Assessment & Evaluation

There is no teaching until students have learned.

Assessment (NSTA Standard 8)
I believe that student learning is the only true measure of successful teaching. Therefore, assessment of student learning is critical in order to measure my success as a teacher.

As part of my course in assessment, I completed a test creation project in which I followed a set of steps to create a test and then reflected on its value for assessing students. In order to create the test, I began by developing a set of intended learning outcomes or ILOs based on state standards. I then "unpacked" those ILOs by determining the content that each referred to as well as the cognitive level that each objective would require a student to use in order to demonstrate mastery of that objective. After expanding each objective, I plotted all objectives on a table of specifications which summarizes the content and cognitive level that all objectives of the unit target. I used this table in order to create a test which assessed these items appropriately, ensuring that each objective was assessed by multiple items on the test or on other assessments in the unit. After creating the test, I plotted the items on my table of specifications to ensure that the test had good sampling validity.
I created a table of specifications that maps test items and other assessments onto the content and cognitive level of Bloom's Taxonomy of the unit learning objectives.

This assignment demonstrates my ability to create assignments that provide valid and reliable representation of student learning. By learning and following this procedure, I have deepened my understanding of how to create assessments that provide me with the best information about student learning. As I mentioned before, because student learning is the only true benchmark for successful teaching, developing this skill is essential for me to improve my practice as a teacher. I can now feel confident that my assessments give me a good picture of student learning, information which I can then use not only to address the needs of particular students, but also to evaluate and improve my own performance as an educator. After my students actually took this test during my time student teaching, I analyzed the results and evaluated how I might have improved the test itself or my instruction to better align my instruction and my assessment. I also used this information to determine what will need to be retaught or incorporated into future lessons because students did not demonstrate mastery of certain learning objectives . The full analysis can be viewed here.