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Philosophy of Assessment

Philosophy of Assessment
Mr. Shane Stofko
Everyday in education educators are thinking of new and exciting
ways to assess our nations youth. Educators can use anything from
simple, low stakes, formative assessments to more complex, higher
stakes, and summative assessments to aid in construction of
Curriculum-Based Assessments (CBA). These educators are including
all sorts of new technology into the classroom making it easier than
before to assess their students. With all of these advancements within
the area of assessment, we are able to accommodate students with
disabilities more successfully than in the past. Assessment has always
been one of the most important parts of education and by having a
good understanding of the many ways to assess a student; teachers
can incorporate many strategies into the classroom to keep students at
a higher level of learning.
Traditional forms of assessment include high-stakes tests, and
homework graded for completion. These strategies cannot accurately
represent a students knowledge, especially within an art classroom.
Within the arts, students need a creative outlet in order to comprehend
and apply the material they are learning. In an art classroom, a lot of
Project-Based Learning (PBL) is happening, and this calls for
differentiated instruction and assessment. The students will be learning
through communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Many of

Philosophy of Assessment

the assessments in the PBL would be formative while the end product,
the artwork and final presentation, would be the summative
assessment. The low stakes assessments allow information to be
gathered that can be used to adjust the curriculum to form a stronger
educational learning environment. This learning environment will
create rigor within my classroom. According to Williamson and
Blackburn, rigor is expecting each student to acquire and demonstrate
their learning at high levels. One must also be able to support this
learning at these high levels (Williamson R. & Blackburn B. R.). Within
art, the students need to work rigorously because they want to create
work they can be proud of. The assessments within an art classroom
allow the teacher the opportunity to create a rigorous environment, in
which the students can achieve higher levels of learning.
Technology plays an important part for students to achieve a
higher level of learning. There are hundreds of websites and
applications that can help with formative assessments. One website, in
particular, is called Nearpod. This website allows the teacher to create
presentations and insert polls and activities for the student to complete
while in the presentation. This form of assessment provides quick
responses to actively engage students as well as inform the teacher
exactly where the students stand with retention of the information.
Another piece of technology that can informally assess students
knowledge would be to create a chat in which every day they will

Philosophy of Assessment

respond to show their knowledge about the material. According to

Vanessa Vega, That simply adding technology to K-12 environments
does not necessarily improve learning. Rather, what matters most is
how students and teachers use technology to develop knowledge and
skills (Vega). By using technology to develop the skills necessary to
comprehending the material, students will be able to apply this
information to their summative assessments. Just like how within an art
classroom, students will research an artist, using technology, and their
style then students will use this style and apply it to their own work.
Our job as teachers is to educate and evaluate the students and
sometimes that can be difficult because we may have a student who
may need some accommodations. For these students, we can create a
Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII) support process. This
can be for any student who has issues either academically or
behaviorally. For a student who needs an academic accommodation, it
would be smart to implement a benchmark test. In art, this could be a
simple test that will gauge a student, or a classes, understanding of
the elements and principles of art. Of course then later during the
semester a follow-up test testing for the same subject matter must be
implemented. The scores between test one and two will allow the
teacher to see what elements or principles a student may struggle
with. One other option to accommodate a student would be to
implement a diagnostic test. This would help a teacher find specific

Philosophy of Assessment

issues that a particular student is having, and this information can be

used to address these issues.
Sometimes having a student take a diagnostic test is a bit too
extreme but rather a simple adaptation may be all that the student
needs. If there is a student in a classroom that has extreme anxiety a
possible adaptation is to create a checklist. This checklist will allow the
student the ability to check off a particular box as soon as it is
completed. This will possibly reduce the stress the student may have
but other adaptations can be set in place. If within the same
classroom, the teacher also has a student with an auditory condition, a
test using images to describe the artists works, as a reminder, will help
the student remember a specific painting. The benefit of this is that
this test can be provided to everyone and not just a student who is
hard of hearing.
Within the past few years, many states have been trying to
better accommodate and assess their students but one state, in
particular, has gained significant traction in creating better
assessments. The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has
placed a great deal of importance on finding what forms of assessment
work more effectively within the classroom setting. Within the
Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS) a recent shift of educators
have been grading based upon validity, reliability, and fairness rather
than completion (Comprehensive Assessment System). The benefit to

Philosophy of Assessment

this is that it provides a much higher quality level of assessment

considering a student could complete the work and get every answer
wrong. This will show nothing other than that student can complete a
task. This higher level of assessment can be better assessed through
the students self-reflection (Marzano). Self-reflection allows the
students to critique their own artwork and see if they have successfully
mastered the concepts of a particular project. The teacher would then
compare the students self-reflection against the critique he or she has
already given and can adjust the grade accordingly. Elementary to
secondary-level classrooms can implement this method because it
allows their students to express their thoughts of their assignment
after they have completed it. Of course, many of these assignments
will have different grades. An entire project should have more points
than a pop quiz within the project. The problem is that many educators
have difficulty weighting grades correctly. If a teacher gave a project
100 points and a pop quiz 20 points, then that pop quiz is worth 1/5 of
an entire project. The difficulty with all of this is finding the proper way
to weight grades. One possibility is while creating the assessment is
deciding how important each part to the project will be. In the example
above, the pop quiz may have only needed to be 2-5 points, depending
on the other factors of the project. One other option is to make the pop
quiz worth no points and use it as a formative assessment, similar to
an exit slip.

Philosophy of Assessment

The field of assessment is constantly changing. With new

approaches to how teachers will assess their students; many teachers
are changing to adapt these new ways into their classroom. If an
administrator walked into an arts classroom, he or she would see many
formative assessment techniques in place and students actively
working towards their summative assessment projects. During all of
these creative assessments, there will also be many accommodations
actively being used within the classroom. An arts classroom is a unique
learning environment compared to a standard classroom, and the
assessments are just as unique.

Philosophy of Assessment

Works Cited

Williamson, R. & Blackburn, B. R. (2010). 4 Myths About Rigor in the

Classroom. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.
Vega, Vanessa. "Technology Integration Research Review." Edutopia.
George Lucas

Educational Foundation, 5 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Nov.

Comprehensive Assessment System: Rhode Island Criteria & Guidance.

Rhode Island Board of Regents, n.d. PDF.

Marzano, Robert J. Classroom Assessment & Grading That Work.

Alexandria, VA:

Association for Supervision and Curriculum

Development, 2006. Web.