Teachers should not teach the lesson just for the purpose of assessment, rather, also and more importantly, for the students’ true learning and its application to the real-life situations. It is with this that I have always been considerate of my students’ learning capacity when giving assessments whether formative or summative. In other words, I do not give assessments beyond what they have previously learned from our classroom discussions and activities. If students are given test items beyond their learning capacity, they feel frustrated and sometimes demotivated to study harder. In the same way, they attempt to cheat because they tend to value high scores over their true learning. It is a sad culture among students that I try to break.
As much as I believe that student learning can be assessed not just through paper-and-pen assessment, I have been administering as well various tools and techniques ranging from actual demonstrations of skills, oral presentations, classroom simulations, and others that entail students’ retention check and creative and real-life applications of theoretical learning. For instance, in my 21st Century literature classes with figures of speech (metaphor, hyperbole, personification, etc.) as the topic, I tasked them in groups to compose their own songs employing figurative languages and prepare a presentation on the next session. I was really so impressed by what all the groups presented. It was a successful classroom concert where they even brought their musical instruments; and hence, enjoyment with what they were doing was what I observed. Of course after each song presentation, they had to discuss briefly what figures of speech did they employ, what did they mean in the context of their compositions, and how did they improve the overall meaning.
In the same way, instead of having a quiz in my Empowerment Technologies after our discussion on Core Rules of Network Etiquette, I grouped my students and asked them to come up with a creative infographic that promotes the proper and ethical use of internet. They had it drafted in our class, but soon I instructed them to improve their work using productivity tools (e.g., MS Office Publisher) and share it then on their social media accounts. As I have also found effective, it is good to hold a classroom quiz bee after a week-long heavy lecture. Last semester after a few consecutive sessions dedicated to a discussion on the Timeline of World Literature (i.e., with around 12 pages of courseware handouts), I decided that we would hold a quiz bee in small teams of three to five members each. Not only that they were able to have an information retention check, they also just demonstrated teamwork and collaboration in the light of a healthy competition.
While assessment of student learning should enable reciprocal learning experiences between the students and the teachers, where the students receive concrete feedback on their strengths and needs and teachers realize efficiency and effectiveness of teaching methodologies, I have always considered various principles upon planning, communicating, and administering assessments. For instance, I have always communicated to my students beforehand what, when, and how their learning will be assessed. For the students to prepare for the assessment, they should know exactly the covered topics and lessons, the scheduled dates or sessions when it will be conducted, and the nature of the assessment tasks (e.g., paper-and-pen quizzes, recitations, practical tests, etc.). In the same way, they should also be informed about scoring systems and rubrics. Assessment of student learning should not stop with me collecting their answer sheets or recording their scores; rather, I always see to it that my students, whether in a class or individual, receive feedback that guides them through the next learning episodes. While I take time to reflect on the assessment results, I also make decisions whether to modify teaching in response to the needs of my students — Marc Kenneth Marquez, Assessment of Student Learning (Teacher Regularization Portfolio).