“The most important thing about assessment is that it promotes dialogue among faculty.”
~Mary Senter

Formative Assessment

During my student teaching, I used formative assessment to gauge how much background knowledge my students already had and to gauge how well my students were understanding the concepts that I was teaching. I used K-W-L charts throughout two of my units to understand what knowledge students brought to a unit. Using these charts also engaged students in a unit. Having these discussions before a unit also created a learning environment in which students believed that their teacher cared about what they knew and what they wanted to learn throughout a lesson.

The worksheet that I completed with my students to reinforce measuring.
I also used worksheets in math as formative assessment. While I understand that worksheets can be repetitive and could be considered busy work, they did give me concrete information about things that my students needed extra help with throughout a unit. For instance, I used a line measuring worksheet to understand if students understood how to measure lines to the nearest 1/8 inch. After looking at this worksheet, I realized that students needed more reinforcement with this concept. Therefore, I gave them more reinforcement the next day in class. We used a different worksheet where we measured objects to the nearest 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 of an inch as a class. I modeled how students should measure using the document camera then gave students time to measure the other objects. Once we were done with the worksheet, I gave them time to draw lines to a specific length on the back of the sheet. In order to make the work more engaging, I allowed students to check their work with each other. This allowed students to hear feedback from their peers immediately after completing the sheet and made the lesson more interactive.

The worksheet my students worked on and had checked by other students.

One type of Problem of the Day that came from a workbook my Cooperating Teacher had.

In addition, my cooperating teacher began a system in which students completed 4 or 5 math problems a day. These problems reviewed math concepts that the students already had learned. It reinforced questions that the students will see on the SOL tests in May. I continued these problems of the day throughout my time as a student teacher as a way of formative assessment. We could see which problems the students were struggling with and could reinforce those problems during the students' Intervention/Enrichment time.

Summative Assessment for a Specific Unit

Throughout my experience as a student teacher, I was given the opportunity to work on and enhance my assessment skills. One very important project that was completed as part of my student teaching was a test creation assignment in which I, along with two of my peers, created an assessment (with a key at the end) for a Civil War unit for our fourth grade students. The purpose of the assignment was to understand how to create a valid and reliable test that aligns the the standards and with how we will teach the unit. This sample assessment shows that I, as a teacher, am capable of creating an appropriate assessment for a specific group of students. This test is also an example of formative assessment. We were given specific guidelines for how to create the test. Throughout the semester we worked on how to create multiple choice questions, matchi
A student's response to the essay question.
ng questions, and short answer questions. Along with these ideas, came discussion on validity and reliability and how each can be compromised due to how a question is worded, how well content was taught, and how the question is formatted. We created tables of specifications and intended learning outcomes to decide which standards needed to be taught more heavily and which could be assessed in class. We thought critically throughout the semester to create an assessment that would not only be appropriate for our class at the College of William and Mary but would also be appropriate to use with our students.

Overall, this test creation assignment made us critically think about what needed to be in a test on the Civil War and will shape our instruction on this topic. The paper that goes along with the assessment made me think about the important aspects of the questions and how they impact validity and reliability. It also explains my classroom environment in which this assessment will be given, the course for this assessment is for, and how I plant to use the test results. Throughout this project I realized that if I can think like this for every assessment I create, whether the questions are original or pulled from outside sources, I will always have tests that have strong validity and reliability. If I use these tests to guide my instruction, my student should almost always perform well and to the best of their abilities. During my time as a student teacher, I taught a unit on the Civil War and gave the assessment that I created with my colleagues. We then looked at how our students performed and analyzed the results of the assessment.

A Lesson or Activity Developed Based on Student Assessment Results
One important aspect of assessment is using the results to enhance their learning. During my time as a student teacher, I constantly gauged how well students were learning content and took time to review certain concepts.

One example of a lesson in which I used assessment results to develop an activity was during my Civil War unit. I gave a quiz after we covered the individual people and the groups of people that participated in or caused events that led up to the Civil War. I graded the quiz that night to understand which people the students were still struggling with understanding. I came in the next day and decided to have a quick review session in which the students and I went over the questions on the quiz. This immediate review keeps the information fresh and helps to resolve student's misconceptions.

In addition, I used worksheets in math as a form of formative assessment and adapted lessons based on what my students needed. For example, there was a day during my measurement unit where I only have 20 minutes (compared to one hour) to complete my lesson on fractions of an inch due to a math assessment for SMART goals that my student had to take. I did not get to review as much as I would have liked but I have my students complete independent work to gauge where they were at. The next morning I looked at the results with my cooperating teacher and she gave me an idea of how to change the lesson from small group work in stations to whole group work with partner interaction at the end of the lesson. She and I decided to review fraction of an inch as a whole group using a worksheet. As a class, we measured the objects on the paper to the nearest inch, 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch, and 1/8 inch. We did some together then by the end I had the students completing them on their own and giving me the answers. Next, I had students draw lines to a specific measurement. Then I instructed them to switch their paper with a partner and have their partner measure the line to assess one another. After students finished this assignment, I had them work on converting between yards, inches, and feet. On an assessment that I gave two days before this lesson, I found that students were making silly mistakes because they did not show work. Therefore, I decided that they needed to work on converting and showing each step and gave them an assignment in which they could show work and enhance their converting skills.

These few examples show the power of using assessments results to shape an activity or lesson to enhance student learning. These types of lessons can only help students by reinforcing or enhancing skills that students need to understand. If I am not constantly assessing and looking at student work, then I cannot be an effective teacher. I always have to look at what the students are doing and what I am doing to create an effective learning environment.