Discussing about assessments made me feel funny inside as I reflect on my practices, both when I was a novice and now that I have more experience. Novice and misguided, I remember that very first time I was feeling elated after placing my students’ formative and summative assessments side by side on my desk. The feeling of sheer joy, gratification and huge relief from knowing that my students got what I taught was immeasurable. “My efforts have paved off,” However, it was abruptly blended with the sense of disappointment, and frustration to see that I have a few who fell short of my expectations. It was absolutely frustrating that I almost tore their sheets to bits and pieces. I wanted to pretend they never existed. My thoughts scrambled to find the answers to my whys. I resolved in blaming my students’ absence of motivation to learn combined with their parents’ lack of support. It was the most convenient thing to do. I shook off the dust on my hands and moved on.
Over the course of a week, I had been wondering about my practices and there are things that I thought are worth mentioning here. Years ago, I misunderstood and misused assessments. I used it merely to recognize which students “got it” and not, and that was the end of it. After learning more about assessments, it dawned in me how integral assessment is in our educational system.
“Sometimes poor practice is built into the test. Other times it is what is communicated through the test administration.. Still other times, poor practice may be found in the way the results are interpreted and used.” (Shermis and Di Vesta, 2011).What Shermis and Di Vesta claim rings true. Every stage of assessment is critical, therefore all the educators involve in creating assessment tools, using them and interpreting the gathered evidences should have a great understanding and knowledge of it.
This makes me wonder if educators allot a time in calibrating any assessment tool before diving into it. I remember using a tool to assess my students’ reading ability. When I was sharing the data with my colleague, we both realized that we interpreted some areas of it differently. Thus, making the evidences we gathered incorrect.
I also realized that I haven’t been giving much attention on collecting qualitative evidences as consistently as possible. I know now how vital to have both the quantitative and qualitative to gain a thorough understanding of my students. I think creating a good system to use in a daily basis could help me in gathering this type of evidence.
Moreover, I think that parents are external stimuli in making teachers scramble at their feet and I’m no different. I work in an International School and they pay me to do my job and to do it well. This is one reason why I tend to focus too much on the summative assessments. I know that my performance is being gauged through my students’ summative assessments. But I also know that parents need to be educated as well to change their preconceived notions regarding assessments.
All in all, it was great to delve more into the different components of assessments. I think there are areas in my teaching and assessing that’s in the right track but I also think that there are things that I need to improve on to be better. I have so much room for improvement!