The foundation of assessment begins with deeply understanding its purpose and need to relate to students lives within the context of school and community. Authentic assessment begins by planning with the end in mind. I am a strong believer in authentic assessment because students spend more time mastering tasks that are relevant to their lives. Differentiating learning to fit individual needs allows for assessment to become valuable and suitable for each student. In order to make assessment effective, there needs to be a variety of different strategies put in place. This captures assessment as/of/for learning, along with working individually, in small groups, or facilitating a whole classroom experience. Students learn best through role modelling. They will not understand the importance or value of assessment unless it is modelled to them in a meaningful way. This harmonizes with a quote I strongly believe in, “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best”. – Bob Talbert
There is a high need to create a positive atmosphere for assessment from the beginning of the school year. By no means should any assessment determine how students rank against one another in the classroom. Instead, assessment should be taught and experienced with the values of support and inclusion for all. I believe it is vital to talk one to one with students about their strengths and areas in need of improvement so they feel respected and can set positive goals for future learning. Goal setting is a form of self-assessment that allows students to become captivated in and accountable for their actions while learning. The “I can” statements written in student friendly language compliment this self-assessment, as students understand what is expected of them and can strive for excellence. As an ongoing learner myself, I need to stay true to my practices of assessment as I grow and develop as an educator. My assessment must remain realistic and I need to be aware that authentic assessment is not suitable for all areas of learning.
Assessment is an ongoing experience, and it needs to be performed frequently and effectively. A purpose needs to be eminent as to why students are being assessed along with a plan in place of what needs to be done with the data gathered to help improve student achievement. Assessment should not be done strictly for scoring or putting grades on a report card. The goal of assessment is to help students aspire to the next level, while helping the teacher know what to plan next to ensure optimized growth. My last belief about assessment is that it requires collaboration. Collaboration is an extremely important part of assessment, especially throughout my first years as an educator. When you are able to work with teachers of different capabilities and outlooks, you are able to problem solve, find what works best for your students, and improve the overall quality of your schools initiatives.