Assessment in mathematics creates a lot of ‘angst’ among many students. Therefore I provide my students with multiple opportunities to improve their marks, for example, those who performed well do not have to re-write a test, but those who do want to improve, may take another scheduled test. I use the test answers of the students as a learning opportunity by sharing what I have noticed. Thus, assessment goes beyond the mere recording of marks.
Students are also provided with memos and sample previous tests, especially first-year students, who are still very ‘fresh’ in their first six months at university., placed on the LEARN portal. The same applies to written assignments, as students are given a second opportunity to obtain a minimum pass mark for an assignment, if they did not meet the requirement in the first instance.
For me, assessment is not about the accumulation of marks, rather, I use informal and formal assessment to inform my teaching AND my SUPPORT to my students. Some of my assessment tools include critical self-reflection by means of free-writing, guided prompt or question based reflective writing, classroom discussions and the sharing of one's thinking and understanding. These tools enable me to plan for interventions by means of providing extra contact sessions. I provide extra contact sessions for students who require more assistance or who wants to practice more examples or want me to re-explain something. The students indicate what times during the week they are available and then I plan arround them and book a venue in our Faculty of Education.
I recently started to introduce my students in my Philosophy of Education module to cellphilms. Instead of using traditional written essays as assessment tool, I showed students how to develop their own cellphilms as a group to reflect on the Educational Philosophy module and to share their insights regarding the learning and any changes that this module brought about. The whole process, including planning by means of storyboarding, were explained to them and time in class was provided for students to plan collectively in their groups. To explore the cellphilms and the process, click on the link. (click here)
I develop rubrics and tests. I include a few examples of the types of practical assignments that I use, as well as the associated rubrics (click here to view). I also provide a Study Letter to my students, including the assessment dates, with my modules.
The assignments are used for formative assessment purposes. Students who do not achieve 50% in an assignment are provided with an opportunity to re-do the task, but the maximum possible mark is then only 50%.
I try to implement various assessment strategies, not only traditional tests, for example group presentations, poster design related to mathematics, lesson design on topics related to the module, essays, etc. I am not the only one that assess, I also provide opportunities for self-assessment to ascertain how the students value their assignments. In addition, I also provide during poster assessment for example, opportunities for several assessments by different people. This I do by asking students in the first phase to do self-assessment. In the second phase, two groups assess the same poster and then in the third phase I as lecturer do the assessing. What is interesting is the honesty of the students in the vast majority of the cases. When calculating the average of the marks in the three phases, I find my mark and the average mark do not deviate much.
I also assist students to assess their progress in modules, for example the 3rd year BEd Research Module PSED305 students do self reflection [Click here to view the reflection tool] and I also provide opportunities for my Masters students to reflect on their progress (See example below).
Module Evaluations PICM202 (Click on links below to view)