Articles

My Learning Journal – Spec Ed Part 2

ENTRY 1 – Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Here we go with Spec Ed Part 2! And what a way to start with a snow day ❄️ Most of the province was hit with several inches of snow so several boards in the GTA were closed today, giving me a great opportunity to get familiar with the course, and spend some quality time outside with my girls of course 😉

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ENTRY 2 – Thursday, January 31st, 2019

“Assessment is broadly defined in the Principles as the process of collecting and
interpreting information that can be used (i) to inform students, and their
parents/guardians where applicable, about the progress they are making toward
attaining the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to be learned or acquired, and (ii) to inform the various personnel who make educational decisions (instructional, diagnostic, placement, promotion, graduation, curriculum planning, program development, policy) about students.” Principles for Fair Student Assessment Practices for Education in Canada

Over the course of my education career, I have grown to appreciate and understand the many forms of assessment. From informal, anecdotal assessments using Google forms to formal, standardized exams, I have developed both an appreciation and respect for the diverse forms of evaluation. What I see as the biggest contrast from the start of my career until this point is the ease at which we can collect assessment data. With the evolution of Smart phones, tablets and wireless technologies, teachers have more tools for collecting assessment data than ever, in addition to the old fashioned pen and paper assessments. I don’t mean to say that older assessment methods are ineffective – sometimes using your eyes and ears is one the best formats for collecting data from your students! But e-learning platforms, Google forms and docs and so much more have made it especially easy and effective to collect and collate real-time assessment data in learning environments.

One of the biggest questions that I face in the classroom has been which is the most accurate and effective format for, as and of assessment. Quite simply – it varies! Depending on the student,subject and even situation can have an impact on what is the best assessment tool to use. According to Principles for Fair Student Assessment Practices for Education in Canada, “selection of assessment methods for collecting information should be clearly linked to the purposes for which inferences and decisions
are to be made”. I try my best to adhere to this assessment logic in my teaching practice. The document also states that “assessment methods should be clearly related to the goals and objectives of instruction, and be compatible with the instructional approaches used”and I could not agree more!

I have learned to embrace technology in my classroom over the years and try to incorporate the newest and most effective assessment tools. Google forms has proven successful for me, especially when it comes time to write progress reports and midterm/final report cards. Assessing a student’s learning skills, as seen in the Growing Success document, can sometimes be challenging as we don’t often witness or record every single one. I have found that using Google forms on a tablet can help me record a student demonstrating these learning skills in real time. I create the forms ahead of time and even use checklists and add detailed, goal-specific comments to support my data.

Learning-Skills_ReportCard_SEC

“Assessment methods should be developed or chosen so that inferences
drawn about the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors possessed by each
student are valid and not open to misinterpretation.” Principles for Fair Student Assessment Practices for Education in Canada

I think it is also important in assessment that students are given clear guidelines and expectations. Identifying learning goals and success criteria is something I attempt to do on a daily basis and are especially important in the lead up to any big assessments. According to the Growing Success document, “Success criteria describe in specific
terms what successful attainment of the learning goals looks like”and they “are
used to develop an assessment tool, such as a checklist, a rubric, or an exit card (i.e., a student’s self-assessment of learning).” I try to prepare and utilize checklists and rubrics for assessed work, whether formal or informal, and give these to students ahead of time so they have a chance to comprehend the expectations.

Overall, these two documents are very useful and the content does indeed align with my assessment practices. As I continue to teach and grow and develop, my assessments methods too will evolve and adapt to the students needs.

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