Realizations

My Final Journal Entry

What am I taking home from this course?
How have my views changed?
Have I been moved into action?

Now is the TIME!

“Education makes sense because women and men learn that through the learning they can make and remake themselves” – Paulo Freire

After this 10-week journey, I couldn’t imagine I can possibly write my final journal entry for this course. Who would have thought I will go this far. The first time I saw the course guide, I thought I can’t make it till the end. I don’t even know how to start with everything. I don’t know how to create an e-journal link using the WordPress. Writing a blog?! It’s not my forte. I don’t know how to express my thoughts and emotions in writing. Until Teacher Malou introduce her way on how a teacher and student will work in tandem. That is the essence of this course.

There are different reasons for continuing my education after how many years being outside the academy, working with no ending paper works and doing the routinely task in the company I am presently employed. All of a sudden God gave me a reason to pursue studies. I wanted to be secured in the future and be qualified for the position because employers now are looking for the most qualified candidates for the job. I wanted to improve my innate discipline and of course, I wanted to gain confidence. And then I enrolled here in UPOU to get units on Education. I wanted to teach.

Assessment is an interesting subject. This is different from the previous subjects I had in my college days. The assessment I know before is like the common types of the test that are usually given at the end of the lesson and grading period. Projects, oral recitation, quizzes, etc. What I have learned in the definition of Assessment here is that, in higher education it describes any processes that appraise an individual’s knowledge, understanding, abilities or skills acquired through active participation in a course. True to its name, The Principles and Methods of Assessment-delivers, identifies and justifies the methods that will work to every individual and most especially to the future educators.

In summary, this subject changed my views and perception about assessments. It enhanced my learning. All the learning and skills acquired are evidently transferable to the future generations.

Now is the time to overcome past setbacks and deliver. Now is the time to focus and applied what I have learned in this course and arrive at a consensus outcome for the incoming opportunities in my life.

Thank you to all of my classmates and group mates who also became my friends. Most of all, Thank you teacher Malou for having this opportunity to be your student and for guiding me in all aspects of learning. I know what I wrote here does not express too much emotions. Words are not so deep but, at least, I finally can write a blog. (ha-ha-ha!).

Again, I am extending my sincerest gratitude to all. God bless us always.

Realizations

Module 6 “Assessment Planning, Reporting and Feedback”

Do we need a change?

The time of assessment planning and reporting in school is a stressful time for most of the teacher whether they are old or new teachers. As a student, I experienced the struggle on accepting timely feedback from my instructor, so as with the teachers I guess. I do understand their efforts on providing effective assessment, reporting of grades and feedback. It is not that easy.

Looking and thinking at the challenges of reporting feedback and assessment in time, it is necessary to have professional strategies to incorporate into the teacher’s practice. Strategies such as follows up and maintaining communication, organizing the materials that’s been using, and planning and preparation for its success can be applied as a survival guide if ever an instructor may encounter such difficulty in giving timely feedback. Teachers must provide timely, effective and appropriate feedback to students about their achievement relative to the learning goals. As I have learned in this module that teachers should select from a range of tools to provide targeted feedback based on the student’s need. Using feedback effectively is critical to help student like me, in reaching my academic goal.

Rubrics for me, is still useful to allow students to be aware of what the teacher is looking for. Just what I have mentioned on the other activity, rubrics have also its benefits. First, it helps them assess the assignments consistently from student-to-student, thus can save time in grading both short-term and long-term. Second, it will clarify expectations and components of an assignment for students, give timely, effective feedback and promote student learning in a sustainable way. Lastly, an instructor’s teaching skills will be refined by evaluating rubric results.

Throughout the process of planning, reporting and feedback, I must say it posits everything in the process of teaching and assessment cycle from the start-up to the transfer of knowledge and in the interpretation of the results gathered. I’ve been thinking about how difficult it is to make big changes and try to transform this into something that makes sense. For me, there is no need for a change, instead redefining the use of assessment tools as much as possible.

Realizations

Module 5 – Traditional and Non-traditional Assessments

Study hard and get good grades!

“Study hard and get good grades and you will find a high-paying job with great benefits”  –            Robert Kiyosaki on Rich Dad, Poor Dad

As a kid, I am frequently told by my parents to study hard and get good grades. For all I know is for them to be proud of me, especially my father. So I grew up putting much attention in getting high ratings in examinations, quizzes, projects and everything to excel in my academics.

As a student, I have my own version of doing my reviewer in preparation for the upcoming test, exams, and tasks. I recall back then when I was in college, I used to write all the key pointers of what I have learned about the subject that might appear in the exam. That key pointer was written as an acronym for an easy memorization of definitions and terms. ( Remember the KISS? Keep It Short and Simple! ). Before the scheduled midterm or final examination, I make sure to create a reviewer written in a piece of yellow pad paper. That reviewer seems to be my best friend and my only hope to pass the test and get a high score in the test. In short, I rely on my reviewer.

Most of the time, I prefer taking the traditional kind of exam. I knew myself well because I usually tend to recall information from a subject-centered approach of teaching when I was studying in a traditional school setting. Most of the assessment formats used during my time include matching type, fill in the blanks, true or false, identifications, and the multiple-choice test. Sometimes there are subject that includes essay type of question; the kind of assessment format that threatens me. The reason why is because, I am an introvert person and I just don’t know how to express myself well in writing, especially using the English language. I had a difficulty in choosing the right words to say or write that best suits what I really wanted to convey. I am just thankful now that I am gradually adapting an adult learning through writing a reflection and insights like this, considering this is one kind of a non-traditional assessment. (Kudos to this subject!)

I found lessons in this module, which made me, realize that as a student I can use a higher order thinking skills, analyze, synthesize and apply what I have learned in a substantial manner just like an authentic assessment, performance or constructivists assessment that was termed also as non-traditional assessments: a broad range of innovative forms of assessment.

At the end of the day, a test should be just a test. It should not be something that makes or breaks a child’s future endeavor.

Realizations

Module 4 Classroom Assessment

LEARNING THROUGH REFLECTION

When I was still studying, I always put much attention to periodical exams especially when I was in elementary and High school. Aside from the periodical exam, there are short quizzes, oral or graded recitation, and projects. These are the common assessment formats I know that were used in school back then. My understanding of assessment in the past is different from what kind of approach I am currently experiencing now here in UP-Open University. Well, especially writing a blog is not my forte, but I found this as an effective way of learning by writing a reflections and insights of what I’ve learned.

Looking back, I remember how I religiously make reviewers for the upcoming examination. Memorizing many terms and definitions because getting high scores/grades will make me passed the grading period. It’s the same when I was in college. What makes it different is that, some instructor will exempt students to take final examination because the score obtained during midterm examination is probably enough to cover the grade for the whole course. How ironic isn’t it? Well this is some kind of a benefit for the student and a lesser work for teacher. It’s a different story. Though I love to be exempted to take the most difficult exam of the entire subject (talking about the final exam) Ha-ha! So what’s the point? Did I really learn? Or could have just stamped my classcard as Passed? As a learner, I would have approached learning through reflection.

In this module I’ve learned about the characterizing feature of Formal and Informal assessment as well as the Formative and Summative assessment. But I wonder why I have to look back on the previous discussion with regards to Formative and Summative assessment. Then I realized when I was reading, that the purpose of Formative assessment is to improve learning and achievement, thus Assessment FOR learning is what formative assessment purposely represents. As per previous discussion, Formative assessment is designed to assist the learning process by providing feedback to the learner, which can be used to identify strengths and weakness and hence improve future performance. Summative assessment, on the other hand, purposely represents Assessment OF learning. This assessment is used primarily to make decisions for grading or determine readiness for progression which is typically occurs at the end of an educational activity. With Informal assessment, the judgments are integrated with other tasks. Like for example, the lecturer feedback. This is less stressful to the students. However, informal feedback is prone to high subjectivity or bias. Formal Assessment occurs when the task is for assessment purposes. For example, written examination. That is why; most formal assessment is also summative in nature and tends to give greater motivation impact.

As a professional in an organization, particularly as personnel in the operations department of a Financial Institution (Stock market Broker: Investing), Evaluation is an important tool for improving management. Through organizational assessment – commonly known as evaluation – the effectiveness of an organization is measured in terms of its functioning, problems and achievements from both the behavioural and social system points of view. A clear understanding of the objectives and purpose of evaluation can provide the framework for assessment. Data can be collected through questionnaires, interviews, observation methods and focused group interviews just like quizzes, oral or graded recitation, midterm and final exams that are used in school. In an organization or corporate institution assessment phase includes the collection of information, analysis and interpretation of collected information and use of the information and analysis.

Whatever significant experiences we had in assessment, Formative or Summative, in either case, the score or grade is a marker of performance; each can be interpreted differently to serve either of the two purposes.

Sources:

Lawler, E.E., III, Nadler, D.A., & Cammann, C. (eds) 1980. Organizational Assessment. New York, NY: John Wiley.

http://pepstep571.wikispaces.com/file/view/Marzano+Formative+Assessment.pdf

Realizations

Module 3 ALIGNMENT: Weaving Assessment, Learning, and Instruction

Purposes of Assessment

For the most part in my past experience as a learner, I knew I was assessed using the two natures of assessment which are supplemented by the term; Assessment FOR learning and Assessment OF learning. A term Assessment is used to mean a set of actions undertaken by the teacher and student to gather information.

During my elementary days, at the beginning of the period, we were given a PRE-TEST. The score in this test is important for the teachers to determine at what level of knowledge we already have (and doesn’t have). This could also be the pre-requisite guide in planning what to teach in order to achieve learning objectives. With this experience, I have learned that the assessment FOR learning is used in making decisions that affect teaching and learning in the short-term future. The stage where this can be usefully considered in getting information for instruction is conducted before learning stage.

At the end of the last period, here comes the summative test. This is the time where the Assessment OF learning is for decisions regarding determination and assignment of grades. This also includes reporting on ways students are assessed, reporting and interpreting assessment results. The test usually happens on the last grading period where we were given a POST-TEST. This test is to measure and evaluate student learning at the end of periodical periods and compare against the score we got from the pre-test.

Assessment is essential in education to better appreciate the need to learn and understand assessment principles. Teachers need to take an active role in making decisions about the purpose of assessment and the content that is being assessed. They spend a lot of time doing assessment for students to be able to know not only the basic reading and arithmetic skill that will allow them to face a world that is continually changing. I have learned that students exert much effort when they are being assessed because it is needed to improve their learning. I am a living proof of it.

In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt I strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do – Dorothea Dix. I like this thought. I know I am learning every day. I believe that we are born to learn. But we learn in different ways through life experiences. In this module, I have learned that the primary purpose of assessment is to improve performance of a learner. This will become effective when it reflects the fact that learning is a complex process that is multi-dimensional, integrated and revealed in persons’ performance over time.

After studying this module, I found myself saying YES! I like to see myself changing my approach on assessment over time. I would like to have my own design of assessment in the future. And as a future educator, I want to educate not only the student’s minds, but their hearts as well through life experiences.

Alignment in Assessment

Why do I need to learn assessment and alignment?

In this module, I gained another knowledge that learning assessment is more than testing students and assigning grade. It is a system that provides feedback about student learning. Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is the approach in assessment that can be used to align course objectives, activities and assessment with each other.

Alignment is the connection between learning objectives, instructional activities and assessment as illustrated below:

learning-objectives

 

Proper alignment keeps the educator going in the right direction. If objectives, activities and assessment are not in alignment, consequences are:

  1. The course may be fragmented and ineffective.
  2. The students spend on activities that do not lead to intended goals.
  3. An educator may over-estimate or under-estimate the effectiveness of instruction
  4. The students received mixed messages about what they should learn.

We know that alignment is important and one way is to use a learning taxonomy, as what I’ve mention a while ago. To present you, the diagram shows below is the illustration of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

blooms-taxonomy

Here, we recognize the cognitive domains in Bloom’s pyramid, which illustrates that thinking occurs at different levels of complexity. This revised Bloom’s Taxonomy serves as a matrix with types and levels of knowledge and helps the teacher to plot a good combination of course objectives, planning instruction and choosing assessment.

Alignment may seem simple, but it is more difficult when activities are gradually happens along the way. Yes, it can be a challenge to choose what learning activities that effectively accomplish learning objectives. But what is more important is that the student have learned.

Sources:

http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/assessment/howto/basics/objectives.html

http://www.curriculum.org/k-12/en/projects/rethinking-classroom-assessment-with-purpose-in-mind

 Goldner, S. (2014).  Purposes of Classroom Assessment. [YouTube video].

Notes

Gathering Evidences, Components and the Assessment Cycle

Ways of gathering evidences<!–

How Cycle

  • Formative – those undertaken while student learning is taking place; the purpose or which is to improve teaching and learning; designed to capture students’ progress toward institution- or program-level outcomes based on criteria and standards of judgment
  • Summative – those obtained at the end of a course or program; the purpose of which is to document student learning for transcripts and for employers, donors, legislators, and other external audiences; designed to capture students’ achievement at the end of their program of study and their undergraduate or graduate education based on criteria and standards of judgment
  • Direct – evidence of student learning which is tangible, visible, self-explanatory; prompt students to represent or demonstrate their learning or produce work so that observers can assess how well students’ texts or responses fit institution- or program-level expectations
    • Example: performances, creations, results of research or exploration, interactions within group problem solving, or responses to questions or prompts
  • Indirect – evidence which provides signs that students are probably learning, but the evidence of exactly what they are learning is less clear and less convincing; capture students’ perceptions of their learning and the educational environment that supports that learning, such as access to and the quality of services, programs, or educational offerings that support their learning
    • Example: student satisfaction, alumni, and employer surveys
  • Objective – one that needs no professional judgment to score correctly (although interpretation of the scores requires professional judgment); examples: multiple-choice, true-false exams
  • Subjective – yield many possible answers of varying quality and require professional judgment to score
  • Traditional – the kinds of tests that have been around for decades; e.g., objective tests, ‘blue book’ essay questions, and oral examinations
  • Performance – ask students to demonstrate their skills rather than relate what they have learned through traditional tests; e.g., field experiences, laboratory and studio assignments, projects.  Also called authentic assessments when asking students to do a real-life task.  Have two components: (i) the assignment or prompt that tells students what is expected of them and (ii) a scoring guide or rubric used to evaluate completed work.
  • Embedded – program assessments which are embedded into course work
  • Add-on – assessments which are in addition to course requirements; e.g., assemble a portfolio, take a standardized test, participate in a survey
  • Local – created by faculty and/or staff
  • Published – those published by an organization external to the institution and used by several institutions
  • Quantitative – use structured, predetermined response options that can be summarized into meaningful numbers and analyzed statistically; place interpretative value on numbers; e.g., the number of right versus wrong answers
  • Qualitative – use flexible, naturalistic methods and are usually analyzed by looking for recurring patterns and themes; e.g., reflective writing, notes from interviews and focus groups; place interpretative value on the observer; e.g., observations of group interaction or an individual’s performance in a simulation

Components of Assessment

Steps which underlie the assessment of student learning:

  1. Develop learning objectives/outcomes
  2. Check for alignment between the curriculum and the objectives/outcomes
  3. Develop an assessment plan
  4. Collect assessment data
  5. Use results to improve the program
  6. Routinely examine the assessment process and correct, as needed

The Assessment Cycle

Assessment Cycle Promoting IE

    • Goals for learning – express intended results in general terms.  Used to describe broad learning concepts; e.g., clear communication, problem solving, and ethical awareness.
    • Objectives for learning – express intended results in precise terms.  Used to describe specific behaviors students should exhibit; e.g., “graduates in speech communication should be able to interpret non-verbal behavior and to support arguments with credible evidence”.

Outcomes Assessment Plan 

Student learning outcomes, should derive from the objectives which flow from the goals and mission of the program.  An Assessment Plan includes all these components and focuses on the assessment of each learning outcome and how the evaluation of the results of the assessment are used for program improvement

 

References:

http://assessment.uconn.edu/assessment-primer/assessment-primer-how-to-do-assessment/

http://assessment.uconn.edu/assessment-primer/assessment-primer-outcomes-assessment-components/

http://www.usf.edu/provost/documents/assessment/certificateprogram-programcomponents.pdf

http://www.usf.edu/provost/documents/assessment/certificateprogram-programcomponents.pdf

 

Realizations

Module 2: Frameworks for Assessment of Student Learning

The last time I wrote on my blog, I defined assessment as an evaluation method that are graded and measured with tools. In this module, I gained a broader understanding with regards to gathering evidences, components of assessment and the assessment cycle.

Sound evidence is a must to provide meaningful information to consider that the assessment is an effective one. As I was reading the ways of gathering evidence by UCONN, I realized that there are a lot of ways but not all were used to measure learning outcomes. By establishing learning objectives, choosing the right assessment tool is necessary. When you assess, you should select different assessment tools that fits the course program. There’s no such thing as “one size fits all”. This goes with ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve these outcomes.

I also learned about the different components that make up an assessment. In assessment of student learning, components serve as the building block that is required to complete or finish an activity or a course program. Components of student learning outcome consist of: Goal, Student Learning Outcome, Method of assessment, Performance targets, Assessment results and Use of assessment results.

assessmentplanflowdiagram_reduced-400x290

Figure 1 Components of student learning outcome

Student learning outcomes, should derive from the objectives which flow from the goals and mission of the program.  An Assessment Plan includes all these components and focuses on the assessment of each learning outcome and how the evaluation of the results of the assessment are used for program improvement.

After identifying the components here comes the cycle. Components are connected within a cyclical process and not in linear arrangement. Here, I understand that assessment should undergo in cyclical rather than linear progression. Why did I say that? It’s because it is repetitive with continuous improvement and development of a certain program. I also compare it with a spiral shaped or a wheel. In terms of how this is reflected in teaching and learning, it means that our learning will pass through same areas of study repeatedly over time.  Learning therefore is continually deeper with every cycle you are part of.

Similarly, what is learned as we cycle around the wheel of learning is what is there for us that time around.  We will come back to essentially the same lesson on the next cycle so there are no ‘beginner’s learnings’ or ‘advanced learnings’ as such.  There are the learnings you get this time, and there are the learnings you will spot next time, and there are some learnings it will do you well to face more than once.  If you keep going around the wheel long enough, you’ll see it all eventually.

I have been working for many years to help my family. I became their provider. After graduation I started working and haven’t been given a chance to pursue my studies. I graduated my bachelor in Business Administration and wanted to pursue it to master’s degree. But it didn’t happen. All because, what I wanted is to help my family, until I realized that I have something to do to make my future plans happen the way I wanted it to be. Good thing is, distance learning is a helpful tool to continue studies without going to school everyday and attend classes in a classroom setting. With this experience in life, I must say that I have improved something, that I had my own plan and action. I didn’t stay for what I believed before. There is always room for improvement. All you have to do is assess yourself and follow the cycle.

References:

http://assessment.uconn.edu/assessment-primer/assessment-primer-outcomes-assessment-components/

http://assessment.uconn.edu/assessment-primer/assessment-primer-how-to-do-assessment/