Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog # 4: Types of Assessment

When I think of assessment tools, formal assessments such as test are naturally the first to come to mind, however there are many more tools used for assessing young students. During my student teaching experience I was able to work with many of the different types and I was able to see which types of assessment worked best with certain types of students. Before learning about different assessment types I was filled with questions... what type of assessment should I use with my second graders? Should I focus more on informal or formal assessments? When do you start to correct your students? Is there ever a time when a teacher should not correct a student? What about using assessments over technology? So many questions filled my head about the topic. I was a tad overwhelmed to say the least.  Some of these questions seemed to have disappeared once I began teaching and they were not thought about again until reading Gail E. Tomkins’ Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product. In Chapter 4 of this book it discusses the many different ways to assess writing. 

I always conferenced with my students, it was one of the beginning, middle and ends points of our writing process. After reading Tomkins’ book I realized he describes many more types of conferences. According to Tomkins (2012) there was not just one type of conferencing to use with students. Tomkins talks about eight different types:  on the spot conferences, prewriting conferences, drafting conferences, revising conferences, editing conferences, instructional conferences, assessment conferences, and portfolio conferences. Each of these conferences have something special about them. Below are differences between each of them:
On the spot conferences are described as brief visits with the students to monitor different aspects of the writing process
Prewriting conferences are meeting between the teacher and student when planning a topic occurs.
Drafting conferences are for the students to address any trouble areas they find during the writing process
Revising conferences are for small groups to meet with an audience to get feedback on their writing 
Editing conferences are for students to work with teaching on any errors they might have such as spelling, punctuation or any other errors
Instructional conferences are for small group of students to work with they teacher on a topic they are struggling with
Assessment conferences this is for the students to meet about their growth as writers, this also is for students to set new goals for writing
Portfolio conferences is for students to meet with the teachers to look and pieces of writing found in their portfolio and discuss it with the teacher.  (p.84-85)

After reading about each of the types of conferences I was determined to incorporate more conferencing my future classroom. I feel that one on one time with a student is extremely helpful, the student feels more comfortable to share their writing and to try different types of writing when they do not feel threatened by a whole class sharing time. 

I feel it is important for a student to learn different self monitoring techniques, checklists being one of them. I have also used a checklist with my students, the checklist I provide for my student is much like the checklist found in Tomkins’ book in figure 4.3 (p. 88). I feel that it helps the students to slow down and to think about all the writing skills they sometimes over look, does the student have a period at the end of each sentence? What about a capital letter at the beginning of each? These are the skills the student knows how to do however often times are over looked because the student is rushing to get all of their thoughts down on the page. This checklist can also be used as a form of assessment for during writing. This will help the student to monitor themselves to ensure they are using their best quality of writing. 

The type of assessment that I used most in my classroom would be rubrics, I feel that a rubric can be used for really any grade, starting with first grade moving through college. In my case I used a rubric for my second graders. We used the common core standards for my school in Cleveland, because of that I followed a strict scope and sequence provided to me by the school district. This told me what needed to be taught and by what time of the year it needed to be done. This would help me organized my rubric. All of standards that were being assessed were put on the rubric, to get a score of five the student would need mastery of the skill being taught. By having the standards written down on the rubric it helped not only me to see if I reached my goal of teaching the skill to the students but also gave the parents some knowledge on what was being expected of their children on a certain assignment.  It really helped to see if all the objectives were met for a given subject.      

Tomkins, G. E. (2012). Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, INC.

1 comment:

  1. Ah-ha! This entry is illustrating what I was commenting on in your previous entries. You are on track here. The only thing I would suggest is that you try and tackle the questions you pose. For example, I'm still you have any additional thoughts now on "When do you start to correct your students? Is there ever a time when a teacher should not correct a student? What about using assessments over technology?"