Evaluating Student Learning
Perspectives To Consider!!
There are numerous ways of evaluating student learning and every teacher has their own theories and methods.
Depending on the grade you teach and your students, student assessment is forever changing and that is a must.
But do you ever think about WHY you evaluate your students? If so, do you explain your reasons to your students?
One reason for student learning evaluation is to see how well they have learned a particular concept (but not to evaluate one against the other).
If you seriously consider using the perfect Bell curve, then I feel you have missed the point of teaching. Don't forget, you're a success, not a failure, if your students did well on a test.
When preparing the students for a (unit)test and they need to study, don't generalize; e.g. "What's on the test?" Everything in your notes(text) and what we talked about in class". It's important to be specific, comprehensive and helpful.
When assessing students, stress what students should learn and not what they need to know to pass a test. Your mission is to get students to work and learn.
Never assume that a student knows that they or their parents are in trouble academically. Take immediate action if failure is a possibility. It's your professional responsibility to inform and offer students and parents a plan for success.
If you tell your students, "If you work hard, you'll do well in class", then don't tell a hard working student that you only use test scores to determine their marks/grades. Your word must be good and honest.
Remember there's no correlation between how hard some students work and how well they do. Some work hard and fail, while others don't work that hard and do well. Incorporate everything that happens in class and keep your word when determining grades.
When evaluating student learning and preparing a test, remember the general rule - if you haven't taught it, don't test it - and be fair in the process. Don't have trick or surprise questions. If students have to think to understand the question, it's probably a bad question. Good test questions focus students' minds on answering a question, not on the question itself.
Even at the end of the school year, don't tell students that's it's too late to do well. Always keep the door open and the possibilities for studying and learning alive. If you don't, the last few weeks could be abnormally unproductive and behavioural problems can begin. By keeping the academic climate alive, you'll have a good ending to their year.
Hopefully this topic gives you food for thought and a better understanding and new direction for evaluating student learning.
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