I often think one of the most difficult point of being teacher is a correct assessment. Now, at the end of the first semester, this is a real problem to me.
In my career as a teacher I went through two different assessment systems:
1) having to write reports of evaluation and 2) having to give marks.
It’s funny to change from one day to the other, but it’s the leaders of the education sector who decide.
Many pedagogical books I read say writing reports could be much better, because reports are more personal, and help our pupils’ learning process. A report could be a summary about the development of the learners' competences and it helps raising self-confidence and motivation.
But in the practice? The National Core Curriculum defines the common content requirements and development tasks of public education.
As a primary school teacher, skills like reading, writing or numeracy are of vital importance in terms of evaluation. As there are different levels, there are different descriptions of skills.
We had pre-written descriptions (sentences) and we, teachers, had the opportunity to choose from different sentences to find the most appropriate evaluation for our pupils.
I often found that these phrases were not correct enough. Maybe the first part was good, but the following was not appropriate for my pupil. Sometimes I’d like to mix the phrases that could be found in the report card.
After I gave the evaluations to my pupils, parents came and asked me: ‘Great, but what does it mean? What mark would that be?’ It often happened that the evaluation of competences and skills were not obvious or easy to understand for parents.
Now we are in a period when we give marks again. We have marks from 1 to 5.
On the one side it’s true, now parents know what a mark means.
But there are differences...
I have pupils with special needs. If I give them a 3, it means – „fair, average”. But, for me it doesn’t mean the same: she/he did sometimes more than another child with the same mark in my class.
Numbers are very strict, don’t you agree? And.. what can we evaluate?
Take, for instance, test results. Sometimes it happens that when I correct the mistakes in a test, I know one of my pupils was just stressed or anxious, and even if he/she didn’t write the correct answer, if I could ask him/her again, I would hear the correct one.
So, of course I use more strategies, not only tests during the semester, and I try to give more than one single opportunity to them.
It is only, I didn’t find the best solution.
Marks or writing reports? Or something else?
What do you think?