Chapter 7 is all about using assessment to guide instruction. In a way, this chapter merges backwards by design with involving students in assessment because it involves going through the process of thinking about the product and ways to reach it with the students’ input . At the start of the chapter Davies explains, “daily involvement in classroom assessment builds a strong foundation for learning” (p.63). This foundation is crucial in helping a student succeed. I find, even in university classes, when I am involved in the process of building an assessment (even on Monday when building the rubric for our assignment) it helps me to understand what is expected of me. Therefore, I can begin to shape ideas about what my assignment will need in order to meet the required outcome. Much of this chapter gives many examples of ways to incorporate students in the assessment for their learning, and indicates that it will greatly improve their product (sometimes assessment of learning).
One passage that resonated with me was, “educators are teaching students how to learn as well as what they need to know and be able to do” (p. 71). This passage hit home for me because it helped me to come to the realization that at the end of the day, students will not remember everything that we have taught them, but if we can teach them how to learn, that is a skill that they will use for the rest of their lives. If we can get our students to take some responsibility (TPSR, Don Hellison) for their own learning, in turn helping them to discover how they learn best, we can help them to become lifelong learners in whatever they choose. Once we have taught them the foundational skills needed to learn, the door of opportunity is flung wide open. Therefore, as teachers we have the key to help unlock our students’ potential. A HUGE opportunity.
Chapter 8 discusses ways to help your students gather evidence of their own learning. It lays out a process to follow that will help your students understand what is needed of them, and why. For this concept to work it is important that your students see the value in gathering evidence of their own learning, otherwise it will not work. It then gives examples of ways students can gather this evidence through the use of various types of portfolios. It also discusses the importance of parent involvement because, “receiving feedback from people whose opinion they value can increase not only students’ motivation but also their learning” (p.83). I think that this is a great idea that I would like to try in my future classroom. It will be very important to have parents/guardians/role models of the students that want to be involved in their learning process, otherwise the process would only work through having feedback from the teacher (maybe other students as well) and may not reach the potential it could have.