A picture of the large clock that I made for students to learn about elapsed time

Assessment is an integral part of teaching. It is absolutely essential that teachers are aware of what students have learned, so that they can make informed decisions on what and how to teach. In order to make proper inferences about student learning, assessment must be valid and reliable. A valid assessment is one from which appropriate inferences about student learning can be made. Reliability is also necessary in a good assessment. A reliable assessment is one that provides consistent and dependable results. Assessments demonstrating these two qualities will most likely guide instruction in the right direction, and will connect most closely with the curricula being presented in the classroom. Also, teachers must use assessments as a teaching tool. It is important that students, as well as teachers, are aware of the nature and degree of their learning, so that they can improve their learning. As a teacher, I would implement assessments that accomplish these goals.

Examples of Assessments

The following link is to a test that I created for a third grade class on the water cycle. Along with the test, there is an overview of the test, discussing its validity and reliability. The test is tailored to the assess the intended learning outcomes from Virginia Science Standard of Learning 3.9 on the water cycle. Questions on the test assess content from that standard at the appropriate level of cognitive demand. To do this, I analyzed each intended learning outcome to determine the content to be taught, and at what cognitive level it should be taught. I used this information to create a table of specifications. When creating the test, I made sure that I had questions at each of the necessary levels of cognitive demand. I also reviewed the test to ensure that it was as free from error as possible. Through these actions, I was able to create a test that has high degrees of both validity and reliability (Competency 16). Within the following document, you will find more information about the water cycle unit, the intended learning outcomes, and the table of specifications that was used. Please click on the link to view the document. Krystal Rodney_Water Cycle Assessment.pdf

After administering the test on the water cycle, I analyzed the results. This was done by looking at the percentage of students who answered each question correctly. Doing this helped me to determine the nature and degree of student learning, and informed my future instruction (Competency 18). The individual results of two tests were also analyzed, to help me determine nature and degree of those students’ learning, and to make instructional decisions about those students. Please click on the following link to view the document. Water cycle assessment_critique.pdf

The following document is an example of a formative assessment given during a 3rd grade unit on simple machines. Students were given this assignment to complete as morning work, and the results were used to help me see if the students could identify examples of simple machines through analysis. The assignment included pictures of simple machines to which students were not exposed in class, and students were asked to determine the type of simple machine that each picture represented. This information was used to decide whether students needed to review the information more, or if they could engage in a simple machine scavenger hunt (which required even more higher level skills). We reviewed this activity as a class. Students were allowed to ask questions about the questions that they answered incorrectly, and other students were allowed to help each other by providing their explanations for their answers. This helped to further improve students' understanding of simple machines (Competencies 16 and 17).

Pre-assessments can be very important tools for both teachers and students. Before teaching about the planets, I wanted to find out what my 6th grade students knew, and what misconceptions I was facing, which led me to create a group activity that I used to inform my instruction. Students worked in groups to discuss whether the information on each of the cards was true or false, and recorded their answers. After the groups completed the activity for each planet, I then reviewed the answers with the class. When students gave an answer of false, they also had to give a very brief explanation. This gave me a better sense of what the students were thinking. Since the information in the Earth cards was covered in the previous day's lesson, this section were used as an informal assessment tool. From this activity, students were able to retain facts about each planet, which made this an assessment for learning (Competencies 16, 17, 18). A sample of these cards (for Earth, Venus, and Mars) can be viewed by clicking on the following link. Planet game pre-assessment.pdf

Lesson based on Assessment Results

While teaching a mini-unit on time to my 3rd grade student teaching class, I saw that they struggled with the concept of elapsed time. Analysis of the students’ morning work helped me to determine the areas in which students were struggling. I found that students did not know where to begin to count on the clock when attempting to calculate elapsed time. When students were asked to calculate elapsed time, students wrote the minutes for the second time they were given. For example, if a student were asked to calculate the elapsed time from 12:15 to 12:45, the student would say that 45 minutes had elapsed. This information prompted me to develop a lesson plan to improve the class’ understanding of elapsed time and placement of the hour hand. I created a large clock that the students could walk around in to work on this concept. After implementing this lesson, I gave the students an assessment of their learning. Pictures of these can be found below. Please click on the following link to view the lesson plan. Elapsed Time lesson plan.pdf

Student #1 Before
Student #1 After
Student #2 Before
Student #2 After
These worksheets show samples of student work before and after the elapsed time lesson was implemented, demonstrating their growth over time.