Generating meaningful opportunities for my students to showcase their cross-curricular, broad areas and subject-specific learning is a major focus of my daily teaching practice. These opportunities are engineered in ways that allow me to obtain a comprehensive view of student learning. I am regularly noting where students present robust strength academically, socially and emotionally, as well as where students required extra attention, alternative instructional methods or means of representing their learning.
Assessment via triangulation
In order to identify each student’s areas of strength and challenges, I pull data from diagnostic, formative and summative assessments. Additionally, I often triangulate assessment data using the “write, do, say” approach. This approach allows me to acknowledge different learning styles and generate a morecomprehensive view of student knowledge in cases where students may have profound difficulty in one specific area of learning that affects their ability to showcase their knowledge, skills and abilities in another.
I ensure students are fully aware of expectations. If a rubric or checklist will be used to assess student learning, I review and explain the criteria and expectations to the class prior to beginning the project. I also highlight key expectations and distribute a hard copy to students for quick reference while completing their project.
Assessment informs my teaching practice
Collecting student assessment data for progress reports and report cards is not my sole intention. I also use this data toinform my teaching practice. For example, I often give pre-tests as preparation for unit tests. I encourage students to treat these tests as aguide to reflect on areas that they are highly competent in, and areas that need additional attention prior to taking the real test. Having students place a star beside sections that they are unsure how to navigate allows me to quickly identify which sections I need to review,re-explain or teach using alternative methods prior to giving my student the real test.
Self-assessments & reflective practice
Additionally, I believe that self-assessment and reflective practices are an invaluable tool for both educators and students. In my classroom, we engage in weekly, pre and post-test reflections. These reflections come in the form of short answer, fill in the blanks, exit tickets, free writes, and more!
These regular check-ins encourage students to learn to accurately appraise their work and behavior, identify shortcomings, learn to construct a contingency plan, and work toward progressing in a positive direction. These reflections are placed in a portfolio. The progress of students from September to June is truly remarkable!!
Highlight student competence
I regularly apply Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and differentiation to ensure that students are given the opportunity to showcase their work in ways thathighlight their competence.
For example, I have had very bright children in my class who excel in math, but struggle in reading, decoding, fluency and comprehension. In order to allow these students to showcase their passion and competence in math, I have uploaded the written components of math tests to an online reader such as Natural Readers. This allows students to listen to the instructions during the math test on their personal Chromebooks and allows me to evaluate the intended competency (math).