ECS 410

Week 1

Week one if our ECS 410 course was a great introduction to our study of assessment. To begin, reflecting on the ways that assessment has played a part in my own learning experiences really brought into perspective the various ways that I have already engaged in the practice. My experience with assessment was very typical of what one sees in a high school setting. I wrote several tests and exams, which played a very big part in my assessment and determining my final grades. In addition to written exams, I also got to experience a few other ways that assessment takes place, such as project-based assessments. To this date, my favourite piece that I created as a final project in high school was a children’s story. This form of assessment was fun, engaging, and allowed for everyone to show off their various knowledge and skills. Also as a part of our assessment, we got to read the finished products to the grade two class, which gave us an established goal and drive. It was a fun alternative to mindlessly writing tests and receiving a numerical value.

On that note, we also discussed in class a news article titled “Regina schools get rid of letter grades, honour roll“. This particular concept of assessment is one that I am relatively familiar with as it was also instated when I was attending middle school several years ago. From the view of a student, I did not feel comfortable with the new way of assessing students progress because I had been so used to seeing that quantifying number on the top right hand corner. The “new” way of measuring progress was less definitive than a number, which confused me, especially when I was preparing to head into high school and was still seeing my older siblings receiving numbers rather than letters. Now, looking at it from the standpoint of a student-teacher, I am able to see the value of opening assessment up to being less about quantity and more about quality. By moving into an outcome-based reporting system, students are able to gauge their progress. It works less in a linear way and more in a cyclical sense. Students are able to keep coming back to the skill, working towards the goal of mastering the outcome. The important thing is that it focuses on the student’s learning rather than the ease of the teacher.

1 thought on “Week 1”

  1. Hey Kayci!
    I totally can relate to the assessment you experienced in your elementary and high school days. I also had to write a lot of tests and do a lot of projects. They seem to be the “go-to” forms of assessment – especially tests. I found that in most of the subjects, tests were the easiest way to see and gage student progress. Subjects like math and sciences are pretty stagnant in terms of assessment. I found that these subjects were hard to be progressive in the way of assessment, though I did have one positive experience where I got to do a number-based project/presentation in a math class, which was really interesting, fun and different from what I was used to experiencing in math.
    To go off of what you said about the new assessment/evaluation format – the switch from numbers to words or descriptions, I agree with what you said. I like that having descriptive words creates a sense of success through a qualitative lens as opposed to a quantitative one. I’ve always been someone who just looks at the number when receiving assignments back (partially because criticism scares me a bit) because that number tells me if I passed or how much of the content I actually grasped. It doesn’t tell me how I can improve, though. It simple tells me, for the most part, that I have room for improvement, and that I haven’t mastered the content 100%. In a way, I feel like the word-based evaluation and assessment works in the same way, but it is less specific. Students will know that they are grasping concepts, but will not know exactly how high their grade is. I see this as both a positive and negative thing. It’s positive because it starts to beat out the competitive “I did better than you” discourse. The word and letter format lets students know where they are at without putting a number to it. There is so much stress put on numbers and how high grades are that it puts a bit less pressure on students while having them still understand that they are successful and passing. It also lets them know that they need to put more effort into areas where they need to improve without them knowing that they are at a 55%, for example. On the other hand, it is also negative because what determines if someone is an A or a B student? It could come down to one percentage from someone mastering material to someone grasping the content. There is such a wide field as to what would be equivalent to a “B” that students (and their parents) might not know if they are just so grasping material or are very close to mastering it. I guess to solve this there would need to be solid communication between students, parents and teachers to ensure success. This might also make it difficult for students planning to go on to university and who need to put up certain number grades to get into university programs and faculties. So again, I think there are so major pros to the new grading system, but also some cons, but I do think strides are being made in terms of assessment and evaluation. It is interesting to how things have changed and what could change or be altered in the future to ensure student success.

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