Lessons from Assignment 2

What lessons did I learn from Assignment 2?  

Assignment 2 was my first-ever time to experience doing a group project solely online. At first, I was hesitant and even pondered asking Prof. Juachon if I could do the Assignment all by myself. I had always preferred doing school work by myself for several reasons:

1) I have experienced being a one-(wo)man group many times. Some of my groupmates from grade school, high school, and even college were, unfortunately, freeloaders and I have had to do twice or thrice the work just to keep up with the requirements in group projects.

2) On the fortunate occasions that some/all of my groupmates actually participate, I found it a bit unfair that we all received the same grade (whenever group grades alone are computed) even if some members contributed way more (or way less) than others.

3) It’s extremely difficult to meet up and plan a group project (especially in college) because of everyone’s commitments.

4) I have Type A Personality and simply prefer working by myself.

Despite my hesitation, however, I found the experience not as bad as I thought it would be and even learned several new things:

1) First, I learned that time is truly of the essence, especially in a group project involving students from different countries/timezones. It takes time to reply to each other’s ideas because of the time difference, so the earlier we can post our ideas and reply to our groupmates’ ideas, the better.

2) It’s important to take initiative. I was the first one to sign up for my group, yet my groupmate Irish (who was automatically assigned by Prof. Juachon into the group) was the first one to actually post her ideas. This led to my other groupmate (Priyanka) and myself (several days later) chiming in.

3) It’s good to delegate/divide tasks. We didn’t have a leader per se, but since both Irish and Priyanka were already discussing the ToS when I joined the conversation actively, and we didn’t have much time before the deadline of Phase 1, I took the role of reviewing what they already discussed and checking the outputs that they have created so far (which was lucky because I spotted that they committed several errors in terms of following instructions). I’m happy to have joined them because even though I was a bit late in sharing my own ideas for the first phase, at least I was able to help our group follow the instructions and together, we were all able to catch up for the next phases of the Assignment. 🙂

How would I like to have a similar experience in the future?  
     Will I want to do this again?  
     Shall I do something like it in a class that I (shall) teach?

To be brutally frank, it’s extremely challenging to conduct a group project entirely online. It takes too much time for ideas and feedback to be communicated, some meanings can be misunderstood unless very clearly elaborated, and the opportunities to comment on and refine outputs are quite limited. However, I want to experience doing other group projects like this which involve the actual application of what we learned in the course, provided that there’s ample time and that groupmates are as near (physically) to each other (making meet-ups possible) or as close to each other’s timezone as possible.

I’m thinking of doing something like this in a class that I’ll teach, but I would consider a lot of factors prior to doing so. If the class is online/distance education-based, probably not, but if it were a regular classroom, I would be eager to assign my students in a group and conduct an assessment that involves authentic application of knowledge such as what we had in Assignment 2. 🙂

To my groupmates, Priyanka and Irish, thank you so much for working/studying with me and I wish you all the best! 🙂

How meaningful have scores been?

Based on your personal experience, are scores able to effectively inform both teachers and students about learning progress in class?  Do teachers and students share common interpretations of scores? Or has it been a more common case that scores are mere numbers that are processed to fill in report cards?  

Based on my personal experiences and observations as well as true stories I heard from other people, scores are able to effectively inform both teachers and students about learning progress in class only around 50-75% of the time. The truth is that scores are more often used in our classrooms as summative assessment while its formative aspect is completely ignored. Most teachers teach and teach all throughout the course, inserting some forms of assessment every now and then, but focus more often than not on the end of the course assessment: the final exam. The problem with this is that a lot of students lull throughout the course but then pick up their pace and actually start reading only when the finals (or other high stakes assessment method) are fast approaching. The majority of students don’t devote much time or attention to learning but instead cram at the last minutes before assessments in order to get a decent score. For me, this is not learning at all. Based on everything I’ve learned so far, learning is a process and not a mere end goal. Assessment, likewise.

In addition, teachers and students often share different interpretations of scores. Without rubrics that are properly illustrated and explained to students, I think this aspect cannot be helped. Different people have different standards and interpretations. While for me, an 85% mark is low, my brothers, for instance, find this fine. But that’s where rubrics come in! With well-constructed rubrics, we can easily identify where we currently stand based on our scores. Our scores cease being mere numbers but are equated to clear, understandable qualities of criteria that helps us identify just how much and how well we are learning. 🙂

In the end, I think generally, many scores have become mere numbers that are filled in report cards. As I elaborated on in the Group Discussion page, creating, explaining, and implementing well-constructed rubrics as well as giving appropriate, timely feedback can help make scores more reflective of student learning, and assessment more meaningful in the long run.

Oh, and just to emphasize that grades are not as life-and-death a matter as some super-conservative, die-hard students/teachers/parents think, here’s a cute meme. 🙂

kumusta_grades

I’ll have to agree with her on that one. A loving family is way more important than grades. 😉

But wouldn’t our families love us even more if we brought home report cards flooded with As? 😉

 

Meme source:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B06mcRpCQAAuXRY.jpg:large

Influential Insights

What new insights emerged from this lesson? In what ways do I find the lessons in this module personally important? How have new ideas from this module influenced my personal views about how to do assessment?

I was astonished to find out in this module that there were SO MANY kinds (and methods) of assessments. I was surprised because in practice, only a few of them are being used, at least based on my experience: recitation, tests/quizzes, essays/papers, and final exams (mostly traditional assessments). I got excited upon learning new kinds of alternative assessments and its subcategory: performance-based assessments.

I personally enjoyed performance-based assessments a lot, so I’m looking forward to incorporating more of these types especially after finding out that these allow students to create a project that is either oral, written, or in group. These assessments allow students to demonstrate understanding of concept they learned, and allows teachers to assess them based on the process (rather than simply based on the product, which is often the case in traditional/summative assessments). Last but not the least, they are definitely more fun than traditional assessments! 🙂

The new ideas from this module made me realize how many options teachers have in assessing their students’ progress, which are unfortunately underutilized or ignored. I am looking forward to using more (and more effective) assessment methods in my teaching and to sharing my newly gained knowledge to other prospective teachers. 🙂

By improving the ways in which we assess students, we can hopefully also improve their learning progress and transform their often-negative views of assessments into positive, beneficial ones. 🙂 By doing so, we can prevent instances such as the one shown in the image at the beginning of this post. 😛

 

Reference:
http://audreymerrell.net/INTASC/INTASC8/Assessment/performancebasedassessment_files/pbassessment.html

Image inserted from:
https://queeniecaranto.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/ae75e-momentinmemecopy.jpg

Personal Preferences

Recall the different approaches that you, as a student, used to prepare for your tests, exams or other assessment tasks. What factors influenced how you chose to prepare for an upcoming assessment?

The vast majority of assessment tasks that I encountered from preschool up to now involve traditional types of assessments (recitation, tests/quizzes, essays/papers, and final exams). Very rarely did I encounter projects, and usually, these were limited to two at the most per subject.

To prepare for the former types of assessments, I compiled all my notes, reviewed all of them, and tried to memorize all the important terms/phrases or formulas (in the case of Math), since most of them rely simply on recall. I also reviewed corrected tests or papers to see which items I got wrong and worked on improving my understanding of those.

Sometime in high school, I read somewhere that pretending to be a teacher (‘teaching’ or ‘pretending to teach’ what you learned to another person, even an imaginary one) is an effective way of consolidating one’s learnings and establishing connections between gained knowledge, so I started doing that. At that time, I was also a volunteer catechists to public school students in my city, so I was able to practice sharing some of the things that I know to them, and I saw that, indeed, it is effective in helping me learn and remember more of what I already learned.

The major factor that influenced how I chose to prepare for upcoming assessments include the knowledge of the type of assessment method and the criteria in grading. I spent more time focusing on tasks that have higher stakes when it comes to my final grades. The time or deadline for each assessment also mattered. Finally, I spent more time and gave more attention to topics which I am having difficulty comprehending compared to those that I already understood.

As a student, what kind of assessment did you prefer to take? What types of assessment were/are threatening for you? Why?

As a student, I liked the following kinds of assessment the most:
– tests (especially Modified True or False and Identification types, the former because it’s challenging since it’s a bit tricky to identify the error and correct it)
– group projects (especially skits or plays because they’re fun to organize and deliver), and
– essays (because I have always enjoy writing and I am able to freely express my thoughts and learning through them).

Meanwhile, I found individual projects involving drawing/artwork extremely threatening because I have almost zero skills in the artistic department. 😦

 

As a teacher (if you are), what kinds of assessment do you prefer to give? Why?

I prefer to give a wide variety of assessments because I believe that each of them has limitations and also because I strongly believe in multiple intelligences and different learning styles. By allowing students to showcase their learning through written methods (tests, quizzes, essays, etc.), oral methods (recitation, group report, etc.), artistic methods (drawing, dance, song, skit, etc.), etc. in individual, partner, and group settings, I feel like I am able to get a more accurate perspective from which to assess their authentic learning. I also want to occasionally give my students the freedom in choosing which method they would like to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities (provided that I create standard rubrics for each type of method, for instance: my rubrics for assessing skits would be different from my rubrics in assessing essays and so on).

 

What kinds of test do you perceive to be threatening to your students? What are your thoughts now about this situation?

Ironically, I think traditional types of assessment that rely on too much data memorization and recall are the most threatening to students because most students have several subjects to tackle in every school year. They find it difficult to memorize too much information in each and every subject that it stresses out most of them. My future students would be relieved to know that although I plan to use traditional types of assessments, I also plan to incorporate more alternative types in order to more accurately gauge their progress without stressing them out even further. 🙂

 

Photos inserted from:

http://www.picsgag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/exam-meme-funny-reaction.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-sREY891NDrk/T4XirtKRMfI/AAAAAAAAAXE/ZqE_6KeO_PM/s1600/class.meme.jpg

http://www.gwern.net/images/spaced-repetition-scumbag-brain.png

Customize exams/tests as well as assessment for students

This post was inspired by my groupmate Raquel Magmanlac’s post

“I have encountered departmental exams. All classes that were taking the subject took the same exam, even though they have different teachers. Our teacher thought that it will be unfair for the students. He said that every teacher has different approach even if they were discussing the same subject. Some teachers might have spent longer time on a certain topic while others might have not.”

I highly commend Raquel’s former teacher (who, sadly, resigned after giving their class a different exam). I agree with him, though. Every teacher has his/her own unique teaching style and will definitely tackle each lesson differently. That is why, like Raquel’s former teacher, I think departmental exams may be a bit unfair and inaccurate in assessing students from different classes.

As a teacher, I adapt my lessons based on my students. If I’m teaching a set of students who easily understood the lesson, then I might do higher-level activities beyond what I originally planned. On the other hand, if my students are having a difficult time catching up with the lesson, I wouldn’t stick to the lesson plan just because it’s already written.

I believe that it is important for us teachers to customize our lessons as well as our assessment based on our students. We should remember that the ultimate goal of teaching is for our students to learn, and not just for the lesson plan to be followed.

QUIZ 1 Embedded Issues

There are “issues” intentionally embedded in Quiz 1. I am happy to note that some of you recognized these (salutes). In case you haven’t noticed anything rather “out of order”, please reflect on the quiz again and consider the following:

You are allowed unlimited attempts on the quiz; on top of that, you are allowed to do the quiz again after the review button has shown you the correct answers. How did you use these features to serve your interest?

It is not uncommon for poorly crafted test items to appear in non-standardized tests. Did you recognize the item in the first section of the quiz that is problematic? (See the question about criterion-referenced assessment.) What are the problems with that item? If you sensed that there seems to be something awry, how did you deal with it?

Given that these were intentional, why do you think would your instructor design the quiz that way? How could doing so possible serve the interest of learning, if at all? Is this a trick?

 

I took the quiz five times. I was certain of all my answers in the first part (although the first question confused me because of the ’NOT’ part @___@), but I had two or more possible answers for several items in the second part. That is why when I got only 9/15 in my 1st attempt, I changed my answers for items that have multiple possible answers (in my opinion) on my 2nd attempt, but alas, I still got 9/15 even after changing some answers! 😛

When I noticed the REVIEW button, I thought it was a technical glitch, that it was not supposed to appear (or at least, not right after the 1st attempt). I’ve never cheated on any test, so I did not use the given answers in the Review (that is, I used my best answers) until after my 4th attempt. When I noticed that my score went even lower compared to my third attempt, I re-read the instruction (“Unlimited attempts allowed.”) and decided that the Review button is intentionally placed there by our professor for a reason, and that I should use it, so I finally did, and I got a 93% on my 5th attempt (which I totally don’t deserve :P).

To be honest, I am not 100% confident about how I can properly distinguish between the taxonomies. For instance, the answer to ‘Identify alternative solutions to the Metro Manila traffic and offer your recommendations’ is supposed to be Evaluation. However, based on the taxonomy table (http://assessment.uconn.edu/docs/LearningTaxonomy_Cognitive.pdf), I think Application and Synthesis are also possible answers… What made Evaluation the correct/best answer? Is simply looking at the verb and matching it to the right level enough to know its correct level? What about verbs that appear in several levels? I understand the general differences and progression in thinking skills for each hierarchy level, but I am honestly confused because some items seem to fall into several levels. @___@

As for the problematic part of the test, the correct answer should be this: “compare students’ performance with previously defined standards” instead of “encourage performance competition among students”. I was certain that it was the correct answer, but for some reason, I kept being told by the website that my answer was wrong. So after my fourth attempt, I checked my notes to really, REALLY confirm if it’s correct, and after I’ve confirmed it, I sent our professor a private message to point it out, as well as links to references that back up my answer. Actually, I was a bit afraid “na mapahiya” that’s why I made sure that the references backed up my answers. I was also afraid that I might seem arrogant to question the correctness of the test, but luckily my past experiences in life taught me that, just like us, teachers are humans and can make mistakes, and that the best teachers are not the ones who act perfect, omnipotent, and omniscient but those who admit their mistakes and are open to learning from their students instead of it just being a one-way learning street (from teacher to student). I definitely have made mistakes and learned a lot from my students. In this case, though, it was not a mistake but actually intentional and was actually some sort of test in itself. 😛 So in the end, I was relieved to receive our professor’s reply that, indeed, that mistake was intentional. Saka lang ako nakahinga nang maluwag. 😛

I think our professor included that Joker in our quiz to test whether we would really use what we learned and can support it, or if we would simply accept what the website says is the correct answer even if somewhere in the back of our minds, we have an inkling that something’s not right. This is important in learning because learning is supposed to be a ‘collaborative effort’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7QuQpMStS4). We are supposed to become ‘independent, autonomous learners’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7QuQpMStS4), which means that we should be able to think for ourselves based on all the evidence/knowledge that we gained and not merely accept information passively without checking/confirming with our certain, prior knowledge. We should not be blind learners who merely swallow information without inspecting its intrinsic truth or value.

 

References:

http://assessment.uconn.edu/docs/LearningTaxonomy_Cognitive.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7QuQpMStS4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7QuQpMStS4

Component of Little Regard

What component (aspect) of assessment do teachers tend to give little regard to? Why does this happen? Is the consequence of the apparent disregard significant?

What aspect of assessment may teachers not bother too much about? Why do you say so?

 

In my opinion, most teachers here in the Philippines tend to give little regard to the final component of assessment: the ‘Act’ or ‘Revision’ part (or ‘Discussing and Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning’). At the same time, I think they bother too much on the ‘Do’ or ‘Implementation’ part (‘Creating Experiences Leading to Outcomes’).

I have had the opportunity to witness teachers create extensive lesson plans (that include almost a dozen objectives or so and tons of activities/exercises to go along with them) as well as eagerly discuss them with co-teachers and administration. I also observed how they tried to implement too many learning activities and conducted all sorts of assessment tools throughout the course of the term. Most of the time, the hour allotted to each class is not enough to finish everything that the teacher planned to do, leaving the students stressed (to catch up with all the tasks to do) or late for their next class.

Despite all of these, I rarely notice any change at all in our classes after teachers conducted assessment. It seems that most teachers consider grades from assessment tools as the be-all and end-all of learning. They seem to think that teaching leads to learning and learning leads to grading, and that’s the end of it. In elementary and high school, there are four quarters, all taught by one teacher. Most teachers, after the first quarter’s final exam, move on to the second quarter without making any visible adjustment in their teaching style. I’m certain that if they paid attention to the summative assessments’ results, they can note some important things, like which students are having difficulty learning, which topics seem more complicated and need more attention or review, which activities/testing methods students enjoy or do well at, and so on. However, it seems that most teachers don’t use that knowledge at all to improve teaching and learning.

I think the consequences of this can be significant. We learned from Module 1 that ‘Assessment involves the use of empirical data on student learning to refine programs and improve student learning.’ If we have the data but we don’t use it to improve our teaching, then it would be almost impossible for us to improve student learning. Without improving student learning, we wouldn’t be the most effective teachers. We can’t help our students learn the most they can and tap into their highest potentials.

 

References:
http://www.westminster.edu/acad/oaac/define.cfm

http://www.westminster.edu/acad/oaac/cycle.cfm

How to Get the Most Out of Studying :)

My most important learnings from this video series (hope you also pick up a thing or two ^___^):
Stephen Chew (Psychology Professor, Samford University): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH95h36NChI&list=PL85708E6EA236E3DB&index=1

How people learn (levels of processing):
> shallow processing = (meaningless aspects of info) memorizing definitions, mindless re-reading
> DEEP processing = subjective meaning (relate to prior knowledge/make info personally meaningful) —> better recall and effective learning:
1) Elaboration = How does this relate to other concepts?
2) Distinctiveness = How is this different from other concepts?
3) Personal = How can I relate this to my personal experience?
4) Appropriate to Retrieval and Application = How am I expected to use or apply this concept?
– Ask questions (not just facts: compare contrast, analyze, make connections, think of implications, generate examples)
– Use concept maps.
– Practice retrieving info in way teacher expects (w/out referring to notes & as teacher expects [facts? concepts?])

Most important in successful learning: what you think about while studying
(other factors: intention & desire to learn, attention to material, learning in preferred learning style, time spent)

important: meaningful connections, comprehension, visual imagery

orienting tasks = cause us to think in deep or shallow ways

Automaticity = highly practiced so it occurs without conscious effort (e.g., study skills)

Overlearning = study over and over -> to recall it quickly & easily

Group study:
1) set goal & agenda
2) set criteria for participation
3) keep ultimate goal of learning in mind
4) everyone can ask/answer
5) any member can express group understanding

After doing bad at an exam:
1) examine how you prepared (be honest)
2) review exam (compare errors with notes)
3) talk with prof
4) examine your study habits.
5) develop a plan.

other tips/info:
– note-taking (avoid borrowing notes!) = acts as key summary, memory cues, engages you in class
– get missed info ASAP
– consider recording lecture
– actively organise & review
– Don’t highlight complete passages.
– Learning is slow, effortful. Go back and review.
– Faculty are not your enemy. 😛
– Don’t waste points. (Follow instructions.)
– Don’t neglect other subjects for the sake of others.
– study behavior = based on beliefs on how we best learn
– Learning requires concentration & effort.
– Learning is NOT fast
– Knowledge is NOT composed of isolated facts
– Being good at a subject is NOT inborn talent
– Multi-tasking is bad and does NOT work
– weakest students = most overconfident (poor metacognition)
– Write it down, explain it to a friend, etc.

– Overcome automatic high school skills.

The value of assessments in my grade school / high school classes

How useful (how meaningful) had assessments been in my grade school / high school classes. What does this tell me about the value of teachers’ understanding about assessment activities?

From as far back as I could remember, up to most of high school, it seemed to me that grades were the most important aspect of going to school. Everywhere all around us, people quoted how getting high grades leads to getting a good job, which ultimately means a great future, a wonderful life. My father is an OFW in Saudi with a contractual job, and my mother is a plain housewife, and they have four children to send to school, so I felt the importance of going to school and getting good grades even more. I was an average student at first. I didn’t care about getting Excellent grades (92-100) — Satisfactory (82-87) or Very Satisfactory (88-91) ones were perfectly fine — but when I was in Grade 5, I experienced being the Top 1 of my class. The special thing about it was my homeroom adviser (a young, kind woman fresh out of U.P.) did something that other teachers never did before (at least, in our school). She printed out the names of the Top 10 students of our section in big, colorful fonts and posted it on the bulletin board at the back of the room. I was surprised when I saw my name on the top of the list for the First Quarter, because I just studied without really paying attention to my grades. I discovered how wonderful it feels to be recognized in school. I became conscious of my grades. I started spending more time studying. I wanted to see my name there again. You know what’s surprising: for the next three Quarters, my name was never in the Top 1 again. My mother said that it might be because my classmates became more motivated (than me) to get to that spot, since I still got shuffled around within the Top 10 list, even if my own average stayed mostly the same or went up. But personally, I think it might also have to do with my conscious effort to get the highest grades. When I didn’t focus on my grades, I did really well (surprisingly, better than everyone else), but when I made it the focus of my studies, the result was not as good.

All other teachers I had after Grade 5 never did that sort of thing, but in high school, on the first day of each new Quarter, after the flag ceremony and morning prayers, the list of honor students were announced in the P.A., starting from the bottom of the list to the top of the batch. To be honest, I became a bit of a naughty student in high school (I got addicted to animes and pop bands). I rarely studied, so the first time that I heard my name in the P.A., it seemed that I was as shocked as my classmates who clapped and cheered for me. After that, I studied harder to keep hearing my name on the P.A. every quarter. I also collected the Merit Certificates that the school gives to honor students and regularly look at them for inspiration. Because of that motivation as well as the knowledge that high school grades (especially in third and fourth years) are crucial when applying for colleges, I was able to manage to graduate within the Top 10 of my batch, and (thank God) got accepted to both U.P. and Ateneo. Unfortunately, though, I did not graduate with Special Honors. I had the highest grade in English in my batch, but because my first year English grade was not as high as my second, third, and fourth year ones (there was a minimum consistent grade requirement to get a Special Honor), they gave the Best in English award to someone else. My homeroom adviser and English teacher personally talked and apologized to me (even if it’s not their fault at all), saying that’s how the system is.

One more thing: I never understood fully well how the grading system words. It’s standard for most subjects (Final Exam, Quizzes, Report/Group Report, Recitation). Teachers return the results of the exams, quizzes, and reports, so we can more or less tell how well we’re doing. The odd thing is that there were times when I got excellent grades in all/most of those, so I recite as much as I can in order to get the perfect score in Recitation, but still the highest grade I ever got was 96. According to hearsay, that is the highest possible final grade in my school, and getting 100 is impossible. This is not the case in my older brother’s school. He usually gets several 100 final grades every quarter. I couldn’t understand why different schools have different ceiling grades… In my opinion, it made things more confusing. I also felt that it’s unfair for graduating students from schools which have a low ceiling grade to be compared alongside students from other schools who are applying to the same university. I wondered whether universities/colleges knew that 100 in one school is equivalent to 96 or 94 in another? Isn’t it unfair that some students might be regarded as less competent simply because their grading system is more stringent than others?

All in all, assessments have been useful to me in my grade school and high school classes because their output motivated me to strive harder. Particularly in terms of grades, it was useful to have a quantifiable basis in terms of comparing my previous performance with my current one. However, I think that most teachers’ understanding (and even students’ and school administrations’ in general) about assessment was limited mostly just to grades. Like I experienced, even at times when I put in more effort, my efforts didn’t necessarily translate to higher grades. In addition, I think there is a lot of discrepancy in terms of using assessment in different schools (and sometimes, in different subjects based on the teacher), something that might affect not just the students’ grades and motivation but also their self-esteem, since most students compare themselves to their peers. I believe that there exists inaccuracy in terms of the real value assigned to assessment instruments in depicting students’ learning progress, and that there’s a lot of room for assessment improvement.

My thoughts about “Principles and Methods of Assessment”

May I suggest that you post an initial entry to personally welcome your visitors to the site?  Your thoughts and expectations about the course, initial impressions and your personal learning goals will be an interesting initial entry.  

 

Hello, everyone! ^_____^

Thank you for visiting my EDS113 eJournal.

EDS 113 is Principles and Methods of Assessment. To be honest, of all the courses I’ve taken, this is the most serious-sounding course title (compare that to The Psychology of Reading, Introduction to Special Education, etc.). But I have to remind myself of one of my favorite lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

A course title is merely that, a title, a name. 🙂

So what do I expect about this course? For one, all the UPOU courses I’ve taken so far seem to deal with either the backbone of instruction (i.e., Philippine Educational System) or specific educational niches (i.e., Introduction to Special Education, Basic Guidance, Second Language Teaching, The Psychology of Reading). However, in my opinion, this course is essential and special because it focuses on the outcome of education, the essence of learning itself. After all, what’s the point of learning all of the past courses if there’s no way to gauge my students’ learning? It would be disconcerting to teach without any way of knowing if my students had learned anything at all.

That is why I believe that this course is crucial for all teachers and would-(hopefully)-be-licensed teachers like myself. Through this course, I hope to learn the most appropriate way to assess my future students’ progress and to evaluate my own effectiveness as a teacher, as well. Like most (if not all) of us enrolled in this course, I had been a student for at least 18 years of my life. And in all of those years, I had my fair share of grades, teachers, and grading systems — grades that ranged from Excellent As to an almost-flunking D (advanced Math in college… Never an F in my life, though, thank God), teachers that ranged from Professor Dumbledore to Professor McGonagall to Professor Snape to Professor Lockhart to Professor Umbridge to Hagrid (if you read Harry Potter, you’ll understand), and grading systems that ranged from those that are extremely fair and shockingly lenient down to those that are dubiously unfair and offensively biased.

As an aspiring licensed teacher, I am extremely keen in learning how I can fairly and accurately assess my students. I had been a student myself and I had felt at some times that I wasn’t fairly or accurately graded. I don’t want my future students to feel what I felt. I want them to know exactly just how well (or badly) they progressed, how much (or little) knowledge they gained, and how much better (hopefully, not worse) their lives will be after taking that subject. More importantly, I want them to be graded not merely based on how well they recited off memorized data, formulas, or numbers (which a lot of subjects/courses devote way too much value on, I believe) but on how much they genuinely gained from the schoolyear, not just in terms of theories and facts but also on wisdom and personal insights.

Ultimately, I want my future students to be graded not merely based on how much they absorbed, but more importantly, based on how much they can give back,in their future jobs, to all the people they’ll interact with, to society.

And to achieve this personal teaching goal, I am very eager to start learning the Principles and Methods of Assessment.

 

Here’s to a fairer and more accurate world (starting with our school system),

Queenie