Reflections on Frameworks for Assessment of Student Learning

For Module 2, we were given a number of possible reflection topics, which I wrote about below:

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?

I think teachers tend to give little regard to feedback. Students receive feedback in terms of test scores, but teachers generally do not know why the students scored as such. This is sad because students can learn so much about the process of learning if they are given feedback about it. This is particularly true in the earlier years when students are beginning to form study habits. It is not just about the process learning, however. Students also benefit from feedback about the actual material to be learned. Usually, when a student passes with a low score, the teacher does not bother finding out how the student could have gotten a higher score. Sometimes the student is also just happy to pass. In future classes, the attitudes remain the same for both the teacher and the student.

Especially in the college years, with which I am most familiar, teachers do not often use the results of exams to improve their lectures. Often, the mindset is that if the student does poorly, it means the student did not study well. It is not seen as a reflection of the teacher’s abilities to teach or the appropriateness of the assessment tool. Often, exams are recycled or taken from instructional materials. This is unfortunate, because classes could be so much more meaningful if teachers take to heart the results of assessments and use them to improve future lessons.

How do you perceive the way teachers commonly practice assessment–cyclical or linear-terminal?  Why do you say so?

Based on my reflection in the question above, I would have to say that I perceive that teachers commonly practice assessment in a linear-terminal way. I think this is true at the university level because teachers are very busy doing research and trying to get published in order to achieve tenure. Teaching abilities are not given as much importance as publishing and mentoring graduate students.

How do you feel about being assessed?  Do you believe that you need to be assessed; do you want to be assessed?   Is there a misalignment between your “needs” and “wants” about being assessed?  

I enjoy being assessed. I do believe that I need to be assessed. I think it lets me know whether or not I understood the material. I guess I don’t like being assessed when I don’t like the subject (i.e. it is a required course I would otherwise not sign up for) or when I feel the assessment is unfair (e.g. we study concepts and principles but the focus of the test is who said what and in what year. In other words, misaligned). When I get grades, I know that in general I deserve them. I get a high grade when I work hard, and a lower one when I did not put in as much effort.

Assessment also forces me to study. When I was still a full-time student, I was not likely to study materials unless there was an exam or a quiz. I was content with listening in class and being fascinated by what I learned. And if I forgot details, I could just look at my notes. But if there was an exam, I would really study the material and made sure I understood it. I would also visit my teacher during consultation hours in case I had any questions.

There is no misalignment between my “needs” and “wants” about being assessed. Because I recognize my “need” for assessment, I “want” it. I also like the feeling of having accomplished something. 🙂

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