I mainly assess students' learning needs through diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments, but also through everyday interactions and conversations with the students.
This bulletin board in located outside of my classroom, and it is where I display exemplary student work. This student work was used as a summative assessment tool, reflecting the level of student mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to write an argumentative short response.
I also display exemplary student work inside of my classroom. I believe showcasing student work helps foster an engaging and positive learning atmosphere. In addition to being motivational decorations, the samples of student work also work as formative assessments, which inform me about what skills and content the students have mastered, and what they need additional practice with.
Aside from assessing students' learning needs through their written products, I also gage their instructional needs through casual verbal exchanges, and informal observation.
My knowledge of assessing students' learning needs, has been a direct product of the assessment courses I took part in at the Hunter School of Education. Such courses have taught me the theoretical aspects of assessment, which I am now able to put into practice in my student teaching. The following is a project I produced for an assessment class, which reflects both my understanding of assessment theory, as well as my ability to practice assessment in a practical learning environment.
Overall, I believe assessment to be one of the most important aspects of teaching, because it acts as a guide, providing me with the information I need in order to make sound instructional decisions about my next steps. Assessments are a tremendously useful instructional tool, because they show you when to go back and re-teach, when to move on to new content and skills, and if you're going at an appropriate speed. Therefore, I believe that without properly assessing students' needs, a teacher can easily get lost on their way to achieving their instructional goals, and risk leading his or her students away from their intended educational destination.