The year has just started and this is the perfect time to learn about a topic that has been closely related to my previous PTC subjects. First, critical and reflective teaching practice requires some degree of internal assessment, which would lead to improvement in teaching and learning outcomes (EDS 111: Principles of Teaching). Second, assessment entails learning or a change in the state of an individual – wherein the change can be both intrinsic (new skill, new knowledge, new understanding of the world) and extrinsic (behavior) – over time as a consequence of experience (Schunk, 2012; Roberts, 2013) so that teachers, supervisors, administrators, and higher level officials can improve the teaching and learning process in schools (EDS 103: Theories of Learning). Lastly, it is important to contextualize how assessment is being done at different levels within the Philippine educational system and to identify the hindering and facilitating factors behind the process of improving the quality of education for Filipino children (EDUC 101: The Philippine Educational System).
Before I took up the course, I had some expectation that educational assessment would be somewhat related to the discipline of my masteral degree in Population Studies, which placed emphasis on statistical and demographic data and analysis. In principle, it is fairly the same because it relies on valid and reliable measurement, evaluation, and testing. There are also numerous ways to measure one indicator, target, or achievement. In application, it is different because assessment is an integral part of a teacher’s life – within the classroom, within a department/program, and within a school. It also does not stand alone because it must be clearly anchored on the institution’s goals and objectives – because after all, why assess if you don’t know what you’re assessing?
Another interesting intersection between the course and my work is that I have often attended a lot of training for civil society organizations (CSOs) that place emphasis on results-based management and management frameworks (logical framework, design and monitoring framework, etc). These frameworks place heavy emphasis on assessment (or more popularly known as monitoring and evaluation) because projects need to be able to prove that they have reached their goals, outcomes, outputs, and inputs using data. However, one important question of development workers is always: How do I systematically assess so that I can achieve my target? What tools or mechanisms must be in place so I make sure that my beneficiaries are benefiting from the project? After the project, what are the lessons learned that I can apply in a different project or so that we do not commit the same mistakes? In the same way, teachers use assessment to see if they are achieving their targets in the classroom, utilize various tests and measurements to make sure that their students are really learning, and gather feedback to improve their teaching process.
As I string new connections with these ideas, I find myself constantly in awe at how we can use our previous experiences and learnings to connect to seemingly isolated concepts – so in the process of learning about educational assessment, we should always self-assess and reflect on how new constructs can improve us as individuals, teachers, parents, citizens and so on.
Roberts, G. (2013). “What is Learning?”. YouTube video. Retrieved on 02 May 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtT31Sn1Ukk
Schunk, D.H. (2014; 2012). Chapter 1. Introduction to the Study of Learning. In Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective. MA: Pearson.