Assessment, Evaluation, and Standardized Testing

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/canada-competes/how-do-finnish-kids-excel-without-rote-learning-and-standardized-testing/article11810188/

This article is extremely fitting to the Saskatchewan Education system, as more Standardized testing was announced a couple of months ago. 

This article raises a few good points about the competitiveness of students in schools. While competitiveness is human nature it is also something that is taught within our school system; a part of socialization. We as teachers promote this competitiveness by using assessment and evaluation in our classes; whether it be physical education or Language Arts. I believe that there will always be a competitive nature within our classrooms, but the way we approach assessment and evaluation can help reinvent the way our students collaborate with one another in the classroom.

In ECS 410: Assessment and Evaluation I learnt the importance of descriptive feedback on assignments. If students are only given a “grade” they look at it and say nothing more. If descriptive feedback is given students can use it to improve their skills. Using descriptive feedback is something that needs to be taught within the classroom. Think about it; when you get an assignment back what’s the first think you look at? I know I look at the grade, then the comments. By involving students in the assessment process they can become aware of the importance of descriptive feedback and use it to give themselves and others constructive feedback. I believe this is a healthy competitiveness that can be used to benefit our students. 

Secondly, I would like to talk about standardized assessment. This is something that we also talked about in my assessment class. Prior to post secondary education I hadn’t really thought much standardized testing, but after discussions and readings I came to realize that it doesn’t  benefit students. First of all teachers are spending enough of their time on assessment and evaluation practices. Standardized tests become the centre of education as teachers are teaching “to the test.” Teachers want their students to do well on these tests, so majority of our time is spent teaching the material that is going to be covered. Our education system is supposed to be more innovative, but with the use of standardized material students are missing out on a huge part of their education. After students write these tests the school is given results that rank them. I mentioned above how important descriptive feedback is, so without this how are we as teachers supposed to support the needs of our students?

As you’ve probably gathered I am against the notion of Standardized testing. This article talked about how students in Finland excel without the use of standardized testing. This is where I believe the inquiry process comes into place as well as the importance of documentation within schools. This way students become more interested as well as involved in their learning.

That’s it for now! 

Jenna  

 

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2 thoughts on “Assessment, Evaluation, and Standardized Testing

  1. Jenna,

    I absolutely agree with your statement: descriptive feedback should be given to students so they can utilize the comments and suggestions to improve their work. I also think that it’s important that we teach students how to use descriptive feedback in a positive manner. How do you think we can encourage students to do this? I think that the process makes students develop critical thinking skills and problem solving skills!

    Furthermore, standardized testing is not used in other countries because it isn’t of value to the students – not only are students ranked, they personally never receive any feedback, descriptive or evaluative. This wastes teachers and students valuable time because they cannot decide how to create goals to improve. Standardized testing often only incorporates one learning style: visual. Students who learn through kinesthetic, auditory, musical learning styles do not have any opportunity to show what they know because the testing only highlights one group of learners. We are taught to give choice to our students in the classroom, do you believe it’s beneficial to give students choices? Why or why not?

  2. Shandra,
    There are many ways in which we can encourage students to give descriptive feedback in a positive manner. If students were performing skits, plays, reading aloud, etc the class could give that student some descriptive feedback by telling them a few things they did well followed by statements that provide room for growth. This way students can feel good about what they have accomplished and they have room to grow if they were to do a similar project again.Teachers may call this sandwich scripts. If this is used by the teacher throughout the year the students should begin to pick up on it as well.

    Also, it is extremely important to give students choices. You’ve touched on multiple intelligences, which is why students should have choices. Some students may learn best visually while others may learn kinesthetically. If students are given choice they are more likely to be interested in what they are learning about, which increases their learning. This could also become an inquiry project, which you talked about in your blog. By giving students choice they become responsible individuals who are developing lifelong skills that can be used inside as well as outside of the classroom. These skills may include problem solving, independence, social, etc.

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