Standard 5: Assessment
The teacher uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, monitor learner progress, guide planning and instruction, and determine whether the outcomes described in content standards have been met.
One of the teaching beliefs that I have developed during my course of study is
that one test should never make or break a student. When I was an undergraduate, I
showed up for an end-of-term exam, only to see my classmates streaming out. I had shown up for
the wrong testing slot. I was devastated. I thought I would fail the class after working so hard to
maintain an A all semester. The professor told me that everyone makes mistakes and she
scheduled a time to give me the slides for the exam. There was no penalty on my
grade and I have never forgotten the incident. It was so starkly different from high
school when I remember being told that final tests and final papers came with
immutable due dates that could make or break our grades.
These experiences have made me think about what the real purpose of
assessment is (or should be). I believe that the purpose of any assessment should be
to display what students can and cannot do. To show what they have learned and
tells teachers what they still need to learn. Teachers should use assessments to gain
valuable insight into how successful their lessons have been, so that they can plan
future instruction based on what students are able to do. I do not think being inflexible
In the functional skills class I designed for student teaching, I emphasized
formative assessment. At the secondary level, I am very aware of how little
instructional time students have left. Therefore, I wanted immediate feedback so
that I do not waste time teaching if students did not understand a concept. In the
beginning of the placement, I worked to learn about each student’s communication
needs and preferences. Establishing effective communication was the most
important step I took before assessing students. In the functional skills classroom,
students’ reliance on different communication methods, such as speech and writing,
varied widely. Therefore, I could not choose a single method of assessment for the
For one weekly lesson that I taught, I allowed students to write and draw
their responses based on their preferences. I learned so much reviewing their
artifacts from these lessons. I learned about students’ writing and thinking. I
learned about what struck them the most from the information I presented.
Additionally, the writing and drawing allowed me to learn more about students who
did not use much communicative speech.
Special Education demands that teachers continually assess and reassess
their instruction methods. Effective Special Educators need to view the assessment
results as reflections of their own pedagogy much more than they view them as
reflections on students’ work ethics.