Insights and Skills from Assignment #1

Doing Assignment #1 was like entering The Underground River Cave in Palawan. At first you get uneasy and fearful because it is so dark and you don’t know what’s inside. But then, once inside, you get amazed by its beauty and wonder!

Downloading Assignment #1 instructions from the portal was the start of apprehensions. How on earth am I supposed to do this? I didn’t know where to begin, how to start and where to get help. I was almost sure I could not do it.

Teacher Malou’s step by step tasks and guidance helped a lot. Slowly, as I digest the readings, I began to understand the tasks and the direction where they’re heading. I started to appreciate the new knowledge and learning. I began enjoying the e-company of new friends who were lost with me, haha 🙂 , and then appreciating the fact that we did find the correct paths together. I was blessed with responsible, hard-working and enthusiastic team members, yey! We were able to submit Assignment #1 on time!

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What are my lessons learned from doing Assignment #1? Well, here are some:

  • Assessments are effective tools to improve teaching and learning.
  • All components of assessment: objectives, outcomes, instruction and assessment must all be well aligned to boost learning.
  • The information on the results of assessment is a useful tool in identifying next steps to improve teaching and learning.
  • In choosing objectives, we have to carefully choose the verbs to reflect progression of learning from the lowest level to the more complex levels. Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, these are: Knowledge (most basic level), Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation (most complex level).
  • In choosing objectives, we must carefully choose verbs that will clearly say what the students SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO after the lesson. Objectives must be overt and measurable. Objectives must be student-centered.
  • In stating learning outcomes, we must clearly state what our students will BE ABLE TO DO, based on the learning objectives set.
  • In choosing methods and criteria, we must use assessment activities that will manifest student’s ability and level of ability. It must demonstrate WHAT and HOW MUCH the students have learned.
  • Results and Analysis based on assessment must be clear to set standards. The assessment results and its implications can be used by teachers, students and education stake holders to identify next steps in improving the teaching-learning process.
  • Doing Assignment #1 makes us reflect and improve on our own assessment practices such that we can serve the purposes of Assessment FOR, AS and OF learning well, geared towards improving the teaching and learning process.
  • A wide variety of assessment activities/approaches can be used purposely FOR, AS and OF learning. One can select appropriate assessment approaches based on the assessment purpose.

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Assessment AS learning: student’s self-monitoring and self-assessment

  • It helps the students reflect, understand, and monitor their own learning, thereby, helping them make adjustments and manage their own learning.
  • It helps the students develop effective learning habits/strategies, become more self-directed learners, and acquire metacognitive skills. When students are able to self-assess, they become more aware of their weaknesses and strengths and become better learners.
  • It helps the students implement a learning plan geared towards achieving learning goals and outcomes.

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Assessment FOR learning: formative, continuous assessment during instruction

  • It helps the teachers monitor the students’ progress, to know if the students are truly learning what they’re supposed to be learning.
  • It helps the teachers identify the student’s individual learning needs and adjust their teaching methods and tools accordingly. It helps teachers differentiate instruction appropriately.
  • It helps the teachers identify misconceptions and learning gaps and apply steps to bridge the gaps.
  • It helps the teachers align instruction with learning objectives and outcomes. It helps them gauge if their instructional tools/materials and teaching strategies are effective in helping the students achieve the targeted learning outcomes.
  • It gives feedback to students and parents such that students can also manage their own learning and improve their learning styles and parents can help their children in their studies.
  • It helps teachers help students improve their learning and apply next steps to further improve the student learning.
  • It helps the teachers grow as educators as they refine their instruction to match the students’ learning needs and outcomes.

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Assessment OF learning: summative, post-instruction assessment to certify learning

  • It determines students’ competence and skill; measures student’s progress and success in learning; determines whether the students have achieved the learning objectives and outcomes.
  • It gives feedback to both students and parents and provide useful information in making decisions about educational and career paths.
  • It provides useful information for potential universities/colleges and future employers in making decisions regarding acceptance or hiring.
  • It gives useful information for school administrators, educational authorities in planning, adopting best practices and correcting mistakes.
  • It provides useful information in refining and improving curriculum, instructional tools and teaching methodologies, and the program as a whole.
  • Assessments can be used at different phases of learning:

Before instruction:

This is given at the beginning of study, prior to instruction, to determine what the students already know or not know about a topic, to know the students’ learning needs or to diagnose the students’ readiness, as well as to help the teachers determine what to teach  or where to start, and help the teachers plan and teach accordingly.

During instruction:

This is given all throughout the learning process to monitor the students’ progress in achieving targeted learning outcomes or to know whether the students are learning what they ought to be learning. Assessment during instruction also helps the students manage their own learning, and helps the teachers gauge if their instructional tools and teaching methods are aligned with the learning objectives and outcomes. It also helps the teachers differentiate their instruction according to the students’ individual needs, and determine next steps.

After instruction:

This is given at the end of study to determine the students’ mastery of the lesson, to measure whether the students are successful in meeting the learning objectives and in achieving the targeted learning outcomes.

  • Misalignments should be properly addressed. There must be careful planning in terms of setting the learning objectives and outcomes, choosing appropriate instructional materials and applying effective teaching methods, and using correct assessments to prevent misalignments.
  • If there are mismatches or poor alignment in any of the following components: learning objectives learning activities/instruction, learning outcomes and assessment, students may not be able to maximize learning, may not learn the intended learning outcome, may get poor grades, or perform poorly.
  • Well aligned learning objectives, curriculum/instruction, outcomes and assessment will yield many benefits that will enhance students’ overall learning.
  • Assignment #1 helped me deeply process the Assessment Cycle: to Plan, Do, Check and Act.

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What do I want my students to learn? (Set objectives.)

How do I help them meet objectives and achieve learning outcomes? (Use effective instructional materials/curriculum/teaching strategies.)

Are the outcomes being met? (Apply appropriate assessment tools.)

How do I use the lessons learned from assessment? (Refine instruction, redesign program to enhance learning.) Assessments are very important in the curriculum/instruction design.

  • The results of assessment help the teachers determine not only the grades, but also the areas of improvement in the teaching-learning process. The information can be useful for teachers and schools to refine what needs to be refined and improve what needs to be improved in the entire teaching-learning process.
  • Lastly, doing Assignment #1 made me think, how can I improve on my classroom assessment practices?

Accomplishing Assignment # 1 was taxing and hard, but it gave me valuable learning that I can use in growing to be the teacher that I want to be! 🙂

Reference:

Earl, L. & Katz, S. (2006). Section 2: Three Purposes of Assessment. [PDF] In Rethinking classroom assessment with purpose in mind. Retrieved fromhttp://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/wncp/section2.pdf

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