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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

Philosophy of Assessment

Assignment 6

Sam Costello

North Carolina State University

Author’s Note

This paper was prepared for Classroom Assessment Principles and Practices ED 312,

Section 003 taught by Instructor Mrs. Feldman


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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

Introduction

My assessment philosophy has changed since being exposed to ED 311 and ED 312 classes

that pertained to Classroom Assessment Principles and Practices. ED 311 class was a more

hands-on creating a summative assessment in the “backwards design” to focus the unit

plan around the summative assessment for a heterogeneous mixture of social studies

students, and ED 312 was actually seeing real classroom documents that allowed us to

unpack formative assessments to the needs of students. I actually thought teachers taught

the material then made the test in accordance to what was taught. This can be a daunting

task and biased approach because has all the material been taught and understood by the

students before I give a test? With focusing my energies on the material needed to explain

the questions developed first that students will see on the test is a more intuitive approach,

and interpreting if students understand and comprehend the material is through formative

assessments. I believe that formative assessments are vital for gauging learning in students

that we as educators should striving for, as we cultivate and stimulate the cognitive growth

process in our students before the summative assessment is given. Formative assessments

come in a plethora of disguises, which creates schemas or elaborative understanding and

meaning into material that is easier to absorb, easier to engage in, and easier to have fun

while learning.
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

5 Belief Statements About Assessments

I believe that the cycle of assessment is a very important aspect to teaching

effectively to students. Assessments are gauges or litmus test to see if the students have

understood or comprehended the material. Assessments provide useful feedback from

students to educators to see how students are learning the material, and it allows

educators to adjust teaching and delivery of that material if needed. Formative assessments

are vital to help in a heterogeneous or homogeneous classroom differentiate students who

may need extra assistance or scaffolding to reach the same outcome as other students.

Formative assessments can help students with mastery of the content. Formative

assessments are more important by helping to eliminate biases in the classroom because

“our students come to us ‘biased’ on how [they] see the world,” (Wormeli, 2006, p.20) and

it is our job to break down those barriers. However, the cycle of assessment or the use of

different styles of assessing has to be changed up to not use the same assessments as to

create boredom and disengagement from students. There are a plethora of formative

assessments for educators to use to keep students engaged in learning. Unfortunately, I did

not see this in my recent classroom observations as the seventh grade social studies

classroom always had the same “exit ticket” to gauge comprehension of the material. I

watched students just push or plow through this monotonous assessment and write down

nonsense, but I also read some that had profound analysis of the topic. I believe we as
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

educators need to constantly reflect on the validity of our forms of assessment to make

sure they create a positive and engaging classroom.

I believe assessing learning before, during, and after instructional time is an

important factor to gauge learning understanding and comprehension. We all learn at

different levels and something students need extra scaffolding to help push that student

into the “zone of proximal development” that helps create elaborative understanding and

cognitive growth. Disequilibrium can scare us all into an unpleasant state and create

anxiety in learning, but it can also be “a way to compel students to push themselves ... some

students need the occasional extra opportunity” (Wormeli, 2006, p. 126) to achieve the

same output level as others, and this is were equity comes into sharp focus. The output is a

new equilibrium that creates cognitive growth and further engagement. For formative

assessments to be effective the learning cycle, we as educators have to ask those questions

to see what background knowledge our students may have of a particular subject, we have

to ask questions of verification or spot check students working to see if connections are

being made, and we have to ask those exit questions for mastery. Another way to assess is

for students to critique the material if it was engaging and fun – this can be a hard one for

educators to release to students, but I believe vital to make the lesson material engaging

and offer some student autonomy…a buy-in factor to their education.

I believe creating valid assessments are as vital and important as giving

assessments. Creating the summative assessment through the “backwards design” is a

challenging process to unpack those essential standards, and is essential. The summative

assessment should be designed “first, and make sure everything in the unit’s objectives or
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

understandings are accounted for … and doesn’t assess anything beyond the unit’s goal”

(Wormeli, 2006, p. 27). This statement by Wormeli is so true as we can possible relate to

taking a test and seeing information on that did not relate to what was taught. This can

create anxiety and “inconsistency with punishable ... letter grades” (Wormeli, 2006, p.

114-115). This is not fair and should not be practiced by the educator…only test what is

being taught should be the mantra of education. Formative assessments are the litmus

paper to gauge if our teaching is effective and stimulating.

I believe that the most challenging aspect of creating a summative assessment deals

with bias in assessing students. Students come from different walks of life that have

different traditions that can be diverse from our own ideologies. Making a summative

assessment and administering it as a test run to colleagues could help with uncovering bias,

as I discovered in my ED 311 class with making and administer a summative project. I

found after five tests that my terminology was not at the same level as my students.

Hopefully, I will be able to combat this with formative assessments to weed-out my

ineffective delivery, or just the need to ask if anyone knows what this means could be very

helpful. Sometimes even Pedagogy Content Knowledge will be as effective in putting the

terminology in the student vernacular, or context to their thinking (i.e. relating to students

how malaria has no cure once contracted, like zombies have no cure once the disease is

contracted). Formative assessments should be used to find if there is bias and overcome

those barriers by explaining the context you are trying to deliver.

Finally, I believe assessing diverse needs and diverse learners is very important, but

will possibly be the hardest of them all, as to find ways to reach all students’ needs. This
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

maybe apparent with IEPs and our deliver of instructions are already mapped out for us,

but what if we have a struggling student(s)? Good formative assessments can help guide

the educator into what is appropriate and engaging for all students. Formative assessments

are the key to developing harmony in a classroom that creates a positive environment and

helps all children to perform at their level and above. Formative assessments can help us

find that happy medium to excite all students into learning and make classrooms fun and

engaging environments.

Course Syllabus

Grading Policy:

➢ Major assignments will receive a letter grade of an A-F for the work turned in. End

of unit test will receive a letter grade also to provide a standard for mastery of the

material. Grades are not final due to some circumstances that may require

adjustments, but that is case-by-case basis. The teacher has the final say on grades

administered in the grade book, but ​all​ side will be looked at to determine if there is

a need to make needed adjustments for the benefit of the student due to unforeseen

circumstances.

➢ Late assignment​ will be subject to a 5% reduction in letter grade per day the

assignment is late unless a voucher is used, or teacher is informed of situation

causing unforeseen circumstances that have come about.

Missed Assignments:

➢ Missed or late assignments (including homework) are unacceptable, and should be

turned in on time when the teacher sets the due date(s). If for some reason a
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

situation comes about that conflict with the due date, students can use a voucher. If

vouchers are used up, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the teacher, so

an alternate date can be considered. A student needs to inform the teacher 2 days in

advance of conflict. The teacher has the final say in matters of missed assignments.

➢ Issues with next day homework can be accompanied by note from parents

describing situation to validate a late turn in, and teacher and student can arrange

an alternate day.

Participation and Homework:

➢ These 2 standards are import not to just make busy work for students, but to help

them understand and comprehend information. It also helps the teacher to see

issues in learning that may need additional attention or adjustment in the lesson(s).

Participation helps to reveal the need to go over material again as students may

need extra help to understand the material or concept. Homework is needed at

times to strengthen the student’s practical application in providing background

knowledge or further helping them master the material. Grades for both will

comprise 10% of the final letter grade.

Voucher System

➢ Each student will be given 4 vouchers (one per semester) that can be used for any

late turn in assignment, no questions asked, and the letter grade will not be lowered.

Once these vouchers are gone, then the student is subject to ​Late Assignment Policy.
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

Grading Scale:

Letter Grade Numerical Value Grade Point

A+ 98-100 4.33

A 90-97 4.00

B+ 88-89 3.33

B 80-87 3.00

C+ 78-79 2.33

C 70-77 2.00

D+ 68-69 1.33

D 60-67 1.00

F 59 0.00

​*Grading scale adapted from NC State University Undergraduate Catalog

Conclusion

My overarching philosophy is to teach my students about social studies and make

the content engaging, relevant, and meaningful to their lives. I will use formative

assessments as tools to help my students to be successful and zero in on issues that may

need addressing before an end of unit test is given. I will be reflective about my practice

and include summative assessments that are authentic and structured that demonstrates

student understanding and comprehension of lesson material. Most of all, I want my

students to have fun learning about social studies and always add to the conversation

because their opinions are as important as mine. This style of mutual respect and my
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

understanding of the benefits of assessments will benefit me as an emerging professional in

the education field of middle grades education and 21​st​ Century Education practices.
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Assignment 6: Philosophy of Assessment

References

North Carolina State University. (n.d.). Undergraduate Catalog. ​2017-2018 Grading Scale and

Grading Points​. Retrieved from

http://catalog.ncsu.edu/undergraduate/academicpoliciesandprocedures/courses/grading/

Wormeli, R. (2006). ​Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing & Grading in the Differentiated

Classroom. ​Portland, ME: Stenhouse.