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My Philosophy of Classroom Assessment

©Chelsea Geremia

In my classroom, there will be a place for both formal and informal assessments, as well
as both formative and summative assessments. I strongly believe that the goal of assessments is
two-fold: (1) to monitor and evaluate student growth and progress in terms of specific objectives,
and (2) to help teachers modify their future instructional approaches to improve student learning.
I fear that the recent emphasis on “teaching to the test” has caused instruction to divert from these
goals and refocus on ranking schools based on performance numbers. Anyone who is in the
education field can attest to the fact that a student is much more than just a test score.
My philosophy is that assessments should be assessments of learning progress, and
teaching should not be focused around learning for assessments. While I believe in consistently
assessing my students, both formally and informally, in order to gather crucial data and
information, I will use assessments in my classroom as more than simply a way to give a student
a grade. These assessments will guide my teaching instruction as they will allow me to determine
the students’ skill mastery levels and/or deficiencies and whether some concepts need to be
retaught through corrective instruction. When reteaching, I feel that it is important to deliver the
material in a different style, possibly using alternative resources. For those students who do not
need additional assistance, assessments will reveal an opportunity to enhance these students’
knowledge with extension activities.
Once I administer an assessment in my classroom, I will not immediately advance to new
material without reviewing that which was assessed. In my student teaching classroom, we
reviewed each assessment with every student. We gave them an opportunity to “look at it again”
if they made mistakes, not for credit but to support their learning and help them feel successful.
Grant Wiggins, a distinguished educational author and researcher, who inspired major shifts in
classroom instruction, once said “a mistake can be the beginning of learning. Some assessment
experts argue, in fact, that students learn nothing from a successful performance. Rather, students
learn best when their initial performance is less than successful, for then they can gain direction
on how to improve” (Wiggins, 1998). In my classroom, I will welcome mistakes, as they are
evidence of student effort.
I will use many diverse assessment methods, as there are multiple ways that students can
demonstrate what they learned. In addition to tests and quizzes, I plan to also incorporate journals,
portfolios, projects and presentations. Students will be given opportunities to use different skills
to demonstrate mastery of content, including many meaningful and authentic assessments, which
should be purposeful and not be given simply to grade.
Perhaps most importantly, I believe it is essential to involve students in the assessment
process. If students are knowledgeable about the results of their assessments, they can use them to
self-monitor their own progress, recognize their strengths and areas of improvement, and set goals
for themselves and work towards achieving them. For example, after my students took their winter
MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) assessments, I had them set SMART (Specific,
Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goal(s) for themselves, based upon their own
analysis of their performance. They also developed strategies as to how they would achieve these
goals. I encouraged them to work on their goal(s) as often as they could.

Reference:

Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.