Saturday, November 20, 2010

Initiatives in Assessment

Date: 9 Nov 2010
Venue: NIE Mathlab
What's up today?:
  • Performance Task
  • Rubric
  • Break
  • A Look at international Assessment
  • Formative Assessment
We had an interesting performance task today. The group had to estimate the height of a pillar that was about 2 storeys high. We were given some measuring apparatus to use as we deemed necessary. There were interesting ideas generated by this activity from the groups and individuals.
Some solutions
(a) measuring the steps leading up to the top of the pillar. (46 steps x 15cm step)
(b)taking a photograph and comparing it to the height of a known person leaning against the pillar
(c)measuring the set of 7 tiles on the wall next to the pillar and comparing it to the height of the pillar. (1 tile=30cm, approx 23 tiles needed, so 23 x 30)
(d) using a set square (isosceles triangle) and using it to align the height of the pillar and the perpendicular distance to the edge of the set square when seen from the same distance. (yeah kinda confusing when explaining in words!)
(e) connecting a couple of measuring tapes and measuring the vertical height
(f) using a set square set at eye level and then working out the height of the pillar + height of person holding the set square to get toal height of pillar (Dr Yeap's idea)

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance task as I learn best out of the classroom. The ideas generated were also somewhat novel and I learnt a lot from the task.

We then learnt about the reasons for assessment as a means of developing pupils' ability, building confidence and desire to learn, the emphasis on learning rather than grades, etc,  and the assesssment rubrics required to give both qualitative and quantitative feedback to parents.

Dr Yeap went through examples of assessment rubrics. 'Anything that is measurable is not important', 'Anything that is not measurable is important' left an impression on me. Definitely something worth pondering over.

We then saw photographs of Thai students involved in a Math lesson and the different ways they had to show their thinking processes for an addition question. Another comment about how the female students take the lead while the males were reduced to colouring, somewhat common in the Asian classroom, was also food for thought for me.

To end off the evening's class, we had an example of a test question we would have for our test. I am somewhat apprehensive about the test as are many of my coursemates and we are somewhat glad for this activity. Dr Yeap in his usual way, told us not to worry and to use the knowledge we have readily gained and shared during our classes to help us through.

Another important lesson on my learning journey. I am somewhat mentally drained after each Math lesson. There is so much to learn, think about and use in the class. Tiring but always engaging.

Thank you everyone.

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