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Ciao, EDS 113.

My journey with EDS 113 had been a tough but fulfilling one. I took this together with a graduate course which also tackles about assessment but in a more technical and DE side. At first I thought this would be so much of an advantage since both courses are about the same thing: assessment. Yes, I was right because theories and principles discussed in one can also be found in the other. However, I never expected that it would be confusing at some points in time. I found myself thinking that these particular examples are presented in one course when it fact it was presented in the other. Haha. Nonetheless, I think it was one beautiful journey.

EDS 113 enabled me to be more conscious in terms of assessment practices that I get to be subjected to as a student here in UPOU. I learned that these tasks have underlying objectives and that they are not being implemented for nothing. Although I’m not a practicing teacher, I got to imagine myself as a teacher who implements these assessment strategies. I got to think of my stand on various issues discussed in the modules.

Before taking this course, I thought that assessment is a just single entity serving one general purpose, and that is to measure student achievement at certain point in time. I also thought that assessment is not a very important component of the teaching learning process since it usually comes last. However, I realized that there is so much to learn about assessment: types, methods, and processes among others. I realized that teachers should not be limited in the assessment strategies to use but should learn to innovate to cater students’ needs and preferences as well. And most importantly, I learned that assessment is a very crucial part of the process since it not only captures student learning, but also serve as a guidance for teachers and for developing the course components.

I definitely want to be a teacher in due time. And when I get to be one, I would utilize the theories and principles that I learned here in EDS 113. I think that Authentic Assessment as well as Differentiated Assessment should be studied more comprehensively and teachers in all sectors need to be familiar with. These are very helpful principles in terms of creatively and appropriately measuring student performance. Moreover, students should be responsible in assessing their own progress so that they can determine, themselves, how they are faring in class.Thus, in my future classes, I will see to it that I get to apply authentic assessment, differentiated assessment, self-assessments and peer-assessments.

Again, it was a rough but a fun ride! Thank you very much, Teacher Malou for imparting your knowledge to us. My gratitude goes to you as well, my classmates, especially to my groupmates in Assignment 1 and partner in Assignment 2,. The learning that I acquired here is EDS 113 will forever be treasured and be applied accordingly.

Ciao, EDS 113. But this is not a goodbye. This is just the beginning 😀

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Module 4: How meaningful have scores been?

Whenever I receive a score for an exam, for an output, or even for an entire course, all my efforts and time attributed to getting that score flash back to me. I always try to quantify if the score genuinely reflects my hardships in the course of satisfying the requirements or the hours I spent reviewing for a certain exam. Most of the time I think I deserve it but sometimes, I think I deserve better than that. Haha!

Anyways, I believe that scores are important as a form of assessment result for students. It is a “judgment” of efforts, performances, and achievements thus tend to be given so much importance. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier posts, grades are very important in the system that we are currently in, with the employers looking at transcripts when considering someone for a position in their company. Am I right? People tend to rely on scores to tell if a student is worthy of praise or not. Sad but true, I guess.

I think that scores, though given so much importance, cannot effectively inform both teachers and students about the learning progress in class. I believe that teacher’s observations and judgment through student behaviors and performances are more effective in genuinely capturing progress, although we should not discount the fact the test scores can reflect knowledge acquisition at certain levels.

Teachers and students may have a common interpretation of scores if the objective of the assessment process is explained at the start of the class. In this way, both of them will be at the same page whatever score the students get.

Considering these things, I still believe that scores are numbers containing objective information of how students have progressed over time. Nonetheless, there should be other sources of assessment data (not just test scores) in order to capture the entirety of student progress.

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Of Artifacts and Confusions

On the onset, I was excited to work on the Assignment 2 as we were asked to collect and analyze assessment artifacts. I thought that this would be fun because we will be looking on actual samples of materials being used to gauge student learning. Initially, we thought of working on one topic under Mathematics but upon realizing that this will be extra challenging since I am an English teacher but I only teach online and my partner is also an English teacher thus finding actual samples from other department will be difficult, we resorted to thinking of other subjects and other ways to collect samples. Good thing my partner had used assessment materials before for her Grade 6 students about the Parts of a Book so we decided to use them for the activity as they are already on hand and my partner can show some outputs from the students that were assessed in the past.

We actually designated tasks to each other and one of my assignments is the definition of the six assessment types involved to contextualize the paper – informal and formal, formative and summative, and traditional and authentic assessments. At first, I thought that this will be an easy piece since I am confident that I have understood all previous lessons. However, defining and describing each type of assessment is, I realized, very confusing. I kept to how I define the concepts using my own words and this was definitely very hard as I thought that my explanations were redundant. Good thing I was able to distinguish them at the end of the day.

One of my realizations, apart from the aforementioned, is that one sample assessment material can serve or can be classified under various types of assessment depending on the instructional objectives. For instance, a single multiple-choice type quiz is a traditional type which can serve both as formative and summative assessment. Portfolio projects are informal-authentic. This may be because these types are focus not only on the methods of gathering data but also the in interpretation of data.

I am certain that this activity enriched my knowledge regarding the assessment types. I was able to “interact” with real samples and not only that, because I was able to propose/recommend ways on how to improve a certain artifact. I also became more sensitive in analyzing the assessment activities given to us in class. I know that this can help me be better in thinking of more innovative ways in implementing assessment procedures in my future classes as a teacher.

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Module 3E: Differentiated Assessment

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I personally believe that teaching and learning is not a one-size-fits-all process. Strategies that are appropriate and effective to one group of learners may not be able to do the same to another set. For this reason, teachers need to take their efforts a notch or even several notches higher to address the needs of their students more properly and more efficiently. Surely, students may be able to learn even in a generalized instruction, but one cannot deny the fact that teaching students in a more fixed and targeted manner can better equip them with the knowledge and skills that they need. This, as what I’ve learned in this module, is called Differentiated Instruction.

Now what does this have to do with assessment? This concept/principle is the root of Differentiated Assessment. From what I have learned, in differentiated assessment, it is recommended that teachers assess students in the most appropriate way depending on the instructional strategies and objectives of the class/course. For instance, if the objective of the lesson is for students to be able to develop a film-based photo, teachers need to actually ask students to develop photos in a dark room, instead of asking them to enumerate the development process through a written exam. When a person’s potential on edible landscaping needs to be assessed, you don’t just ask them to illustrate a layout on a piece of paper, you actually need to ask them to make an edible landscape. In these ways, students or people being assessed get to show their real potential while teachers get to gauge their learning appropriately.

I believe that differentiated assessment poses numerous uses for teachers/assessors and other people involved. Nonetheless, I still think that it should be complemented with traditional assessment methods as both have different characteristics and uses that can serve well the purpose of assessment.

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Module 3D: Peer and Self Assessments

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In this module, I learned the importance of subjecting students to peer- as well as self-assessments. This makes the whole process of assessment more holistic, because the students’ voices are being heard. They get to share a part, no matter how small it is, in their overall grade.

When I was an elementary student, I always feel anxious when asked to assess my own performance. I mean, as far as genuine assessment is concerned and if I happen to rate myself too high, my classmates would think that I think too much of myself and that I rated myself higher so as to pull my grades up. On the other hand, if I happen to rate myself too low, then they might also think that I am just trying to be humble. These circumstances can happen even if I honestly and genuinely grade myself. As a result, I tend to rate myself with positive and negative bias, depending on the situation.

Bias or partiality cannot also be avoided in the case of peer-assessments. When members of a group are too close to each other and that they have a harmonious relationship, they are likely to favor one another when asked to assess each of their performances or contributions. However, if there is a rift or conflict among group members, it can also affect on how they will rate each other. These circumstances show how self- and peer-assessments can be unreliable (biased, at that) especially if they are not appropriately implemented.

Hence, how can teachers ensure the genuineness, and therefore reliability, of these kinds of assessments? I realized that informing students of the main objective on why they need to undergo such assessment is very important. This is not just to make them aware, but also to enjoin them in realizing that purpose. Further, establishing anonymity among students who do the assessment can make them more confident in giving “real” grades because they will not be held liable for whatever consequence it can result to.

Peer- and self-assessments should be implemented not just to involve students in the assessment process, but also to serve as an “assessment as learning” wherein they can have a chance to monitor and improve their performance in school.

 

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Module 3C: Traditional and Authentic Assessment

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When I was a student, I always wonder why some of my classmates perform well during written exams but not when given practical exams or projects. There are also those who are good on the latter but not on the former. Honestly, I’m not that excited when given tasks or activities that call for the showcase of our acquired knowledge or skill, and I get to be excited during exams that tests my memory and understanding. Being the lazy that I was, I thought that practical and hands-on activities were somewhat redundant, except from activities that are of interest to me. But as I grew older, I learned to appreciate the efforts being exerted by my teachers in subjecting us to meaningful activities.When I graduated from college and started work, I appreciated every activity/project that I experienced when I was a student. I realized that those things, after all, are more useful when we get to live in the real world.

In this module, I learned that assessment methods such as exams and quizzes in the form of multiple choice, true or false, or filling the blanks are kinds of traditional tests. These tests aim to measure students’ recall and understanding. But if teachers want implement assessment involving higher-order thinking skills such as evaluation, analysis, and creation, he/she must embark on employing authentic assessment. This is used to gauge student learning in a more in-depth and comprehensive manner. Those skills and attitudes and particular knowledge that cannot be efficiently measured by a test need to be measure by a more appropriate method. These methods can range from essay and article writing, role playing, performances, and portfolios, among others. Authentic assessment is believed to prepare the students for tasks in the real world.

Although authentic assessment may target deeper set of knowledge and skills, one cannot deny the fact that traditional assessment is still essential for the whole assessment process in the classroom. I realized that teachers should not pick which kind of assessment to use, but learn how to complement methods from each type to achieve a more comprehensive and targeted measurement of student learning. 🙂

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Module 3B: Summative and Formative Assessment

When I was a college student, I always keep myself aware of exam schedules primary because I know that my performance during those tests will determine my grades, and eventually my future. Seems too futuristic, but we cannot deny the fact that companies give importance to the grades garnered by their applicants when they were in school. Thus, students’ grades contribute a lot to their potential in competing in the “real world.” In this aforementioned situation, we can say that people generally take the final assessment result as something that encapsulates the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the students.

However, aside from my belief that not all students give the best of their abilities in the final test, there is also a possibility that because of the general notion, teachers, educational researchers, academic institutions, and other stakeholders might tend to focus their efforts in summative assessment.

Summative assessment, I learned, is the process by which student learning is measured to judge their achievement. Formative assessment, on the other hand, is done to gauge student learning and eventually improve or adjust instruction – its delivery and strategies. The latter assess the entirety of student accomplishments while the latter focuses more on how teaching can be improved to maximize learning.

Notwithstanding the fact that formative assessments can use subjective or unstructured methods while summative assessments can use objective tests, developments have allowed the use of these methods either formatively or summatively, depending on the assessment goals.

People and institutions judge the credibility of schools and their faculties by looking into student achievement, that is, the results of summative assessments. Hence, teachers and school authorities tend to give more attention to such process. However, formative assessments must be given equal importance because this determines how much or how less students are learning. It aims to improve teachers’ performance as well.

In connection to how I started this post, people need to stop thinking that grades encompass the entirety of the capabilities of a person, because in reality, exams or other methods of final assessment which determine grades, may not reflect the real achievement of students.

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