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Sarah Shaw Philosophy of Assessment Statement March 1, 2019

Assessing, evaluating, and reporting on student learning is an essential responsibility in

teaching. We need to know how to best meet our students’ needs in our teaching and this is

where assessment is needed. Evaluation comes next and should be something we don’t do often

but in a meaningful way when we do. We can then use all this information to communicate

achievement to both the student and parents, giving them a solid understanding of how they are

coming along in their learning and how they can improve. Beyond this, we need to be setting

expectations for learning and working habits. Though these are not reported the same as

outcomes, they are important to consider as they are essential to life after high school.

We must collect evidence of learning throughout the school year in many respects and

this constant assessment can be used to inform our own instruction and meet student needs

accordingly. Having open discussions with our students about their learning, observing them in

all aspects of their learning, and allowing them to represent their learning in a variety of ways are

all essential components of this process. We can also instill a sense of ownership in our students

by having them involved in the assessment process and teaching them how to self assess, ask

questions about their learning, and set goals.

There comes a point where teachers must use this evidence of student learning to evaluate

achievement against outcomes and standards. This is where unit tests, larger assignments, formal

essays, and presentations often come into play. These are the things that often cause the most

anxiety in students and so we need to implement them carefully and meaningfully. I think that

this is where we have the power to let students have some say in how they are evaluated.
Furthermore, they should be representative of what was taught yet give students opportunities to

exceed expectations.

Communication between us, our students and their parents should be ongoing. There

should never be a point where the student or parents don’t know what’s going on. We do

however need to make sure that we have a reliable, accurate and valid understanding of how

students are doing in their learning before reporting formally. This is where it is very important

that the evaluations we choose and the way we grade are a good representation of student

learning. With this, it is important to understand that grades should not be used as punishment

and should never reflect a behavior issue.

To expand on the topic of not using grades as punishment or letting them reflect matters

of behavior, I think that a no-zero policy is crucial. To give a zero is to say that the student

learned nothing, and this should never be the case. Not handing work in or handing work in late

are behavioral issues. Douglas Reeves explains how it is common belief that punishment through

grades will motivate students to no longer exhibit these behaviors but highlights the fact that

some educators experimenting with the notion believe that the appropriate consequence for

failing to complete an assignment is to require the student to complete the assignment. The latter

is something I can completely agree with and will implement in my classroom.

Throughout all of this, it is important to make students aware that mistakes are essential

to learning and that is where feedback can come in handy. Providing students with frequent

feedback is essential and should be aimed at motivating the student through constructive

comments rather than criticism– let’s call it feedforward. Along this note, we need to also boost

their confidence whenever possible and with this comes understanding student circumstances,

giving them second chances, and being open to different representations of learning. “Remember
that all students must have equal opportunities to show proof of learning regardless of how they

learn, how they show their learning, or whether or not they struggle.” (Davies, 2014)

Throughout the assessment, evaluation and reporting process, it is key that we help our

students become well rounded and resilient individuals and this is where learning habits come in.

Learning and working habits such as the ability to stay on task, preparedness and punctuality, the

ability to communicate effectively, and the ability to collaborate with others are some of the soft

skills that are essential to life after high school. These are skills that students should be taking

with them to their future careers and will allow them to strive. Content knowledge is valuable but

the ability to be a productive and responsible member of a learning or working community is

also important. Therefore, I feel it is very important to help students build these soft skills and

give them frequent constructive feedback on how they are developing. Though learning and

working habits should not be reflected as a letter grade, I think they should be considered and

communicated to both the student and parent.

At the end of the day, assessment is a crucial component of the teaching profession and

not only allows us to inform our own instruction, it helps us to understand our students’ needs,

meet those needs, and communicate effectively with them and their parents. The way we assess

and evaluate our students can make a huge difference in their learning and how they perceive

school. By allowing our students to be involved in their own assessment, allowing them to

represent their knowledge in a multitude of ways, and by understanding their circumstances, we

can better assess their learning. Furthermore, our duty as teachers doesn’t stop at teaching the

content. We need to strive at fostering students who are productive, caring, and responsible

members of society.
Herbst, S. Davies, A. (2014). A fresh Look at Grading and Reporting in High Schools. Duncan
Holdings Inc.
Davies, A. (2011). Making Classroom Assessment Work. Third Edition. Duncan Holdings Inc.
Assessment for, of and as Learning. Education Standards Authority. Received from:
Assessment vs. Evaluation. (2019). University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Received
Reeves, D. (2003). The Case Against the Zero. Received from: