Assessment and feedback for students plays an important aspect of teaching. Feedback serves to analyse, interpret and reflect on student data to improve the knowledge and skills of students. Assessment plays a second critical role, and that is to validate if your teachings have been effective.
However, for assessment to be effective, there needs to be a mix of pre-assessment to understand where student’s knowledge on the subject matter sits and formative and summative assessment to verify that students are achieving the expected outcomes and goals. Building unit and lesson plans that incorporated different forms of assessment is an important skill and allows me to provide feedback to students, parents/caregivers and other school staff on an on-going basis.
Students in my special education classroom had highly varied skill levels when reading. 1 student could read almost anything placed in front of him, through to students who were working slowly through consonant, vowel, and consonant (CVC) books. However, what remained most important was being able to make comparable judgements based on previous work and the work the student was completing with me. Prior to starting in the special education classroom, I was provided with each student’s ONE plan and current achievement standard. Using the student data (5.4), I was able to interpret the data to make a sound judgement on the direction of each student’s learning (1.5, 5.3). Although, it was not perfect, my mentor was able to provide feedback and together we would make the required adjustments that would be more beneficial for the student (6.4).
One student in my class has Jacobsen Syndrome. Most people with Jacobsen Syndrome have delayed development of motor skills and speech; cognitive impairment; and learning difficulties. My student’s reading level was lower than most children in a mainstream classroom of the same age. Her disability meant she would be easily distracted by what was happening around her and she would grow bored with her CVC book. As I was following a recommended guide that directed which CVC book would be next to complete, I figured some of the books would not be engaging for her (1.6). To overcome this, I decided to allow her to choose her next CVC book. Being careful not to provide her with too many choices and books that were above her reading level, she could choose her next book. This proved to have an immediate impact, she became more engaged, focussed, less distracted and did not become bored.
As we read together, I was able to provide immediate verbal feedback to her (5.2) and at the end of each week, I would record the progress the student had made in their workbook. The feedback was always positive in manner or constructive ways to try reading difficult words. Towards the end of my time at the school, my mentor asked me to write feedback that would be used in the student report card. I was excited to complete this task as through my practicums, I had not written for a student’s report card. This process took longer than I anticipated as I wanted to write more than would fit on the report card (5.5).
By reviewing reports and results on each student’s ability, I was able to effectively accommodate to each student’s ability, interests and this resulted in a more engaged effort from the students. One must not make assumptions when building lessons plans or establishing goals for a student. Pre-assessment, reviewing data and assessing the learning as the student progresses will improve the student outcomes and build confidence within the student. Without preparing for the student, your teaching will not be a success.
I believe that providing immediate, verbal feedback on a students work is more likely to have an immediate impact on the students learning. While providing feedback to parents and caregivers via email, verbal, report cards or other forms of assessment will help parents and caregivers to assist students in their home environment.
1.5 - Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
1.6 - Strategies to support full participation of students with disability.
5.2 - Provide feedback to students on their learning.
5.3 - Make consistent and comparable judgements.
5.4 - Interpret student data.
5.5 - Report on student achievement.
6.4 - Apply professional learning and improve student learning.