Learner-centered approach

traditionalAs I reflect on being a past learner, I remember taking mostly traditional assessments. My favorite was answering objective type of assessment such as multiple choices. It’s because even if I didn’t know the answer to a question, I knew I still had a shot at getting the right answer by doing the eeny meeny miney moe method in my head. There were also times that I looked for patterns like AABBCC and I thought I was being clever. However, when one of the choices was either none of the above or all of the above, I knew I was doomed.

Because of the kind of assessment being administered to me when I was young, tasks designed by my teachers were also to drive us in memorizing facts. Just like most public schools in the Philippines, we were so dependent on our teacher in disseminating the information. There was also a limitation as to what we could learn because it was our teacher who structured the learning and the tests. I just knew that I was feeling bored from time to time but I didn’t know that we were already missing out on opportunities to develop higher level of thinking skills.

Our Philippine Public Schools are still in a very dreary situation. Traditional assessments still drive the design of students’ learning experiences, the behavior expected of them, and the attitude of the teacher. I believe non-traditional assessments should be used more often and should become the main source of assessments for students in the Philippines and worldwide. Being able to assess students based on rubrics, observations, peer reviews and self-reflections are a much better way to enhance the learning process of students. Students won’t just learn to pass a test, they will be challenged to absorb the material, use the feedback to improve their performance and think of ways to use in their lives.

Also, I think we need to be more student-centered in our approach to education and let students become successful in their own way with our guidance. One way to stay more student-centered, is create an atmosphere in the classroom that allows for more choice and voice. Teachers also need to create the appropriate assessment tasks to help students address their strengths and weaknesses. Differentiation complements a student-centered class. It is such a crucial part of every teacher’s job, and it requires constant attention and a positive attitude to do it well. I believe differentiated assessment is needed because every student has different needs and abilities.

Reflective assessments are also significant to the development of a student because it forces them to reflect on themselves and their performance. Sometimes we can become our own worst enemy, but we can also be our greatest ally and reflections have a way of pointing out both positive and negative aspects of ourselves. There are numerous types of assessments out there and this subject has been a fresh reminder of some I’ve forgotten and a few I need to learn more about.

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