Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My 8th Reflection – Assessment

My 8th Reflection

27th October 2010

The agenda for the night:-
1)      Assessment (an interactive lecture)
2)      Area is five activity
3)      Framework- workbook task ,word problems

Dr Yeap gave us to the opportunity to talk about what we know of assessment and the different modes of assessments.I learnt that in order to promote critical and creative thinking skills and nurture problem-solving and independent learning abilities in students, we should adopt different modes of assessment. The summative and formative assessments are important in the learning and teaching process. Through PERI recommendation, assessment should be effectively used to support the holistic development of the pupils.
In the lower primary, the focus should be on building pupils’ confidence and desire to learn, placing more emphasis on skills and non-academic areas. The usual pen and paper test or written examination should be balanced with the use of alternative modes of assessments. I feel that a range of assessment modes and bit-sized forms of assessments should be used so that we could get richer feedback on pupils’ performance, check on pupils’ understanding mastery of concepts and plan better lessons. As teachers, we could also use these to communicate with parents on the progress of our pupils.
When coming up with alternative assessments such as project work, portfolio, show and tell, we should be aware of the learning outcomes, the cognitive and affective aspects of learning so that we could get a better feedback for pupils’ abilities. Through self reflection and journal entry, pupils could also reflect on what their have learnt, their feelings and ways for improvement.
With the use of rubrics, teachers would get a better understanding of levels of attainment for the skills the pupils are at. The pupils would get the feedback from teachers and the pupils’ feedback are also shown to the parents and in this way, the pupil, teacher and parent are clear about the pupil’s strengths and areas for improvement.
The area is 5 activity was a fun and engaging way to learn about area. We used rubber band, grid papers and geoboards to come up with figures with 5 units square. The class came up with several different ways of forming the figures and it was a good activity for pupils learn about area and perimeter. This activity generated a lot of thinking, n exploring ways for finding solutions to the problems, which is how an effective Math lesson should be.
With the activities on using workbook , Dr Yeap showed exampled of how some questions could low in validity when assessing pupils’ understanding and mastery of concepts. He encouraged us to read about Lev Vygotsky’s ZPD- zone of proximal development. According to the theory,  ‘the gap between performance and the potential level, that is the zone of proximal development’ – and that “ children are assisted to move beyond what they have shown they can do in everyday activities by having their learning scaffolded, using cultural tools,..." It is good to know as teachers that we provide children with experiences which are their ZPD, which encouraged and advanced their individual learning.
Dr Yeap also explained to us the 6 ways on why some pupils find solving Math problems difficult to do.
1)      difficulty in reading, cannot read and/or understand the problems
2)      able to read but cannot understand the meaning of the questions
3)      lack of knowledge of heuristics/ problem solving strategies
4)      lack of knowledge on transformation – story to pictures
5)      lack of computational skills
6)      not able to use computation to find solutions
With the information, I am more aware of and focused on my pupils’ weaknesses and limitations this would help me in coming up with appropriate strategies to help them in solving Math problems. 
I am glad to say that I have learnt a lot from Dr Yeap.

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