Chapter 1 Response

Chapter 1 in “Making Classroom Assessment Work” by Anne Davies defines many terms that are part of the assessment process. These terms – for example assessment, evaluation, descriptive feedback, evaluative feedback, etc. – are defined in my blog post “Assessment Step 1: Know the Terms.” The chapter discusses getting students to be part of the assessment and learning process. One thing that struck me was the research stating that “increasing the amount of descriptive feedback, while decreasing evaluative feedback, increases student learning significantly” (Davies, 2011, p. 3). The assessment process involves looking at the curriculum, showing samples/practicing/creating criteria with the students, and evaluating. Students need to be part of the entire process to foster lifelong learning and it helps them understand the tasks better.

Guiding Our Own Learning

1. This chapter confirmed the importance of practice to me. As a basketball coach, we often go through each step and repeat the instruction throughout the entire season. Sometimes this is forgotten in the classroom. Sometimes we think talking to students means that they are learning when this is rarely the case. Practice, samples and explicit instruction are things that are part of the learning process and cannot be ignored.

As a pre-service teacher and an English major often people talk (or warn) about the amount of marking. This chapter suggested grading less and providing more descriptive feedback. This creates a shared work between the students and teachers and is not something I thought I would be allowed to do. It makes perfect sense though and many English texts suggest not scrutinizing every piece of writing that comes in.

I think self-assessment is wonderful and something that I have used before. Learners need to take responsibility for themselves, especially at the secondary level. I also am a firm believer of slowing down. Why move to the next thing if the task is not grasped? Less is often more. This ties into the practice time because instead of rushing on, students have time to work through a new topic or skill. This would foster an inclusive classroom, as students who would like to expand could have the time and others could have more time to learn the skill. Including the students in the learning process and allowing for ample practice time may take longer but it will be worth it if they succeed.

I would like to learn more about scaffolding, including students in the entire learning process and descriptive feedback (how to give it without turning learners away). If learners are receiving less evaluative feedback and are receiving more descriptive feedback, how do they stay motivated to do the work? One idea that I can think of is giving credit for work in middle but I would like more information about motivating students without giving marks.

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