This week we discussed assessment and the different ways we can assess our students, both formally and informally. While I've never been a huge fan of standardized tests as a student, I understand their importance now that I'm becoming a teacher. However, as an educator, I'd like to incorporate multiple forms of assessment so my students have many opportunities to excel in my classroom.
For example, if I was teaching a lesson about fairy tales to second graders, I would use many ways to test their knowledge. In this lesson, I would incorporate sequencing, differentiating between details and main ideas, comparing and contrasting, and writing narratives. With a lesson this broad, there are countless ways to assess my students.
Informal: Each student writes their own fairy tale (should include the main parts of a fairytale- characters, illustrations, plot, conflict, resolution, moral).
Informal: Students are put into groups and given the task of writing a fairy tale, creating a script, and performing their tale for the class.
Informal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class and have a group discussion about key parts of the book and what makes it a fairy tale.
Formal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class, discuss the major components of a fairy tale, and test the students on the material at a later date.
Norm-referenced assessments, which compares a students' performance to their peers, and criterion referenced assessments, which shows what students have/have not learned compared to standards, are a prevalent part of our education system. While these two types of assessments are very different, they both have positive and negative aspects to them. Norm-referenced assessments are a good way to see which students are understanding the material and which students are struggling. While these assessments don't show specifics, it can indicate problem areas in the classroom. Criterion referenced assessments are a fantastic way to see what exactly students are understanding within the material. Teachers can use these to see material that may need to be retaught.