Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Assessment

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have come to the conclusion that by far, the most difficult aspect of first-year teaching is assessment. Throughout my licensure coursework and into my graduate coursework we have been introduced to various teaching styles, learning styles, strategies, theories, etc. As my first year progresses I feel that I have a good handle on these subjects and if I am not applying them to my own classroom, I am working on doing so. That brings me to assessment. I feel like I am constantly struggling. Some may ask in an alarmed way, "Really?!?!" Well yes, really.

Kindergarteners don't have routine exams and tests to give quick, albeit often inaccurate, information. Kindergarten teachers rely almost solely on anecdotal information. As a self-described Type A, list maker, control freak -- anecdotal assessments are tough. They're not direct and they don't fit into columns and rows. I have created, and later abandoned, many systems that I thought would work for me that did not. I have seen amazing systems in place and working, but they're not right for me. I am still searching for my anecdotal soul-mate! For now my anecdotal information is a hodgepodge of information in different locations that I gather for report card time and hope that I am being accurate and fair. If the teaching Gods are watching over me, I hope that I find my groove in the next few months because this is one of the first-year stresses that I would prefer not to follow me into year 2.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

This isn't what you want to hear, but I have to say that in year 10 I'm still trying to figure out what works for me. I used one system for two previous years and just recently switched to something new. I'm left wondering if it's just me or if this is a problem for most teachers.

splatypus said...

I suppose I expected a response like yours... but you're right, not what I wanted to hear! I think we're often given a template that doesn't work for our particular style and classroom and sadly I don't think trainings or workshops help in this area, but I'm not sure what does help. Make sense?

Jenny said...

I'm not sure what helps either. I know that I've changed my systems for a variety of reasons. This year I'm trying a new system that I hope will make it easier for me and my co-teachers to all record and use the anecdotal records. In the past we've kept our records separate and that kept us for truly using the records to plan lessons.

I agree that templates and trainings don't do a whole lot for this. I've gained a lot more from simply talking with other teachers about what they do and why.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. My response isn't too different from Jenny's...only add ten more years to it. All these years of teaching art, and assessment is definitely still a struggle for me. And like you, there are no hard and fast test grades to go by. It's all anecdotal. Jan