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Philosophy of Assessment

The most memorable teachers are not necessarily the ones I had consistently received

good grades from, but are the teachers who were not in the profession for a simple career but

more so to make a difference in the lives of the youth. For me this is the most important part of

becoming more than just a teacher but an influencer in molding students’ minds to drive for

success. The key for success begins with young learners acknowledging their potential of being

great.

The biggest part of a teacher’s job is assessing students’ learning progress, successes and

achievements; and being able to provide reliable and valid evidence. This is important because it

allows parents, students, teachers and other parties to gauge where the student is and needs to

improve. My philosophy of assessment in the classroom is anchored around three main concepts

which I plan to implement in my classroom. This trifecta includes formative assessment,

summative assessment and self-assessment. There is no single form of assessment which works

best for all students, understanding that all students learn differently leads me to believe that it is

a combination of these three that will scaffold students to become the best versions of

themselves.

“Assessment that works in the interest of children will enhance their ability to see and

understand their learning for themselves, to judge it for themselves, and to on their

judgements.” (Davies, 63)

Formative assessment is valuable as it allows students to learn from the assessment.

Formative assessment involves gauging students’ progress through recording their behaviours

and work ethic; and providing feedback that is used for improving student learning. I would
implement formative assessment through group work as well as inquiry-based projects. I believe

that this method of teaching allows me to give the most amount of feedback to students while

accumulating records on students understanding of material; as well as encouraging them to

strive for success. Evidence gained from this method of assessment can come from a variety of

classroom activities such as: formal written assignments and quizzes, as well as informal

discussions, and journal entries. I strongly believe formative assessment is the most efficient and

reliable form of assessment as it does not emphasize a letter or number grade, but instead the

students can focus on feedback and enhance their the learning.

Summative assessments consist of tests or a final submission of a large project that

covers all the material required by the provincial curriculum for a unit, which demonstrates that

learning has been achieved. The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at

appropriate times and compare the results to the curriculum outcome. The purpose of this

assessment is to have hard evidence of a student’s achievement at a particular point. From the

evidence gathered the audience (teacher, student, or parent) can determine what material is

known and where improvement is needed. I understand however, that summative assessments for

some students show only a snapshot of knowledge at a time. For many students the pressure that

comes with the assessment of learning may hold heavy consequences such as how test anxiety

will reflect in invalid evaluation as the student may know the material but is unable to express it

at the time. Due to this common situation I believe that summative evaluation should only be

done when necessary at the end of a unit.

The third method is using assessment as learning though self-reflection. Through self-

assessment students are given time to reflect on their own work and will be able to understand

their own strengths and weaknesses in their work and develop an understanding for how they
learn. By asking students to engage in this process they take responsibility for their own learning.

I believe that this assessment is beneficial when implementing inquiry-based learning in my

classroom as the students will be able to reflect on the strategies they used to get their results

thus coming to a better comprehension of their learning. Through this model of assessment,

students will be taking the next steps in developing skills to become independent learners.

Another aspect of this model of assessment I wish to bring to my classroom is that it allows

students to create their own goals and become more engaged in understanding the outcomes.

Although self-assessment is primarily a student based process, it is important that the teacher

monitors the students and guides them through the curricular outcomes. I hope that through a

safe environment students will use self-assessment to question their learning.

Furthermore, I understand that assessing and evaluating students is the most important

part of the teacher’s job, however it can be very difficult. Through a teacher’s career, they can be

placed in very controversial situations and I believe it is important to approach a difficult

situation with a defined stance. For example I do not believe that a zero or a fail mark on a

summative assessment should be final. A zero should only be a placeholder until learning has

been proven. A student is always learning and a zero suggests the student did not learn anything

so I believe that there is another issue at hand. I believe in these cases the student should be

allowed to be re-assessed. Although I do not approve of zero’s, I do not see an issue with a

failing grade on a test as students should understand that making mistakes is a part of learning

and life and recuperating from a setback is an important skill to develop. Finally, I believe that

holding students back entire grade levels is not acceptable as studies have shown that this

decision hinders more than just a student’s education, but it also bleeds out into their social life

and other aspects.


In conclusion, I believe that formative assessment and self-assessment are the two most

beneficial forms of gauging the student learning process; however, the trifecta is not complete

without summative assessment. It is the summative assessments, which create a database of

evidence that can be shared with parents, students and other external personnel, which stand as

proof of learning. I believe that students will achieve more when grades are not emphasized but

when assessment is used as a tool for learning and as a method of learning. These assessments

shine when students feel as though they are in a safe learning environment and are encouraged to

take chances with fewer consequences.


References:

Herbst-Luedtke, S., & Davies, A. (2014). A fresh look at grading and reporting in high schools.

Courtenay, BC: Connections Pub.

Davies, A. (2017). Making classroom assessment work. Courtenay, British Columbia:

Connect2learning.