots of feedback was a terrible blow, especially
when I felt I put in effort, but getting a bad mark with no feedback was worse. My first
part of the hypothesis asks if we are able to ensure marking students is a fair process; this
is such a huge part of assessment, and after currently learning that the lowest we can give
a student is 25% for an incomplete assignment, I feel completely unsure of how the
marking process is fair. First, we use it to identify a student; second, how is 25% for no
work done fair? It's a difficult idea to grasp in my mind. The second part of my
hypothesis asks how we can prevent dejection in our learners. I think it is important to
stay completely positive, as much as possible, in terms of our written feedback. Many
times, it is negatively written and thus makes the learner feel negative about their
capabilities. I also think we need to move beyond suggestions; we need to offer afterschool help, anything that shows the student that we do not only give critical feedback,
but we want to help you get to that better level of writing. I'm not here just to write
comments on paper, but to help you write at a better grade.

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Jenna D’Souza

EDUC 2000

Nov 7/14

Hypothesis #3: How can we avoid letting our students willfully slip through the cracks, when we
enforce standardized testing? What does our educational system represent when we judge all
students with the same method of testing? Are we removing their individuality?

Standardized testing has existed through my entire elementary school, high
school, and university career. While I've learned how to be good at tests, I don't find my
capabilities were properly assessed. I panic, I get nervous, and then my mind goes blank;
whereas, I've probably proved my ability to apply and understand the knowledge I've
learned in my formative assignments. My issue with tests is that it does not compliment
every learner. Tests are my worst weakness; it is not something I can confidently
accomplish. If I feel this way after 19 years of being in school, imagine how the students
of today feel. It is so difficult to appreciate what you're learning when you're constantly
scrambling to take notes and make sure you're prepared for the test. We are teaching
students how to be information-hungry, but not in a good way. Yes, we want them to want
to learn, but no, I don't want them to learn by asking me what they need to know for the
test. Why can't we ask to learn what they need to know for life? My MT put it very
interestingly when she said, "I don't care if you do well on your assignments and exams
or not. My job is to make you a well-rounded person, someone who can hold a
conversation about the different types of religions without looking lost." To me, she
embodies the idea that marks aren't everything; they are a part of it, but being able to
converse and understand several different concepts are much more important. However, I
still grapple with the idea of grades not being the only thing; I'm simply a product of my
institution. By testing students all the same way, and identifying them all as a letter or a
number grade, we remove their individuality as a learner, and make them fit into a bell
curve / assessment model. We don't test them by their learning types, but force all
learning types to conform to one type.
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