Running head: FINAL PORTFOLIO 1
December 22, 2013
Dr. Vickie Cummings
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This paper provides a reflection on formative and summative assessment methods to inform
teaching and improve student learning. Included in the reflection is a unit of instruction that
includes graphic organizers, student metacognitive strategies, a teacher made test, student
learning logs, rubrics, and a performance task. A reflection of personal growth is summarized as
a result of field observation studies and through a professional learning community discussion
forum within the course: Investigating Student Work at Southwestern College of Professional
Studies. Appendix A is an example of Venn Diagram graphic organizer. Appendix B provides an
example schedule from the field observations.
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Reflection of Personal Growth
The course Investigating Student Work has helped me to reflect on and view assessment
in a different way. Before this course I typically thought about assessment with the picture of
traditional summative tests in mind, and didn't really think about all the ways teachers assess
students every single day. Conferencing, performance tasks, portfolios, graphic organizers,
learning logs, and reflective journals all fall into the formative assessment category. I've used
many of these tools in the classroom but didn't really think of them as assessments.
While summative and standardized tests are important and will always be a necessity to
measure learning and provide accountability, daily formative assessments are equally as
important. Learning to reflect on all these types of authentic assessment will help to improve
instruction and student learning. Teaching students to be reflective learners is also an important
take away that I have from this course. I want to involve students more in their own learning
through a shared understanding of the importance of assessment. As students progress through
the grade levels the more they understand the purpose of their assessments the more likely they
are to be motivated to succeed. A shift in the approach to assessment is required according to
Burke (2009). Teachers "must use assessment as sources of information for both students and
teachers; follow assessments with high-quality corrective assessment; and give students second
chances to demonstrate success" (Burke, 2009, p. 1).
Observing classroom teachers and collaborating with peers through a professional
learning community, such as the discussion forum in the course, provide an educator with an
opportunity to pause and reflect on what works and what doesn't. Reflection time is a vitally
important part of effective teaching. Reflective educators take the time to pause and ponder what
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went well and what didn't. Structured professional learning communities provide opportunities
for educators to learn from each other. Educators make a commitment to lifelong learning when
they step into the profession. This course provided a time and a place to meet and collaborate in
a 21st century digital platform.
Overview of Field Observation Study and Goals
The field observation study has provided the opportunity to gain perspective on
classroom management, and broadened past experiences using technology in the classroom. I
previously worked with Mrs. Jenny Raetz in a K-8 elementary school, and from that experience
knew she was a dynamic educator who embraced technology to improve engagement and
motivate in the classroom. Observing her teach third grade students has allowed me to gain
knowledge in all areas of my learning goals. My learning goals were as follows: to develop new
ideas for incorporating technology in the classroom; gain new insights for classroom
management; reflect on how classroom routines and rules can affect student learning; identify
effective behavior management strategies; and learn effective teaching strategies for primary
I completed three separate classroom observations with each visit intentionally allowing
me to observe various times and subject areas in the schedule. The observation schedule has
allowed me to see various behavior management strategies in action as well as note strategies
used for effective transition time between subjects. The methods of assessment observed include
both formative and summative given in the form of pencil/paper, computer based, questioning,
conferencing, and graphic organizers.
During the first observation I observed students working in the computer lab. The
students were highly engaged in the lessons they were practicing for math and
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spelling/vocabulary. Students practice vocabulary and math lessons to prepare for the computer
based tests they take weekly. I also observed students transition back to their classroom into a
whole group English lesson. The student movement and transition time allowed me to note
effective behavior management strategies used to keep students on track for learning when they
could have easily become distracted.
During the second observation I observed Mrs. Raetz move from whole group math
instruction to working in small groups to differentiate as needed for student success. I noted
effective one to one student conferencing as an assessment method during this visit. I also made
note that a timer is highly effective and can be used in many different ways to keep students on
task and moving at an appropriate pace.
The final observation was during the subject areas of Religion, Reading, English, and
Science. I observed students transition to and from lunch and recess. I again noted examples of
effective behavior management strategies engrained into various content areas. Mrs. Raetz uses a
Behavior Bucks management system that allows students to earn and lose dollars for both
behavior and academic performance. This is highly effective and students are motivated to stay
on task. I also observed her sharing formative assessment data with her students. The results of
the computer spelling test that students took in the morning were immediately provided to the
student upon completion of the test on the computer screen. Mrs. Raetz reviewed the results
while the students were taking Physical Education class with another teacher, and when the
students returned to class she awarded Behavior Bucks based on their performance. This proved
to be highly motivating for students.
Educational Aspects I Will Apply
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In my current consulting role I will apply the valuable strategies learned in utilizing
technology and share the engagement students have when working on computers. I teach
educators how to incorporate software practice programs and computer adaptive interim
assessments. The time to observe and reflect on students practicing and testing has helped me to
put in perspective how I might incorporate new programs I am teaching into what they are
already doing. Teachers sometimes feel overwhelmed when incorporating new technology in the
classroom, but helping them realize how what they are already doing can be enhanced by
technology will help them feel less anxious when learning a new program.
Successful Classroom Management Strategies
The classroom management strategies I observed were helpful for me to reflect on
because I now have more experiences to share when I work with teachers to learn how to
incorporate Renaissance math practice programs. Teachers often struggle to incorporate our math
programs into their classroom because they lack effective classroom management strategies.
Mrs. Raetz utilizes great strategies that I will be able to share with other educators whom I work
with. Seeing these strategies in action has helped me gain a better understanding of student
behavior and what motivates primary students.
I will also try to incorporate the use of a timer in my adult seminars to help with
transition between small group work and whole group instruction. This strategy may prove to be
effective with adults as well as with children.
During my field study observations I was able to observe all subject areas and see Mrs.
Raetz teach using