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Module 1 – Extension Activity

Read about Mr. Knott’s first exam experience and identify some areas for improvement
for him this year. What advice would you give him to improve his overall assessment
experience?
Then read the comments and suggestions offered by Mr Sanchez on the next page.
Mr. Knott’s first exam experience
Mr. Knott, now in his second year of teaching, found his first year quite challenging.
Last year, he taught in a different school where assessment did not receive much
attention. In college, Mr. Knott took a testing course, but he still felt out of his depth
with assessment. He worried that if he admitted that he didn’t understand things like
specifications, he would get a poor evaluation. He avoided assigning portfolios and
projects since he didn’t see the point of multiple measures assessment. He based
students’ grades solely on the midterm and final exams.
As the date of the midterm exam approached, Mr. Knott still hadn’t checked where he
should be in the syllabus because he advocated a “just-in-time approach”. He wanted to
see what he actually had covered by the midterm exam date. A few days before the test
date, Mr. Knott put together a midterm exam consisting of a reading from a well-known
TOEFL® practice book, a written expression section from a grammar book that he used
in college, and a listening from a recent unit in the students’ textbook. He left out writing
because he thought that the written expression section would suffice.. He didn’t want to
leak details of the test, so he didn’t supply students with information about the exam.
Students were surprised by several new formats they had never encountered before.
Mr. Knott made all formats objective to make grading easier. He had students swap
papers in classes to grade some sections, and his wife helped him grade the rest. He did
not use an answer key. Instead, when many students had difficulty with an item, he gave
everyone full credit.
The scores were high, so Mr. Knott concluded that the test was good. He didn’t do any
analysis or reflect on how the test could give him feedback on his teaching. He was too
busy to give students feedback or make notes about the exam. Besides, why would he
want to change something that worked so well?

the development of writing skills is very important. transparency is very students who were subsequently surprised important. so I hope these suggestions are helpful to him: Comments He didn’t understand specifications Suggestions Specifications are really important in our assessment program. what to expect. so attend a workshop and get some experience using them. we assess it in many ways. not just tests and quizzes. He left out assessment of writing. on 2 exams. He didn’t plan ahead or keep up with the This is a disservice to students because syllabus. Sanchez’s comments and suggestions I was a new teacher not so long ago and I remember being overwhelmed by all the things I was supposed to know about but really didn’t. Knott’s new colleagues had these comments and suggestions: Mr. He didn’t prepare an answer key in No wonder some items didn’t work! advance. We schedule a whole range of regular assessments so our students get regular formative feedback. mapping the actual course material.One of Mr. some will miss out on important material. We always introduce new formats in a teaching context before using them in exams. In our lesson plans we have to show that we’re on target. Students and his wife graded the exam. There are some real security and reliability . already heard and processed. However. so he needs to consult the writing specifications for details. He used material intended for different Without following specifications or purposes and different course outcomes. in our program we use many types measures assessment and based grades only of assessment. He failed to provide information to In our department. Knott is a talented teacher and open to constructive feedback. Instead he tested students’ memories. it is unlikely that these materials were relevant. Mr. so we inform students about by a new format. In our program. Feel free to ask your colleagues to show you examples of alternative assessment that work for them. He didn’t see the point of multiple Again. He used a listening that students had He didn’t really test listening as a skill.

Assessment is part of the teaching/learning cycle and students should learn from each assessment experience. . nor did he make any notes about the experience. In our department. The scores were inflated because of grading procedures. issues here. Knott seems to realize that this was not the way assessment should be developed. we set a time to talk about what we’ve learned from major assessments. He didn’t give students feedback. He didn’t have time for reflection.He didn’t conduct analysis because of high scores. Mr. Fortunately. I hope Mr. The students’ difficulty with certain items indicated a real need for analysis. made worse by the absence of an answer key. Knott will attend. They need feedback presented to them in a useable form.