My pre-reading ideas about assessment

Before publishing blog post #3, I thought I’d put down the notes I made prior to reading the assessment module. This will hopefully help me with Assignment #2, which includes commenting on how my ideas about teacher librarianship have changed through ETL401.  I’m going to make these fairly brief, as that’s how they were on paper…

Assessing information literacy:

* Assessment falls into three main categories: diagnostic (working out knowledge and abilities prior to learning activities); formative (assessment carried out throughout learning to ensure students are on the right track and to identify areas for intervention); and summative (assessment at the end of a unit/task to determine whether students have met learning outcomes and to assist with reporting to stakeholders).

* Information literacy encompasses a range of skills, so assessment should target specific skills and abilities.  Rubrics would help teachers and teacher librarians focus on what is being assessed and help students know what teachers are looking for.

* All assessments need a purpose.  Assessment carried out by the teacher librarian would be to report to classroom teachers who would weave this into reporting to parents and other stakeholders.

* Inquiry learning can involve group work, therefore assessment should also cover working in teams.

* As the teacher librarian’s role includes teaching students to use varied print and electronic resources, students assessment should include location of information, sorting of information and presentation of information in a wide range of formats.

* Observation, conversations and student notes (or worksheets, depending on age) are important assessment tools.

* It is important that the classroom teacher and teacher librarian communicate effectively to ensure that students are able to transfer skills or receive assistance as necessary.

I am expecting to add a lot to this list.

Learning theories, learning theories. Many many learning theories. I think it’s a good thing.

Going through my readings, I have come across an introduction to Project Based Learning, an approach we did not touch in my undergraduate degree.  I’m a little surprised, as many of my lecturers said CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING IS THE ONLY WAY STUDENTS WILL LEARN, and PBL is a form of constructivist learning.  In my science workshops in particular, we only looked at Inquiry Based Learning.  In fact, one of my assignments was basically “This is how IBL is the best way to teach in the whole world and nobody should try anything else. Ever.” It was very interesting to read the ASLA statement on Resource Based Learning, as I personally only ever heard it mentioned twice in the four years I spent at uni, and only ever as something we needn’t ever bother look up because it is complete rubbish.

I’m grateful for a unit I took in second year, which was an overview of curriculum and pedagogy.  We were introduced very briefly to various learning theories (although, now I see it was lacking somewhat) and an overview of Outcomes Based Education.  I have to say one of my favourite quotes ever, and the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy, is something by William Spady (the founder of OBE). It is something to the effect of “All children can learn, but at different times and in different ways”.

I believe that all learning styles are good when used with the right children in the right learning context at the right time.  I think this is a skill that I would love to develop.  Rather than take hold of one learning style and using it until it’s old and outdated, I’d like to be able to use each one well, in order to help students reach their learning outcomes.