When I first found out that I was going to have Principles and Methods of Assessment for this term, I was so elated! I told myself, “Rowena, you do assessments at work. You got this in the bag.” But as weeks passed by, I began to realize that what I know about it is just the tip of a huge iceberg.
Reflecting on my journey here, I think one of the most important lessons I learned is Bloom’s taxonomy of the cognitive domain. I found it very helpful to know that there are different levels of cognition that I could apply in every situation. I became so interested in this that I furthered my readings and came across another article discussing the levels of cognition in reflecting. Currently, every time I create a set of objectives or task, I ask myself what level of thinking my students are going to use. Whenever I am reflecting as a teacher as well or just doing anything that involves thinking, I also apply the same method.
Another valuable lesson I had in this course was to know about the importance of alignment. In the past, I only aligned my objectives with the instructional activities but not as much with the assessments. I know now that assessments should reveal how well students have learned and what we want them to learn, while instruction ensures that they learn it. So for this to occur, assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies need to be closely aligned so that they reinforce one another. I know this may sound strange, but it’s easy for me spot on my own mistakes now and even my previous teachers’ mistakes.
I also think that it was a great idea for us to collaboratively design our own self- and peer- assessments. That learning experience allowed us to use our higher level of thinking and even enhanced our skills in collaboration. Now, even though I’m the type of a person who doesn’t give up control, I realized that as a learner, I actually have the ability to let others lead and accept their ideas with an open-mind. It’s certainly true that two brains are always better than one.
The muddiest part of this course for me was distinguishing the differences of assessments. I’m confident that I can set traditional and non-traditional assessments apart as well as the formative and summative assessments. But I still get confused sometimes with the formal and informal assessments so this is what I need to read more about.
Looking back on my practice as a teacher, I realized that I have made various mistakes along the way. From choosing a wrong assessment task, having vague objectives, giving wrong feedback, being inconsistent with my feedback and not allowing my students to assess their peers and themselves. I didn’t realize that with these little decisions I made, I wasn’t just depriving myself to improve but also depriving my students from learning essential skills.
Fortunately, I work in a school that uses a constructivist approach to teaching and so I have already gotten the opportunity to apply what I learned right away and correct wrong practices I’ve done. A few weeks back, I also initiated the conversation with my grade level team regarding analyzing assessment data. We have been doing a good job administering them but we needed to improve on picking the assessments which will help us improve learning and teaching.
This is just the first mile of my journey but I can say that I am equipped enough with important information to improve my teaching and my students’ learning. This course had helped me to see my school’s curriculum in a new light. My goal is to be a true constructivist teacher and bring out the best in myself and my students.