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I believe that assessment is the backbone of every educational system and can be

a valuable tool used to measure student understanding in the classroom. When done

properly, assessment in the classroom can encourage students and help them thrive in

their positive learning environment; when done poorly, assessments in the classroom can

interfere with student motivation and potential successes. As a teacher, it is my job to

constantly strive to use assessment properly in order to help my students flourish; I

believe I can work towards this goal through using the concept of triangulation of data

(observation, conferencing, product), and both formative and summative assessment. As

a teacher, I think it’s crucial to recognize the importance of assessing students in a variety

of ways. “When teachers are seen to value all evidence of learning – both qualitative and

quantitative – then students come to understand that everything they do, say, and create is

potentially evidence of learning” (Herbst and Davies, 2014, p.13). In this philosophy of

assessment paper, I will explain how I plan to value all evidence of learning, and will also

explain my opinions on re-tests, a widely known issue concerning assessment.

Formative Assessment

I believe that formative assessment, often referred to as “assessment for learning”,

is one of the best and more important forms of assessment. Formative assessment is a

strategy that should be frequent and ongoing in order to properly gauge students’

learning. It should be varied in a manner so that it meets the needs of every student.

Through formative assessment, I should have a clear understanding of what information

is being retained and what information requires extra attention, allowing me, as a teacher,

to help improve overall student learning.

There are various types of formative assessments, and when used together will

provide sufficient information to both the student and teacher on student learning. An

example of formative assessment is observation, often referred to as “clipboard cruising”,

where teachers take notes on students during class discussions and both individual and

group work in order to keep track of student learning. Other methods of formative

assessment include conferencing, where teachers and students discuss student progress

and learning, entrance and exit slips, where students have the opportunity to share and

reflect on their learning while practicing metacognition, journals and homework.

In order for formative assessment to be effective, I believe teachers need to focus

on the feedback they are providing students on their various types of formative

assessment. Feedback should be goal-referenced, ongoing and consistent. Students should

constantly receive feedback throughout the day and learning process that is consistently

guiding them towards reaching their goal and should offer what steps are necessary in

order for them to succeed (Herbst and Davies, 2014). Feedback should also be tangible

and user-friendly. My students should always understand my points of constructive

criticism; these points also being tangible; students should feel as though they can and

will achieve their goals. While giving feedback, I believe it is equally important to give

praise, and to constantly encourage students to continue trying their best.

Summative Assessment

Although I appreciate the informal nature of formative assessment, to counter and

compliment that, summative assessment is also necessary to understand students’

comprehension. Summative assessment, often referred to as “assessment of learning”, is a

form of assessment that focuses on curricular outcomes or entire units. Summative

assessment differs from formative assessment as it is not necessarily an ongoing process,

but rather provides a snapshot of student comprehension at one specific time. My goal is

to use summative assessments appropriately and in a constructive manner. In order to

accomplish this goal, there must be more focus placed on the feedback than grades and

should employ strategies to reduce student test anxiety (Kohn, 2011).

There are a few ways of reducing test anxiety; one strategy I utilized very

frequently during my first field placement was providing students with choice. Students

were offered choice not only in the way they provided evidence of their learning, whether

it is a test, project, speech, or model etc, but also within the final product. From my

experience, students were more comfortable and overall less stressed when writing tests

and creating final products that offered choice.

While providing choice, it was equally important that I allowed students to co-

construct the criteria of their final product with me. “It is important to co-construct

criteria with students so they have a shared understanding as well as a feeling of

ownership” (Davies, 2011, p. 57) When students are provided opportunities to participate

and contribute their ideas with regards to their assessment, they are more likely to

become engaged in the product and have an overall better understanding of what is

expected of them (Herbst and Davies, 2013).

Another strategy used to reduce test anxiety that I will implement in my

classroom is to allow re-tests. By providing students with multiple opportunities to write

a test or complete a project, students will understand that learning is continuous and that

all concepts are equally important and valuable. Allowing re-tests provides students with

an opportunity to show their growth in learning while also putting them in charge of their

own learning. By using a re-take form, I will be asking my students to complete all

previous work, contemplate their original test and questions they have missed, and reflect

on where they went wrong on their original assessment (Wormeli, 2011). I will be

working with students and providing them specific and descriptive feedback so that they

can produce work that more closely aligns with curriculum and our expectation (Herbst

and Davies, 2014).


My philosophy of assessment is based on the experience I currently have in the

classroom. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to allow and help my students thrive and

flourish through their own strengths in my classroom. I want my students to actively take

part in their learning and assessment. I want to put more emphasis on “assessment as

learning” and encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and work

together with them to create learning goals that encourage continuous growth and


Davies, A. (2011). Making Classroom Assessment Work, 3rd Edition. Courtenay, BC:
Connections Publishing and Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Herbst, S and Davies, A. (2014). A Fresh Look at Grading and Reporting in High
Schools. Courtenay, BC: Connections Publishing and Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree

Herbst, S and Davies, A. (2013). Co-Constructing Success Criteria. Education Canada,


Kohn, A. (2011). The Case Against Grades. Educational Leadership, 69(3), 28-33.

Wormeli, R. (2011). Redos and Retakes Done Right. Efective Grading Practies, 69(3),