Assessments in Grade 5 Elementary Education

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Assessments in Grade 5 Elementary Education by Mind Map: Assessments in Grade 5 Elementary Education

1. Diagnostic/Pre-Assessment

1.1. Purpose

1.1.1. To assess student ability prior to school-year, unit, or lesson in order to better inform differentiation of teaching and scaffolding of lessons.

1.1.2. Also used to assess students with special needs or abilities.

1.2. Advantages

1.2.1. Provides a baseline for  skills and abilities of a class.

1.2.2. Enables teachers to better assess progress. (If you don't know where you will you know how far you've come?)

1.3. Disadvantages

1.3.1. May lower expectations or  produce unfair biases for individual students

1.4. For or of Learning

1.4.1. For learning in that it enables teachers to build off prior knowledge and differentiate learning experiences and provides some contextual evidence of a student's ability.

1.5. Examples

1.5.1. Formal: Standardized testing for elementary. In my future school, we use the Terra Nova standardized tests.

1.5.2. Informal: A running reading record enables a teacher to select appropriate texts for grade 5 differentiated reading lessons.

2. Summative

2.1. Purpose

2.1.1. A cumulative and final assessment of a student's knowledge in an area.

2.1.2. A well-designed summative  assessment can indicate a student's  knowledge of the content, but also ask them to create, apply, and/or evaluate a topic according to that knowledge.

2.2. Advantages

2.2.1. Students may be extrinsically motivated by the results of a summative assessment, and therefore more likely to pay attention in class and take part in class activities ("What Are Summative Assessments? Pros, Cons, Examples", 2013)

2.2.2. A teacher can use the results of a summative assessment as a diagnostic indicator for future years and a way to assess their own success in instruction of content.

2.3. Example

2.3.1. A formal pencil and paper test as given to my 5th graders this year.

2.3.2. Homework can also be considered a summative assessment if it is graded and used to evaluate a students ability in an area.

2.4. For or Of Learning?

2.4.1. Summatives are the clearest example of an assessment that is of learning. They are generally final, unless a teacher chooses to use them as a formative assessment.

2.5. Disadvantages

2.5.1. Summative assessments do not reflect all of the evidence or qualities of learning, including "drive, grit, determination, problem-solving, communication, and leadership..." (Edutopia, 2010).

2.5.2. Many teachers argue that such pressure is put on them for their students to perform highly on testing, that they are forced to spend excessive amounts of time "teaching to test".

2.5.3. One could have, and some have, written pages and pages on the disadvantages of summative testing (or...excessive summative testing), but I will stick with my main two points above and carry on.

2.6. High-Stakes

2.6.1. Purpose High-stakes assessments are often used by governing bodies to gauge the readiness of students for higher education or specific programs. In lower levels of K-12 education, they are used to check the quality of an individual school, district, or state's educational system and teachers.

2.6.2. Advantages For the time being, most forms of high-stakes assessments serve as the most objective measure of a learner progress. They can offer normative assessment results to indicate a student's, teacher's, or district's performance as compared to their relevant peers or associates. High-stakes assessments may serve as a motivator for students as they progress to higher levels of achievement, and for this may improve their success in class, at least for the duration of the study period.

2.6.3. Disadvantages The objectivity of these tests is debatable. Many critics cite racial bias. Also, many districts are working with relatively limited resources, and often struggle to keep their standards at or above "the norm." These traditional, generally multiple choice tests appeal to a more verbal learner, and do not effectively demonstrate the relative ability in other intelligences. There is often a disproportionate amount of resources or class time allocated for preparation of such tests, while opportunities for innovative lessons and alternative assessments fall by the wayside. The intense pressure might be too much for individuals to handle, resulting in poor performance that does not reflect true ability, or in severe cases, psychological breakdown or trauma.

2.6.4. Example My 5th grade students will take the Terra Nova achievement test here in Vietnam next year. Where the results of these tests do not hold the same gravity for the school or individual students as they might in the States, students will need to be clued in on common language used in the testing and class time will be spent on explaining the test and its uses in order to adequately prepare students.

2.6.5. For or Of Learning? Both -- For learning in that they can be used as a diagnostic assessment to indicate the educational pathway for a student; Of learning in that they reflect the accumulation of skills and knowledge made up to that point.

3. Informal Assessments

3.1. Purpose

3.1.1. To ensure clarity of goal or objective. (Stenhouse Publishers, 2010)

3.1.2. To allow metacognitive recognition of  learning by the student.

3.1.3. To enable students and teachers to recognize gaps in knowledge or skill and revisit those areas for improved understanding or mastery.

3.2. Advantages

3.2.1. Allows teachers and students to adjust teaching or focus their learning, respectively, to better meet outcomes.

3.2.2. Allows students to view accomplishments  both objectively and subjectively with less pressure due to ability to revise work.

3.3. Disadvantages

3.3.1. Requires teachers to be more "on the ball" with how to effectively measure, record, and use assessment data in a timely manner with appropriate feedback.

3.3.2. Due to lack of relative "weight", students may  take less initiative with their product and therefore, teachers may not get an accurate result. (Weaver, 2016)

3.4. For or of Learning

3.4.1. For learning for reasons stated above. Unlike summative assessments, formative assessments are not the end-all, be-all of a student's learning. They are used by teachers and students to build learning to a higher level. Students do not receive grades for these, in general.

3.4.2. Examples for 5th Grade I would ask my students to write answers to a question on their mini-whiteboards and have them all show me at the same time to decide whether I needed to revisit certain aspects of the lesson. Students would be asked to write quizzes based on the content for their classmates. This would better inform me of their understanding of the topic and help me to cover missing areas or clarify misconceptions.

3.4.3. Self-Assessment Purpose Allows students to reflect on their understanding of concepts and ability with  skills. Students can rework their product or address gaps in their understanding according to the areas they identify. Teachers can see more clearly how  students are understanding a topic or skill area. Advantages Improves initiative by allowing students to identify and measure their own progress. Takes pressure off the teacher by allowing students to take more responsibility in their learning. Disadvantages Students may not understand the  nature of the exercise and misrepresent  their accomplishments or lack thereof. For or of Learning A self-assessment would allow a student to  reflect on their own progress and make help then adjust their focus as needed. Therefore, it is for learning. Example I would provide students with checklists and rubric handouts at the end of a project or a unit to help them revise their product or  further review for the unit summative tests.

3.5. Peer-Assessment

3.5.1. Purpose In accordance with research by leading developmental psychologists  such as Jerome Bruner and Lev Vygotsky,  some of the best learning takes place in a a social or collaborative situation. When a student takes time to reflect on their own thinking and compare it with that of their peers, they gain a better understanding of the world around them.

3.5.2. Advantages Students will be able to demonstrate  complete understanding of the task at hand and identify for themselves the requirements for it. Students are able to learn different perspectives on a familiar topic and consider or reconsider their own thinking or development in an area.

3.5.3. Disadvantages Students may hold biases toward one another which muddy the results of their assessment. The teacher will need to take extra time to lay down the ground rules for peer assessment and then adequately assess and give feedback on the results of the assessment.

3.5.4. For or Of Learning? Peer evaluations are purely meant to help students recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and therefore they are generally for learning. However, an instructor might include completion of a peer assessment in their rubric for a performance-based assessment, thereby making it an assessment of learning.

3.5.5. Examples A useful peer evaluation form that I used with my 5th grade students this year.

4. Authentic Assessments

4.1. Purpose

4.1.1. Authentic assessments are tests used to establish students' skills and knowledge through an authentic demonstration or application. Students are usually provided with rubrics to help them develop their product according to a set of standards. If one is looking at them from the perspective of Bloom's Taxonomy, they strive to reach the highest levels of learning, including creation and evaluation.

4.2. Performance-Based

4.2.1. Purpose Performance-based assessments focus on a particular skill or competency in an area. They ask students to demonstrate that skill or apply knowledge in a real world situation. They can be used to determine a student's ability in many areas, and for this reason, are generally graded according to a rubric composed of many areas of knowledge or skill. Performance-based assessments are generally used for group or individual projects or PBL units.

4.2.2. Advantages Because of their use in projects and real-world skills and applications, students are generally more engaged in the process and are able to demonstrate a breadth of intelligences as compared to more traditional paper and pencil test formats. Usually, a PBA will allow students to continually reflect on and have a clearer picture of their own strengths and weaknesses. Students often have more opportunity to revise and perfect their product.

4.2.3. Disadvantages Performance-based assessments require extensive and time-consuming planning and organization on the teacher's part. However, the time spent on appropriate planning will often replace time otherwise spent on tedious marking of homework and test papers.

4.2.4. For or of learning? PBAs might be considered an alternative to traditional summative unit tests. There are opportunities within, however, for teachers and students to formatively assess their learning, and therefore, can be used for learning.

4.2.5. Examples An example of a PBL Presentation rubric and example product used with my 5th graders. They were asked to address one of the human causes of climate change and suggest ways that their peers could adjust their behavior to help reverse climate change. One example product...

4.3. Portfolio

4.3.1. Purpose Portfolio assessments are used to create a comprehensive collection of student "artifacts" which demonstrate learning one one or many objectives. They are generally controlled, multimedia collections that might include document files, photos, video, digital products created by students, and progress reports. (Fernstein, 2009)

4.3.2. Advantages Portfolios are a holistic method of documenting student learning and achievement, and can demonstrate skills and intelligences in many forms. Portfolios may improve student engagement by allowing them to become more personally involved in the assessment process. They allow opportunities for reflection and revision, and help students identify their strengths and weaknesses through a different perspective. Student involvement in digital portfolios increases IT awareness and fluency.

4.3.3. Disadvantages Preparation and management of portfolios can be time-consuming and require heightened amounts of planning and organization. "Scoring portfolios involves the extensive use of subjective evaluation procedures such as rating scales and professional judgment, and this limits reliability." (Scherba de Valenzuela, 2002)

4.3.4. For or of Learning? Portfolios, like other forms of authentic assessment include opportunities for formative assessment (for learning), but in the end, serve as an assessment of learning.

4.3.5. Example Showcase Portfolios: demonstrate the best work on a topic or in a given subject over a period of time. Process Portfolios include evidence of growth over a period of time. They may include rough drafts, peer reviews, and personal reflections. Evaluation portfolios examine most outcomes and assessments, good or bad, of a unit or class over a period of time. They are used to create an objective view of a students cumulative progress. E-folios or Digital Portfolios could be any of the above where the documentation is available online. All definitions above from (Fernstein, 2009).

5. by Corie Sovereign M7U1A1 for Teach Now  September 2015 Cohort 2