- 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?
- As a student, what kind of assessment did you prefer to take? What types of assessment were/are threatening for you? Why?
- As a teacher (if you are), what kinds of assessment do you prefer to give? Why?
- What kinds of test do you perceive to be threatening to your students? What are your thoughts now about this situation?
As a student, I would prepare for assessment tasks basically by studying my notes. Sometimes I would read the textbook if I wanted to clarify something in my notes. If I could not find the answer in my textbook, I would ask my teacher. When I reached college, teachers were not as approachable. Thus, I would ask my classmates, and we would have study groups. We would share notes, explain concepts to one another, and eat snacks. The factors that influenced how I would prepare for an assessment were my class standing, the perceived difficulty of the exam, and the relative weight of the grade. I also later learned to focus on those concepts that I found difficult. In the past, I would study the entire coverage. But my friend had a point when she told me I didn’t have to review what I already knew I had mastered. I could spend my time more wisely by only studying what I was not confident with yet.
I preferred essay test questions. I am a big picture type of person, and I always found it hard to remember details. But I can always explain what is happening even if I don’t know the name of the person who said it, or what a particular protein is called. The types of assessment that were threatening to me were fill in the blanks and enumeration. I also liked groupwork and special projects because they allowed us to be creative.
As a teacher, I usually give multiple choice, true or false, short answer and essay questions for summative assessments. I think it is a good mix, and different cognitive levels can be assessed. I also like giving formative assessments via quizzes. I give quizzes every meeting so the students can gauge themselves before the long exams. I also enjoy having the students do an investigative project in groups, wherein the students follow the scientific method. They ask questions, formulate hypotheses, design experiments and interpret the results. This takes weeks to do, and the students learn much from it. It also integrates the lessons learned earlier in the class. I think this is a good alternative assessment.
Based on feedback from my students, the traditional summative assessments are most threatening. I think this is because there is so much at stake since it makes up a big part of their grades. I do think these summative assessments are necessary to demonstrate what the student has learned. However, I am considering the use of alternative assessments. I have not figured out exactly how to use alternative summative assessments in my lecture classes, but I am thinking about it. I just have to be creative to figure something out. Of course, this may also mean changing the format of my lecture.
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 did not realize there were so many ways of doing assessment. This module gave me so much to think about. The biggest insight I got from this module is that I have so many options in assessing my students! I was not familiar with more than half of the assessments tackled in this module. I also did not realize that I was already assessing students when I observe how they do field work, and that they had already been assessed when I give feedback on how they hold a particular piece of equipment. I am taking this module to heart. I am trying out the different assessments in my head to see what might work and how I can incorporate them into my lessons. Of course, I know I probably won’t be able to try them all, and that some will probably not be as applicable for my class. I will just take them one at a time, and keep those that work.