Planning Assessments

In my private school in Thailand, I am encouraged to plan and do many mini formative assessments during the school year such as multiple choice questions and short written assessments/worksheets.  At the end of the unit the students usually finished taking part in a written and practical assessments.  However, assessments are much more than paper tests and final “no more chances” tests.
I believe teachers should have a wide variety of assessment techniques and use those to evaluate the students’ learning. Therefore, the mini assessments I do in class are important because it allows me to create differentiated tasks and to evaluate the students’ needs.  As a result, I will be able to discover if some students may need more practice or time than others to master knowledge or skills.  Every student is different and unique, either introverts or extroverts.  In other words, some students might be better at speaking/doing, some are better at listening, while others are simply better at seeing/reading.  In my case especially, the students are learning a second language as the demographic is mostly Thai.  Teachers should always be aware of differences along with all the students’ abilities and skill level.  In the future, this will help me plan for students and how I can get students to meet their learning outcomes by being flexible and differentiating their task set related to the learning target to improve and hone their skills.

In this article, I will be sharing some of my mini formative assessments in class based on the Basic Core Education of Thailand standard 7.7.1 – “Search for relevant information and explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the Moon and other planets, and the effects on the environment and living things on Earth”.
Therefore, by using this standard the objective in this class is for students to apply their research, to explain their comprehension on the relationships between the Sun, Earth, the Moon and other planets.

  1. “DO’S and DON’Ts”

In this mini formative assessment, I generally make the list for my grade 7 and 8 but my grade 9 is proficient in making the list themselves.  In grade 7-8, I use do’s and don’ts in the “Gradual Release Method”.  I would have this prepared listed in a checklist worksheet for students to see visibly.  I would do an example first in the “I do it” part and then I would check their understanding in the “we do it together”.
With Grade 9, the students would list 3 Dos and 3 Don’ts when using, applying, relating to the content based on the standard 7.1.1 (e.g. 3 Dos and Don’ts for behaviours of planets).

An example from a Grade 9 student:

Planets DO orbit around a star.  They DON’T orbit around another planet.

Rationale
For Grades 7 and 8, I believe it outlines the student’s expectations.  As a result, the students will be more likely to participate in the “we do it together” part of the method because they can see the do’s and don’ts on their worksheet, and they had seen an example shown previously of how to do the activity on the worksheet in the “I do it” part.  Based on Bloom’s taxonomy, this gives the students the opportunity to use what they understand and apply their comprehension by spotting the mistakes the teacher makes in the second example (e.g. I would purposefully make mistakes for students to correct by using the DO’s and DONT’S listed in their checklist worksheet). The teacher still leads the example but it requires student’s participation to complete it.

With Grade 9, the students would research and investigate based on guided questions to find the differences between planets and the Sun in the Solar System along with assembling evidence of their findings.  As a result, by doing the “DO’S and DON’TS” assessment, (based on Bloom’s taxonomy) it gives me an insight on what they have researched and it gives the students the opportunity to use this.  Along with the guided questions, such as how do planets move? Why? Does the Sun move? Why? Etc.  The students will be able to describe and explain what they comprehend on the relationships between planets and the Sun in the Solar System.  By the end of the assessment, this will allow me to provide valuable feedback on the students’ comprehension and as a result, I will be able to help encourage any improvements for the future.

  1. “Draw it”

Here is another mini assessment on how I would evaluate and determine whether the students have met the stated learning outcomes.  I would ask the students to draw what they understand.  I generally use this for all my middle school classes (from Grade 7-9).  As I have mentioned before, students may find it hard to communicate their thoughts or explain what they have learnt in a second language.  By differentiating and allowing the chance for students to draw what they understand gives students another manner to show their understanding.

An example of a “Draw it” activity for a Grade 9 student: Based on what you have found, draw how planets move in the Solar System.

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Rationale
With the Grade 9 example given above, the students are drawing their understanding and are demonstrating it based on what they have found in their research.  Based on Bloom’s taxonomy, the students are demonstrating skills such as remembering, understanding and applying.  As a result, through this medium, I can observe how they communicate their understanding of the relationships between the Sun, Earth, the Moon and other planets which are the objectives based on the Basic Core Education standard 7.1.1. Therefore, by drawing the relationship of the planets and the Sun, the students are creating a visual display to demonstrate how the Sun is in a fixed position and the planet’s orbit around the Sun.

3. “Yes/No chart”

In this mini assessment, I am able to ask students to list what they do and don’t understand about a given topic. They would create a table in their notebooks for what they do on the left side and what they don’t on the right. I would inform the students of my expectations by requesting them to be specific, overly-vague responses don’t count. Students have to be specific because specificity matters!

Here are some examples from the students in Grade 9.

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Rationale
This helps me to understand and evaluate based the Basic Core Education standards 7.1.1 and on Bloom’s order of thinking.  It helps me identify what knowledge they have learnt, analyse and justify what they comprehend, along with what they don’t understand, and it gives the students the opportunity to self-evaluate their understanding by writing it in an organised list form. As a result, the students actively participate and the teacher gets an insight on the student’s comprehension of the relationship between the Sun, Earth, the Moon and other planets.  Therefore, through this method of assessment, the teacher can plan and adapt for future lessons by combining the national standards with the students’ knowledge.

Overall, there are several other formative assessments to help identify what students can do with guidance and what they can do by themselves.  The 3 examples I gave earlier are just some of the ways on how I implement formative assessments.  I do like to involve students in active learning and focus them on their learning goals and objectives.  I also believe formative assessments that involve peer evaluation or self-evaluation, helps students with the social construction of knowledge.  Therefore, formative assessments should really provide feedback on precisely what they need to improve on.  As a result, the teacher will be able to help the students advance and gain the skills necessary to be able to meet their goals and the school standards.

References

Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., Krathwohl, D.R. (1956).Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Clark, R., Chopeta, L. (2004). Graphics for Learning : Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Clark, D. (1999, June 5th). Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains. Retrieved 12 14th, 2016, from nwlink.com: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

Hougan, D. (n.d). Teacher Interview Question: Describe How You Plan your Lessons. Retrieved December 15th, 2016, from roadtoteaching.com: https://roadtoteaching.com/teacher-interview-question-describe-how-you-plan-your-lessons/

Teach Thought. (2013, March 14). 10 Assessments You Can Perform In 90 Seconds. Retrieved December 14th, 2016, from teachtought.com: http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/assessment/10-assessments-you-can-perform-in-90-seconds/

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Understanding and Applying Standards: Reflection

In this unit, I have been looking at standards for my private government school in Thailand. The school tends to follow the Basic Education Core Curriculum from the M.O.E (Ministry of Education of Thailand) and more recently this year, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  At first, it was difficult to obtain the updated standards for the school, as a majority of the information was in Thai only and no one, unfortunately, had an updated translated version.  The only translated version I was able to acquire was from 2008.
We first looked at unpacking standards.  At initial glance, looking at the standards does seem a little overwhelming, but the course allowed me to break down and unpack the standards to help identify what the students will need to know and how they will meet those standards.  I first started at highlighting key verbs and nouns within the standard.  As a result, this enabled me to break down what is the required learning for the students.

For example;

Students Proficiency
1. Research for relevant information and provide evidence.
2. Explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets.
3. Demonstrate their knowledge gained and apply it along with using mathematics for designing and creating a scaled model of the Solar System in a team.
backward_mapping_mapsandlanterns-org_

Another way to help put these standards into a good perspective is to begin at the end.  Otherwise known as backwards planning or backwards mapping.  The basic idea motivating backwards design is to start with the end goal.  This helps teachers put it into the perspective of what expectations they need to set for the students in order for them to achieve their goals.  I didn’t know originally this was a term or a teaching practice.  It is something we sort of practice within my school.  At the beginning of every term before the school officially starts, the school provides the overviews of topics.  In a meeting with the Director of the school, she explains her expectations on how she would like students to be assessed and explains what our goals will be for our students.
In summary, the Director of our school provided us with the end result for what students should have attained.  From there, we the teachers can build lesson plans around these goals accordingly.

Later, I observed a video from the Teacher Channel based on a strategy called SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To).  I feel this video would definitely be useful for my teachers within my school to assist them.

https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/making-lesson-objectives-clear
(link provided – SWBAT: Communicating Learning Goals)

This is about the importance of communicating learning goals for the students.  A helpful phrase such as SWBAT can help identify for students, what they will be doing and how it will be accomplished, “students will be able to…”.  I’ve honestly never thought of using a technique like this in the classroom but after seeing the benefits of this in the video, I believe I can definitely start to implement this in my future classes.    It’s another great way of setting short-term/long-term expectations for the class.
This unit also showed me how to incorporate SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Targeted to the learner).  Along with the influence of Blooms Taxonomy, I was able to create and plan student objectives that were specific, measurable or observable, could be attained by the students, relevant, results orientated and targeted the desired level of learning to combine and meet the school standards.

objectives-for-_18862850_fbcbab9acefe8b192bdbca341532db1b694310d4.jpeg

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/18862850-objectives-for-standards
(My SMART Goals for Grade 9 Science in Thailand)

Overall, I’ve learnt about unpacking a standard, backwards mapping and writing student objectives.  I found this incredibly helpful in planning my lessons and teaching to the standards mentioned earlier.  I believe it’s important for teachers like myself to continue, share and find ways to improve for the benefit of our students and their future.  I know how every student is different, hence why I like to provide many various differentiated assessments for the students to participate, apply, explain and demonstrate their understanding.  After learning more about standards this week, I am determined to apply what I’ve learnt so far, by improving my planning and setting attainable goals to help prepare and benefit my 21st Century students for tomorrows learning world.

 

References

Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn &
Bacon.

Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., Krathwohl, D.R. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Clark, R., Chopeta, L. (2004). Graphics for Learning : Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

Ministry of Education. (2008). The Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008). Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from act.ac.th: http://www.act.ac.th/document/1741.pdf

STEM EDUCATION THAILAND. (2014). รู้จักสะเต็ม. Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from stemedthailand.org: http://www.stemedthailand.org/?page_id=23 Teaching Channel. (2016).

SWBAT: Communicating learning goals. Retrieved December 7th, 2016, from teachingchannel.org: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/making-lesson-objectives-clear

 

 

Standards and Backwards Mapping

Science – Grade 9

School: Private Government Bilingual School

Standards: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) & Basic Education Core

Science: Application of knowledge and scientific process for study and search for knowledge and systematic problem-solving; logical, analytical and constructive thinking; and scientific- mindedness.

Strand 7: Astronomy and Space: The Solar System

Standard Sc7.1

Understanding of evolution of the solar system, galaxies and the universe; interrelationships within the Solar System and their effects on living things on the Earth; having an investigative process for seeking knowledge and scientific reasoning, and communicating acquired knowledge that could be applied for useful purposes.

Grade level indicators
1. Search for relevant information and explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets, and the effects on the environment and living things on Earth.
2. Search for relevant information and explain components of the universe, galaxies and the Solar System.
3. Specify the position of constellations, and apply the knowledge gained for useful purposes.

Backwards mapping
“The basic rationale motivating backwards [mapping] is that starting with the end goal” (Abott 2014). This helps teachers put it into the perspective of what expectations they need to set for the students in order for them to achieve their goals.

Learners’ Key Competencies
1. Communication capacity
2. Thinking capacity
3. Problem-solving capacity
4. Capacity for applying life skills
5. Capacity for technological application

Project and Activities

Mind mapping
In the beginning, I will ask the students to create a mind map of the solar system.  I will inform the students on how they will have 5 minutes to write as many things they may know already about our Solar System.  Including any facts they remember, seen, heard or have learnt before this class or if they would like to use their textbook they can.  The tasks will be on display for students to refer to if they need reminding of what the tasks are and what is expected of them.  After the allotted time has finished I will pick students at random to share one thing they have written.  Other students can choose to add this information if they don’t have it or raise their hand to comment/give feedback.

Google forms
Based on the mind mapping class, the students fill in and reflect on what they remember from this class on the google forms usually at home.  There are a mix of multiple choice questions and open questions, then their answers will be reviewed in the next class.  I teach the students twice a week and I usually remind them in the last class of that current week to complete the google form. The time scale is 1 week and I generally aim to keep it short as the students are given a lot of homework in their respective Thai subjects.

Assessment Plan and Application

Students Proficiency
1. Research for relevant information and provide evidence.
2. Explain relationships between the Sun, Earth, the moon and other planets.
3. Demonstrate their knowledge gained and apply it along with using mathematics for designing and creating a scaled model of the Solar System in a team.

Skills
Research – Discover or find facts/knowledge and provide evidence (reading)
Explain – To communicate their understanding of what the students found (comprehension, writing, speaking and collaborating)
Design and create – to use mathematics to scale the sizes of the planets and the Sun (problem-solving and collaboration)
Demonstrate and apply – use their knowledge to create and display their understanding (practical assessment, technological application)

Forms of Assessment
As all students are different, I tend to aim to provide various ways in which students can be assessed.   I usually make groups of 3 or 4 students to collaborate and work together on their project assessments (P.A).

Here are the list of ways the students can choose to demonstrate their knowledge.

Scaled model
The students can design and create a scaled model based off the Solar System, raising awareness of the sizes of the planets and other various facts about the Solar System.

Comic Book Strip / Poster
Students can draw a poster or create a comic book strip to place around the school to create awareness of the facts of our Solar System. They can also use programs such as Piktochart or Microsoft Publisher or any other software to design or create.

Make a video / TV Commercial (YouTube post)
The students can make their own video ad campaign that can aid in raising awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  If students don’t have a webcam/camera/camcorder, they can record and edit on their phones now.  Students can even use free apps such as Viva video that could aid in creating a video or search for top ten free online video editors and choose any they like.  This activity tends to be a favourite as many students already have a youtube account.

Here is an example from a previous project based on Natural disasters in Science with Grade 9

A short-skit / Play
The students can perform a skit or a play that deals with creating awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  The students can negotiate who their target audience can be and inform the time and date of when they can show it.

PowerPoint / Feature board presentation
The students can create a PowerPoint/presentation about creating awareness of the facts of our Solar System.  The PowerPoint/presentation must include text, visuals, custom animation, slide transitions and sounds (where available).  The end of the presentation can include a 5 multiple choice quiz to test that the audience had been attentive and include the correct answers.  Students can even use other forms of digital presentations such as Prezi or another presentation tool.

Here is another example below of a group in Grade 8 performing and presenting their research on Substances.

Why this standard?
I choose the activities and the projects for the students to be assessed but the standards are chosen by my private bilingual school in Thailand.  I can be creative and have diverse projects or assessments as long as the teachers adhere to the STEM and Basic Education Core Curriculum in Thailand (2008).  I believe this is because they both complement each other in what the school desires for the children to benefit and achieve in the long-term of their education, such as researching, student-centred learning, collaboration etc. As I have mentioned before in previous blogs, Thailand has admitted that they are in an education crisis.  M.O.E (Ministry of Education Thailand) claimed how the teaching process should “aim at enabling learners to develop themselves at their own pace and to the best of their potentiality” (OEC, 2008).  It became an act in 1999 due to the economic crisis in 1997, the M.O.E needed to prepare the citizens for new challenges with globalization and set up students with the skills to thrive in the 21st century.  In summary, the M.O.E had recognised a changed was needed as most of their schools had been teacher-centred.  With reports from the UNESCO stating that “The Thai higher education system is facing a crisis.  A large proportion of university graduates are not sufficiently competent in their fields” (ICEF Monitor, 2015).  As a result, it created a rote learning experience which didn’t prepare students for their future in university and in their chosen careers.

By doing these projects and activities stated before,I am aiming to benefit and help students practice and gain the necessary skills mentioned earlier.  Enabling students in the long-term to participate in the 21st century and in tomorrows learning world.

References

สาขาเทคโนโลยีทางการศึกษา สสวท. (2014, September 8th). STEM Education Thailand. Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gfPd67-UUg

Abbott, S. (2014, August 26).  Hidden curriculum  (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum

California Institue of Technology. (2002). From a different angle: Exploring origins. Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov: http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/educate/diffangle/exploring/index.html

Ministry Of Eduction. (1992, June 28th). Retrieved from moe.gov.np: http://www.moe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/2049_English.pdf

The Nation. (2016, August 22). Retrieved from The Nation, Thailand’s Independent Newspaper: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Military-precision-is-just-what-Thai-education-nee-30256709.html

ICEF Monitor. (2015, January 20). Retrieved August 23, 2016, from http://monitor.icef.com/2015/01/political-uncertainty-thailand-slows-planned-education-reforms/

Inthai Dotco. (2011, October 5th). เพลงชาติไทย. Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPVSHiy2vYE

Maxwell, D. (2014, October 17). Asian Correspondent. Retrieved August 22, 2016, from Asian Corresponndent: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2014/10/education-in-thailand-changing-times/

Maxwell, D., & Kamnansilpa, P. (2016, January 3). Declare education in a state of emergency. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from Bangkok Post: http://www.bangkokpost.com/print/881664/

Ministry of Education. (2008). The Basic Education Core Curriculum B.E. 2551 (A.D. 2008). Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from act.ac.th: http://www.act.ac.th/document/1741.pdf

Nadir, I. (2012, December 8th). Grade 8 – Presentation/Skit – Substances . Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT_aeu5xBCI

OEC. (2008). Education in Thailand. Bangkok: Office of the Education Council.

ParKilleRz Ch. (2016, November 27th). SCI WORK PITAWAT GROUP. Retrieved from youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIr-TI2jDa4&feature=youtu.be

SES. (2009). School History. Retrieved December 6th, 2016, from ektra.ac.th: http://www.ektra.ac.th/EngVersion/about.html

STEM EDUCATION THAILAND. (2014). รู้จักสะเต็ม. Retrieved December 5th, 2016, from stemedthailand.org: http://www.stemedthailand.org/?page_id=23