Monday, May 4, 2009

Standardized Tests and Report Cards!

Standardized tests are a way for the state to assess what students should have learned. However, in my opinion too much emphasis is placed on these tests! I feel like teachers can't teach the way they want to teach because to prepare students for these standardized tests its like they are "teaching to the test." How students do on these tests are a reflection of how a teacher teaches and how effectively the school is ran, but does the state take into account that some students aren't good test takers and how the stress of a standardized test can make a student not perform to his/her potential? I think standardized tests are for convenience more then they are an effective assessment.

Report cards... Some students can't wait to get em.. and some dread them! I don't think report cards should come as a surprise to parents or students. If a student isn't doing well their parents should know way before the report comes out, as should the student. Thats my one problem with report cards! Report cards should reflect how well a student is doing in that particular subject, and if a student isn't doing well they shouldn't be expecting an A on their report cards, neither should their parents. Teachers needs to communicate with the parents ahead of time so that the student can work to improve their grade before its put on a report card. This requires some flexability but a teacher should always be willing to help their students succeed!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Perfect School!

I found this website while working on my final project for my Elem Cirr. night class. Don't you wish all schools were ran like this imaginary one??! I put it on here bc I liked what they said about assessment and how students assess themselves and their peers!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Test Formats!

Multiple choice or essay???

This is kind of a hard call to make! Tests need to be switched up so that they can meet the needs of the students. Some students are better at essays and some are better at multiple choice/matching/fill in the blank. It all depends on the subject being assessed. For example, if your testing a student on nouns and verbs, a multiple choice test with examples might be a better choice. But if you want to throw in other things and get more out of it, then an essay where the student has to identify the nouns and verbs may work better. It is important to know your students so you know what type of assessment will work best. No matter what the format of a test is, the most important thing is to make sure your assessing the students knowledge, NOT the test itself!


I think portfolios are great to have in every classroom. However, I have to agree that many times teachers make the mistake of picking out what goes in a students' portfolio. The students should definately be able to have the most say as to what goes into their individual portfolios. That way its a way for students to assess themselves at the same time and also allow students to be proud of their work. Portfolios are also a good way to track the progress that students make in a particular subject. For example, at the end of the year students can look back at their portfolios and see how much their writing and spelling has improved. They are also good to be periodically sent home so that the parents know what their children have been doing in school and what they chose for their portfolio. Teachers who keep portfolios for their students have to be organized and keep up with putting things in it, otherwise it becomes more of a hassle then a helpful tool!

Friday, March 6, 2009

One of students most hated words- HOMEWORK!!

When I was in elementary school, like many of my classmates I hated homework! Especially Math!! To me it felt like math worksheets with 50 of the same problems on them were just drills, and whether you understood it or not, it was going to be graded. However, I have learned over the years that homework is essential for teachers to assign. Students may understand the work when the teacher is guiding them, but the only real way to know if they understand it on their own is to let them practice it by themselves. Now whose to say that parents or older siblings aren't completing the work for them or giving them the answers, no one knows for sure. That's why the way homework is assessed and what it is counted as is just as important as assigning homework in the first place. When I become a teacher, I don't want homework to be a stressful chore that puts so much pressure on my students. Whatever is assigned for homework should be completed by everyone, however if a student understands something in class but is totally lost when they try it on their own I don't want them to get discouraged and think everything they learned in school doesn't count. Homework shouldn't count as a grade in my opinion. It should count towards participation but used more as an extension and helpful learning tool rather then a letter or number grade. Homework is a good way for teachers to see what the students need help on and if the lesson got through to them. This type of formative assessment is used for teachers to know where the students are in their learning before they move on to the next topic, as well as how the students are progressing and what they need to work on. Students should not be bombarded with homework on a daily basis. Often times when a student is given so much homework they either don't get to it all, or don't put as much effort in each assignment because they are trying to get it all done. Homework should be kept short enough so that students don't feel the need to rush through it. If used correctly, homework can be a great assessment tool for teachers as well as a great reinforcer for students!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Rubric- The word that used to make me cringe!!! Before taking Teaching Language Arts and learning about the amazing Rubistar, creating a rubric meant sitting at a blank Word document for hours with no clue how or where to start! I was never that familiar with rubrics. In High School and elementary school I seldom seen one. Sometimes I would hear teachers mention they were using a grading scale but had no idea what was on it. And the only professors that used rubrics were for my education courses, go figure! Rubrics are a great way to assess students fairly and show them exactly what you are looking for. I'm not sure about giving a 1st grader a rubric before an assignment, but for older grades handing out a rubric before a paper or presentation is due allows the students to know EXACTLY what you are looking for. It doesn't give them an easy push towards a better grade. In my opinion, what teachers don't want their students to get good grades?! Rubrics are great guides and very beneficial for everyone. Rubistar changed my whole opinion about rubrics, and while this is the first rubric that I am going to make using the website, it definately won't be my last!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fairness, Assessment and Learning Targets!

Fairness and Assessement and Learning Targets!

I'm a little late with this blog post but better late then never I suppose!! I strongly believe that fairness in assessment is the most crucial aspect of assessing a students performance. Teachers need to assess students based on their PERFORMANCE, not on anything else, such as gender, race, or even how they feel about that particular student. It wouldn't be right if a teacher favored a student and always looked past their mistakes but the student they don't favor gets judged even harder. Teachers should also be aware that students each have their own strengths and learn things differently, so if only one teaching style is used, it can hinder a student's performance. That is why teachers need to address the multiple intelligences while teaching, so that all students can work to their potential and be assessed fairly. Rubrics are a good way to assess fairly because the guidelines are the same for all students!

All teachers should have learning targets in the classroom. This lets the teacher set goals and outcomes for what they are about to teach. They should be used in all grade levels as well as subjects. If teachers just taught things with no idea what they expect the students to learn, it woudn't make any sense and would be a waste of time for everyone. Learning targets are a fgood way for teachers to let the students know what is expected of them and what they may need to work on.