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Domain:Impactonstudentlearning

Myapproachtoassessingmyimpactonstudentshaschangedagreatdealoverthe
courseofmytimeatHunter.Myideasaboutassessmentarenowmuchbroaderand
wellroundedthantheywereatthebeginningoftheprogram.Ihavedevelopednew
toolstoassessmystudents,and,inturn,gaugemyimpactontheirlearning.

WhenIbegantheprogram,andmyownteaching,Ihadalimitedviewoftestingand
assessmentingeneral.Ibelievedthattraditionalpencilandpapertestswerethebest
waytoassessandthatthesewerethebestwayforteacherstomeasurestudent
achievement.Thisviewshowedmyownbiasandlearningstyle,aspencilandpaper
testswereastrengthforme.Iassumedthatstudentswouldhavelittleknowledgeof
thetopic,wouldproceedthroughasequenceoflessons,studythenewmaterial,and
takeatesttodemonstratetheirmastery.Realitywasmuchmessierandmore
complicated,especiallyattheschoolwhereIwork,whichservesstudentswith
languagebasedlearningdisabilities.Insteadofbeginningeveryunitfresh,Icameto
understandthatteachingrequiresactivatingpriorknowledge.Somestudentshadmore
thanothers,andstudentsproceededthroughthematerialatvastlydifferentpaces.
Further,somestudentswereverysuccessfulontestsandquizzes,whereasothers
struggled,regardlessofhowwelltheyknewthecontent.BeforeteachingIassumedthat
ifstudentsstudied,theycouldbesuccessfulontests.WorkingwithstudentsinSpecial
Education,Icametoseethatthiswasnotalwaystrue.Ihadstudentswhostudiedvery

vigorously,onlytofailthetests.Iwasforcedtoreconsidermyideasaboutstudent
learningandassessmentingeneral.

ThroughtheexperienceaboveandmycoursesatHunter,Ibegantoviewteachingand
assessmentverydifferently.Isawitmoreasanongoingprocessthatiswoveninto
teaching,ratherthanastandaloneactivity.Ilearnedthedistinctionbetweenformative
andsummativeassessmentandcametounderstandtheusefulnessofthedistinction.I
broadenedmyideasaboutwhatassessmentwas,andIbegantouseotherassessment
toolsbesidestraditionaltests.Theseincludedprojects,extendedproblems,interviews,
posters,andgroupwork.Inoneclass,forexample,Ihadstudentscreateavideowhere
theydevelopedaproblemandexplainedhowtosolveitusingthemathematicsthatwe
werestudying.Indoingthis,Ialsosobenefitsinhelpingstudentswithdifferentlearning
stylesbesuccessful.Mystudentswhohadartisticdispositionsfeltthattheirgiftscould
beusedandappreciated.Otherstudentswhohadbeendisengagedcamealivewhen
givenalternativewaystosharetheirknowledgeandexpertise.

Throughmyassessmentclass,IlearnedabouttheideaofDepthofKnowledge.This
wasaprofoundandusefulwayofthinkingforme.IlookedcriticallyatthetasksthatI
wasaskingmystudentstocompleteandsawthatIwasnotalwaysaskingthemtodo
higherorderthinking.Ipresentedthemwithassignmentsthatrequiredmorethinking
andmoreabstractreasoning.Inotherwords,Irequiredthemtoapplythediscreteskills
thatIwasteachingthemtosolvingproblems.Thisshiftwasdifficulttomakeasa

teacher.Itrequiredmorecreativityandmoreplanningonmypart,anditrequiredmore
searchingforcompellingandengagingproblemstopresenttomystudents.WhenIdid
this,Isawbenefitsintermsofstudentexcitementandenthusiasm.

Myfocusonassessmentalsohelpedmeplanmorecompleteandwellsequencedunits.
WhenIemployedbackwardsplanning(aconceptthatIexploredinMethodsI),Iwas
abletodevelopasequenceoflessonsthatflowedmorelogically.Bybroadeningmy
viewofassessments,myunitsbecamemorevariedandallowedmorestudentsto
engageandparticipatepositively.AsIbeganincorporatingmoreformative
assessments,myunitsalsobrokeintoneaterchunks,ratherthanhavingskillsor
conceptsbleedintooneanotherinawaythatreducedthecoherence.

Iamhavingagreaterimpactonstudentsthisyearasaresultofthesechanges,as
evidencedbythefactIhavegivenmorechallengingandrigorousassessments,andthe
studentshaveperformedwellonthesethisyear.