Assessment should be meaningful and authentic. It should not just exist as a way to create grades. The chapter argues that assessment should include four features. First students should feel comfortable with the assessment, it should be familiar to them and second chances should be provided. Secondly assessment should promote learning, and the content in which the assessment is based should be meaningful. Third students should have options and choices in how they show their successes. Finally students should receive enough time to successfully complete the assessment activity. The chapter also argues that teachers should use multiple types of assessment, make their expectations clear, and use rubrics.
I agree that approaching assessment in the ways that the chapter outlines would be beneficial to students. However, I did struggle with the chapter in some ways. The chapter focused on forms of assessment that would help Aboriginal students, and depicts Aboriginal students in a certain way. This is unfortunate because I feel that the purpose of the chapter was to challenge colonialism and system racism. There is a deep history of racism and colonialism within this country, and schools have been deeply embedded in this process.
I recently attended a lecture in which the speaker claimed that in many instances we have replaced the word race with the word culture. This was an issue with the chapter, assuming that a certain group of students is going to learn a specific way based on race, is wrong. Do not misunderstand me, I believe in respecting culture, and different ways of knowing, and many of our students will have different ways of knowing. People brought up in a certain cultural context may learn in certain ways that are traditional within that culture. However, just because a student has a certain cultural background does not mean that they have been raised in that culture, or learn best in that context. So it is not ok to assume that someone learns a certain way based on their race/culture.
Our reflection questions were “Reflect on your understanding of assessment. Why is it necessary? How can we ensure that assessment benefits students rather than penalizing them?
Assessment is necessary because we need to know where students are at with their learning, if they understand the material, are reaching outcomes, and if they are being successful learners. Assessment should be beneficial to students, it should show what they know, and where the holes in their knowledge are. If we can identify gaps in knowledge then we can attempt to fill them. Assessment, especially pre assessment lets teachers know what students already know and allows them to plan accordingly. If we only use one kind of assessment and never give students second chances, we only penalize them for what they have not learned, and they do not get rewarded for what they have learned. I liked the suggestions that the article made about assessment, second chances, and options; they are good recommendations that would be beneficial to all students not just one group of students.