Friday, March 27, 2015

Week 13 - Assessment & Evaluation

Starting last spring I started to go to after school sessions lead by our Secondary Assessment Resource Coordinator of our board around assessment in secondary schools. I have been (what many of us lovingly call ourselves) an assessment nerd for awhile now. In the spring of 2013 I did an online AQ through Queen's to develop a better understanding of student Assessment & Evaluation and have enjoyed discussing, learning, and developing student assessment practices ever since. It is a complex beast, worth a lot of our time and effort - it is the backbone of our everyday decisions and long term planning (or at least it should be).

Around the time I had planned to write this blog we had a positive climate day at our school that included a speaker for our students. In his presentation the speaker showed the students part of a children's book he had written that refers to education as a hegemony. It was a light bulb moment for me to have one word that can describe my feelings around the changes that education needs to make all of a sudden - I have always found it ironic that we reference education as preparing students for what comes next (this phrase is used at all grade and levels of education) and yet, we are not really equipped to do this in our changing world.

These early experiences with out A&E coordinator had a lot of discussion around triangulation of evidence and the fact that appearances in secondary education are that we are further behind in implementing growing success than our elementary counter parts (though perhaps this is just an appearance?). As it turned out a bunch of the teachers who had chosen to attend one of these sessions were math educators and we all had the same feeling - we all WANT to learn to triangulate evidence in our math class rooms but do not feel like we know HOW. From this session we requested a chance to create a working team to come up with some things to work from that we can hopefully spread and share with other colleagues. [At the time I planned to write this we had not gotten to a point where we had anything planned, but we now have meeting dates in place for a group of us to do just that with support from our A&E coordinator. These are planned for April and plan to blog about these experiences later.]

It is going to take some time and effort up front to make all of this work, but I am looking forward to continuing to explore these ideas with my peers and to trying new things. I have started to explore e-portfolios as a way to track student learning (and find this way more meaningful for report writing than just looking at a list of marks I have recorded as I can speak to specifics a lot more easily). I have started doing this on my own (which is time consuming) and plan to explore ways of getting students to do this for themselves and sharing it with me instead (next year).

More A&E blogs to come.

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