When we as teachers thought about assessment, some words that came to mind were quizzes, incoming marks, grades, learning outcomes, formative assessment, summative assessment, showing what you know, summary of learning, and testing knowledge. All of these words are descriptors of assessment. However, there are many ways in which assessment can be used in our classrooms depending on our individual students, our teaching styles, our lessons etc.
Pre-assessment is a way teachers can determine prior knowledge, with the use of pre-assessment we are able to determine what our students know, what they would like to know, and what direction to take. Pre-assessment allows us to help focus our lesson and help plans to the individual needs of our students and provide opportunities for them to be successful. Some forms of pre-assessment suggested this week by the group were google forms and survey monkey. I not had the opportunity to use these types of pre-assessment tools, however, I would be interested in investigating them further in the future.
This week our group suggested that a formative assessment is most helpful when it happens in real time. It was recommended that technology is one way of providing teachers with instant results. As a specialist teacher, I often don’t get to work in the classrooms with students as I spend most of my time in the gymnasium. However, this year I am teaching a grade 6/7 science class which has been a real eye-opener for me in regards to the reading/writing level of our students. I had a conversation with their classroom teacher expressing my concerns with a few students in this science class that have trouble putting their words onto paper. She suggested I use voice to text on Google. I haven’t had the opportunity to try out this feature in Google but I have heard positive reviews from other teachers who have been using it throughout the year with their individual students.
Summative assessment can be a good method of testing what students know or what they have learned about in a specific unit. It does not necessarily have to be done with the use of testing or a midterm; students have the flexibility to show what they have learned throughout a unit by completing a project and by using technology as a way of representing what they know/learned etc.
Technology has become a huge part of our everyday lives and as a physical education teacher I see both the positive and negative impacts technology has had on the students in my classroom. I am guilty of not using technology in my physical education classes, however, I know there will be a point where I need to move in the direction of incorporating technology into my daily lessons with my students. I want to teach my students how to use technology in a way they will benefit and improve their health and fitness rather than do the opposite. SPARK has been a fabulous resource for many elementary teachers teaching their own phys ed classes who do not have a physical education background. Like many people who teach physical education we deal with many challenges, one of them being a lack of equipment. If we can incorporate technology into our teaching, learning and assessing, I think we will connect with our students on another level.
SPARK has suggestions on how we can incorporate technology and ways that we can perform assessments using technology in our classrooms. Some ways I would be interested in incorporating assessment that is related to technology into my classroom is using pedometers, heart rate monitors, health tracking, various apps, video resources and games. All of these ideas and suggestions come from the SPARK resource that is provided to all schools within the Regina Public School System. Addressing the individual needs of each student is essential in all academic areas including physical education. It is understandable that not all students are as active as one another, therefore, by setting goals and finding ways to achieve these individual goals can be essential to the successful in physical education. With the use of pedometers we could set individual goals, we would be able to measure steps throughout a variety of tasks, both in and out of school. Educators need to be mindful of when using pedometers we need to be aware that heart rates vary among children with different abilities and activity levels. It is essential that we take this into consideration when doing our planning.
Heart rate monitors are another way we can individualize and customize goals to meet the individual needs of our students. Through the use of heart rate monitors we could measure individual student’s pulses’ while participating in physical activities. The use of heart rate monitors would challenge students to achieve a obtainable goal. Students can feel involved in the process and are left with the encouragement to participate in movement activities. Using this type of technology in our classrooms allows us to provide instant feedback and allows students to change or adjust their goals as they feel necessary.
Various apps that are accessible through IPad, computer, phone etc. (ex. MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal etc.) allows students to track their activity and nutrition levels. Through the use of applications like this it allows our students to improve in athletics, performance cues in relation to skills etc. The applications allow them to make comparisons between what they are able to do and what the application instructs them to do. Through the use of applications we can set individualized goals and assess our students based on their individual needs.
With the use of video resources we can teach a wide variety of things. Educators and students are also able to create their own video resources. This enables students the opportunity to show off and share their knowledge and learning in a different way. The teacher can also assess a students learning based on their video resource presentation.
The group that presented this week did a wonderful job of sharing information and knowledge about assessments. I did however find many of the topics discussed unrealistic to use as a specialist teacher. For example, if a classroom teacher has to enter 30 students into the program they are using, then do I as a specialist teacher enter all 300 students or more that I teach? If there was a collaboration piece and the classroom teacher and I could get on the same board with using the same types of assessment tools, it would make things much easier.
Although I was unable to test out any assessment tools in my classroom this week, I do use gradebook on a regular basis. Someone in class this week mentioned that paper copies of report cards are not needed. I disagree because some students and parents within our school often don’t have online access and this is the only way parents can monitor the progress of their child. Gradebook has been a great resource for assessment in my teaching career thus far. It provides the opportunity to link my teaching/assignments to the various outcomes and provides parents with a way of seeing what we are teaching and what their children are learning.
I hope to continue using gradebook throughout my career as I do really like the program. It does have its shortfalls but nothing that would deter me from continuing to use it as my main source of assessment. I hope within the next few years to slowly begin to incorporate different types of technological assessments into my classroom.