Do Utah schools spend too much time testing? Are there other methods of evaluation that might work better?
As a classroom teacher I assess everything, especially myself. It keeps me sharp and always improving. I also assess student learning in every class, every day. I need to know as a teacher if my students are making connections with the curriculum. Building connections with students and the subject being learned is of absolute importance. I strive diligently to assist my students in being proficient in the Utah Core Standards.
There are two types of assessment, one is formative which is the type of assessment described above. It happens every day and is often informal in nature. For example, after teaching 1st period U.S. History, I ask myself what I could have done better. I am not above receiving feedback from fellow teachers, students, administrators, etc. on how I can improve as a teacher. Modeling appropriate ways to both give and receive feedback is an important skill for everyone. Whenever I have a student teacher I have them observe my teaching and invite their honest and critical observations. By allowing this. it gives me the capital to be critical and help them grow. I follow the model; I teach, we teach, and then you teach.
The second type of assessment which I believe this question is focused on is summative assessments. I believe that these assessments have come under great scrutiny politically because of a school grading system that focused too much attention on proficiency and not enough focus on growth. There was also political fallout over the adoption of the Common Core and its linkage to SAGE. Improvement has taken place in regards to these assessments. During the 2018-2019 testing there were glitches that caused some distrust over the reliability of the results, but there have been several very positive developments. The new assessments focus on student growth equally with student proficiency. They also have measures of equity recognizing growth for high risk student groups and minorities. The public also has shown greater trust in these new assessments with a lower number of parents opting out their students, possibly because of their alignment with Utah Core Standards.
My main criticism of the current Utah summative assessments is that they are not being used as effectively to guide instruction. Teachers need the data in hand, broken down by skills, so that they have the ability to improve student classroom instruction.
Posted on 29 May 2020, 22:58 - Category: Political Viewpoints