Decimal Review

Formative Assessments :
Throughout each of my lessons I constantly implemented formative assessment, whether it was visual, verbal, or handwritten. To gauge understanding I frequently asked students to "Put your thumbs up" or "Raise your hands" if they got the right answer on a worksheet we were going over or if they thought of the answer to the question before another student answered. This is a quick check that helps me to quickly assess students without unnecessarily taking away from instructional time and can be used effectively in math, reading, social studies, or science. When lining up to go to centers, lunch, or go to the buses at the end of the day I also like to ask quick review questions about a topic studied during the day. When we were learning mutiplication I would have students whisper multiplication facts and during our study of Famous Americans I asked quick questions ("Who was a lawyer?" "Who refused to give up her seat on the bus?"). These quick reviews were very efficient and helped pass the time as we waited to leave the classroom.

During math I tended to make quick check ups, like the one pictured to the right, for students to complete in their math journals. Students then came up to the board and passed the pen around to fill in the answers. These quick assessments were both graded and ungraded, but nevertheless enabled me to quickly gauge understanding, adjust my teaching to revisit areas of difficulty, or prepare students for summative assessments. In the case of the decimal-money-fraction chart, it was used at the end of a lesson to both gauge understanding and prepare students for a short graded assignment the following day (Competency 16).

Summative Assessments:
At the end of our social studies, science, and math units, a study guide was distributed and a unit test given to students in order to assess their understanding of lessons taught. At times students also took quizzes mid-way through a unit to gauge understanding. After students took each test or quiz, I then went over the entire assessment the following day in order to ensure that every student understands the correct answers giving students rapid and meaningful feedback. When returning assignments to students I made a point to say "Please do not talk with your neighbor about your score. You worked to get the score you received and therefore only you should be looking at your test to figure out if you perhaps made any mistakes or misunderstood something." I valued the importance of keeping scores confidential and encouraging students to work to their best potential. Going over a test is a crucial aspect to taking an assessment because it informs students that the role of an assessment is not only to gauge understanding but also to indicate areas of difficulty and assist students. Assessments gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my teaching and determine if I could have better addressed the material or rephrased a concept. It was through physically going over a test with the students that I could rephrase. reteach, and better understand the areas that they still didn't grasp.

For instance, when going over a fractions quiz, which the students did not do as well on, I discovered that comparing fractions was still very difficult for them. As a result, I retaught comparing fractions and gave a quick worksheet as morning work the following day to ensure that the students had understood the concept (Competency 17 & 18). The students then took a fraction test (avg. 84) the following week and their scores improved from the quiz (avg. 74) they had completed, proving to me that my reteaching and worksheet had helped students to better understand fractions (Competency 18). In another instance, I administered a quiz on Ancient Greece and analyzed the results to determine where and why students missed items. I quickly discovered that several students had confused "adaptations to the environment" with "physical or human characteristics" and I took the time to reteach the meaning of adaptations and characteristics when reviewing the quiz.

Juan Ponce de Leon Banner
s part of the Famous Americans unit students not only took a test but also created a project on a Famous American of their choice. They researched in books and online, created a timeline with six to eight events, and finally produced a banner with 3-D elements. Students then presented their projects in front of their classmates, giving them practice presenting and speaking in front of others (a skill that ought to be practiced early). The finished products and presentations were phenomenal and students were quite excited to share their hard work with their classmates (Competency 16).

Student presenting banner on George Washington

Before the start of each Science and Social Studies students filled out the before section in their district mandated interactive notes, in which they illustrated and wrote about their previous knowledge on the unit. After the unit the students then had the opportunity to write and illustrate about what they had learned from studying the unit. Here are two samples of the before and after section two students completed before and after our study of Ancient Greece (Competency 16 & 18).

At the end of a unit on poetry, the students in my class each published two poems to create a class poetry book. Students were excited to have their work compiled into a book that students would have the opportunity to read for years to come. To incorporate technology into the poem publishing I decided to make a powerpoint in which each child chose their favorite poem to read. The powerpoint therefore included one poem from each child with their voice recording. My cooperating teacher was very excited about the opportunity to incorporate technology into the poetry unit and the students in my class were even more motivated to write poems because the idea of recording their voices was quite novel and exciting to them. On another hand, the voice recording gave students much needed practice with public speaking and reading with expression. To the right is a voicethread version of the powerpoint for easy viewing on the web.

Assessment Creation Project:
As part of my assessment course, I created a summative assessment for the Social Studies unit of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome (Competency 16). To create the assessment I first analyzed the Curriculum Framework and Standards of Learning associated with Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. As I looked over the standards of learning I gained a deeper understanding of the content and cognitive level of each intended learning outcome. The intended learning outcomes were then mapped onto a table of specifications and select response and supply response test items were created to align with the table.

The assessment creation project fulfills the "Assessment and Evaluation" domain of the professional competencies, specifically Competency 16, which states "The William and Mary student teacher creates and selects appropriate assessments for learning". The unit test fulfills the aforementioned competency due to the fact that it is an assessment created for the 3rd grade students in my practicum placement. The test was created in an effort to increase validity and reliability, and reduce bias to ensure that the test measured student learning. It should be mentioned that the test will be accompanied by formative assessments during lessons, a research project, and smaller quiz to assess attainment of all intended learning outcomes for the unit.

As a whole, the assessment project truly helped me to gain a better understanding of assessment, both in terms of test creation and test administration. The skills I learned through writing supply response and select response test items will follow me throughout my teaching career as I create assessments and use these assessments to plan for instruction. With a firm grasp on concepts of validity and reliability I now have the skill set to ensure that a test measures what it purport to measure, samples the intended learning items appropriately, predicts achievement in later tests, and is free of systematic-error. I can be confident in saying that I have a strong understanding of the importance of assessment in the CIA (curriculum-assessment-instruction) triangle and owe much of this confidence to the assessment creation project.