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Assignment No 1



Module title & Code ASSESSMENT PRACTICES AP 221

Module Tutor/Lecturer A. MOLATHWE

Due Date SEPTEMBER 2018

Student Number

1a. It can prevent the achievement gap: Gaps in knowledge and ability between
disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers open up long before kindergarten, tend
to persist throughout life, and are difficult and costly to close. Taking a proactive approach to
cognitive and social skill development through investments in quality early childhood
programs is more effective and economically efficient than trying to close the gap later on.

1b. It can improve health outcomes: Research by Professor Heckman and colleagues has
shown dramatic long-term health effects of early interventions for disadvantaged children that
incorporate early education, nutrition and health. More than 30 years later, treatment group
individuals were at significantly lower risk for serious cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,
such as stroke and diabetes. These findings demonstrate the great potential of coordinated birth-
to-age-five early childhood programs to prevent chronic disease, reduce healthcare costs and
produce a flourishing society.

3. Teachers at all levels need to measure how well their students are learning. Traditionally,
formal tests and written examinations were the only forms of assessment used to determine
students' grades and reflect their knowledge and understanding of the material that was taught.
Informal methods of assessment, such as checklists and observation of daily work, have
become increasingly popular but have not replaced formal assessment.

Concrete and Measurable Evidence of Learning: Formal assessment provides concrete,

measurable and objective evidence of learning. Standardised tests are popular because they
have been vetted for reliability. Teachers can use test results to measure student progress over
time and also to compare one group of students to another. For example, a teacher might
administer a test that measures knowledge and understanding of a topic such as photosynthesis
before the subject has been introduced, and then administer the same test at the end of the unit
to measure the knowledge gained.

Formal Assessment Helps to Sort Students: Frequent formal assessment gives meaningful
feedback to students and their parents; this is especially important for students who are
experiencing learning problems. These objective measures of achievement can assist in
determining the most appropriate course of study for students and help convince parents to
place their child in a recommended program. Results of formal assessment are also useful when

determining which students are most deserving of awards and prizes as well as for counselling
students about their postsecondary options.

Formal Assessment May Be Stressful: Students frequently find formal assessments stressful.
They may suffer from text anxiety to such an extreme that they freeze and momentarily forget
everything they learnt; in such cases their test results will not be an accurate reflection of their
learning. Test conditions might become so unpleasant for them that it negatively impacts their
future learning. Students who cram the night before a test might get a relatively good mark but
may not retain the information over time. Some students might resort to cheating in high-stakes

Flawed Test Construction: A badly worded question might lead students to misinterpret the
problem and miss the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. Teachers might
unintentionally allow their personal bias about what they consider important to unfairly
determine what part of the material will be included on -- or excluded from -- the test; students
who know only a limited amount of material may achieve a high score if the test places a great
deal of emphasis on the section they happen to know well. Unfortunately, not all tests are
constructed to actually measure what they are intended to measure.

2. A. i) Narrative approaches emerged in the 1980’s with the social constructionist movement
and other relativist approaches to social sciences. Narrative approaches have primarily been
located in the relativist ontological position. From this position, nothing is deemed to exist
outside language and events, occurrences or even the boundaries between perceived objects
exist only in language. Practice from this perspective is concerned with understanding how
individuals identify, order and come to put meaning onto events and how the individual shapes
themselves through the stories they create about themselves, others and the world around them.
For White & Epston (1990) problems can be created because of the ‘stories’ people draw on
or create. Over time it is understood that a dominant plot may emerge that can create and sustain
problems for the individual or, at the very least, can serve to restrict individuals in analyzing
their story critically. The aim of narrative social work practitioners is to work with people to
bring forth alternative stories or to thicken contradictions to the problems saturated story so
that they do not support or sustain problems. White’s (1986, 1988/89, 1991) methodology,
involves externalising social and behavioural difficulties that enable service users to
reconstruct the dominant problem saturated story/plot.

The assumption from which the narrative approach is developed is that people make meaning
and meaning is not made for us. Such stories may be formed from discourses which Foucault
identified and described as ‘practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak’.
In this sense, a discourse is a group of statements which provide a language for talking about -
a way of representing the knowledge about - a particular topic at a particular historical moment.
For simplicity’s sake, discourses can be understood here as ideas that exist in linguistic or
behavioural forms e.g. sexism exists as a discourse arising from the use of words and the
sentences, and as a behavioural practice. Such discourses can be identified in the context of
service users’ lives and problems; for example, depression, stress, and alcoholic. These terms
provide a language for talking about; a way of representing what an alcoholic might look like.
Such descriptions produce a set of expectations that positions the person within an available
discourse. For example, wife or mother; these reflect a particular positioning in relation to
others. However, it is possible to hold positions in several discourses at the same time. For
example, a wife may also be feminist. For White, the extensive use of Foucault’s notion of
discourse is emphasized in the context of removing relatively fixed qualities which are ascribed
to persons, specifically in the context of identity. Thus, in our narratives, outline perceptions
of self and which assumes that identity is not stable or a fixed singular entity. Moreover, people

do not just choose a discourse from an available menu but rather can create, reinforce and
sustain dominant discourses.

ii) An assessment and accountability system for young children should incorporate the
characteristics of quality discussed above. The following are examples of early childhood
assessment tools, one or more of which could be included in a quality assessment system for
young children. When used together in an assessment system, these tools will yield meaningful
and useful information to teachers, parents, and administrators.

Observations and Checklists A well-defined checklist with observation training is critical and
essential for an assessment system. Observations of child behaviors and skills provide the
teacher with a powerful measure of a child’s abilities. For example, a teacher observation of a
child retelling what happened last night at home with a big smile and expressive language is a
truer measure of oral language skills than asking the child to retell a story in an unfamiliar

Anecdotal Records Anecdotal records are short, factual, narrative descriptions of child
behaviors and skills over time. Anecdotal records should be as objective as possible and only
a few sentences long for example, Gina, age 4, chose the library center today. She pretended
to read Peter Rabbit to two doll babies and Jessica. She showed the picture at each page turn.
Running records are similar to anecdotal records but are much longer. An observer objectively
writes in a narrative format everything the child did and said for a specific time period such as
thirty minutes. Running records are especially helpful in analyzing social skill development
or behavior concerns. Running records also can be narrowly focused to a subject area such as
a running record that documents the accuracy and miscue strategies of a child reading a specific
passage. portfolio is also a flexible and adaptable collection over time of various concrete work
samples showing many dimensions of the child’s learning. This type of assessment tool is
particularly ideal for use in the primary grades when children are developing knowledge and
skills in several subject areas at different rates. This type of assessment also focuses on the
child’s strengths and demonstrations of knowledge and skills.

2. B. i) Teachers are always working for their students. Preparing lesson plans, working on
creating just the right assignments and notes, keeping parents informed and doing everything
to help the kids learn and grow in the best ways possible.

The pointers below mention the challenges faced by teachers every day in the classroom.

Disrespectful behavior from students is also a problem teacher usually face. Disrespectful
behaviour in schools across the globe is widely recognized. Young people see examples of
disrespectful attitudes towards teachers on television and in the movies. To combat these
negative portrayals, teachers need to encourage parents to become involved in their children's
education. Building rapport with parents will encourage them to teach their children to respect
their teachers and value their education. Teachers are sometimes afraid to discipline a student
because of risk of lawsuit if they fail to handle situation correctly. Teachers require support of
parents, administration and school board in this regard. Often, young students show an ignoring
and neglecting behaviour as they do not know understand the importance of education. Such
uninterested and unmotivated students are a real challenge. This behavior of students not only
disturbs the teacher and becomes one of the reasons for lack of motivation but also leads to
disturbances in the class. Teachers can overcome this problem by understanding what their
students are interested in. Teachers can then help their students achieving their goals by
encouraging them.

Sleep deprived and lethargic students are quite irritating for teachers. Such students find it
difficult to concentrate in class and appear bored. Lethargy and exhaustion may be caused by
many factors one of which is doing job in parallel to studies. To solve this problem, teachers
need to talk to students and their parents as well. Teachers have a great responsibility and to
meet this responsibility, teachers need support and help. Parents and school administration
should communicate properly with teachers for betterment of students and class discipline.
Teachers also complain about lack of parental cooperation and guidance with them. A student
can become successful only when parents support his teachers. But in fact, parents start
attacking teacher when they hear complain from their kid against teacher. Parents like to defend
their child without knowing their child’s behavior and problems.

ii) With the release of the National Science Education Standards, the issues of why, how, and
what we, as teachers, assess in our classrooms will become a major challenge in the
multifaceted science reform effort currently underway. As educators are changing their ideas
about what constitutes exemplary inquiry-based learning, and recognizing that science is an
active process that encourages higher-order thinking and problem solving, there is an increased
need to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Classroom assessment techniques are
focusing on aligning assessments more closely with the instructional strategies actually used
with children.

The Nature of Assessment

Assessment can be defined as a sample taken from a larger domain of content and process skills
that allows one to infer student understanding of a part of the larger domain being explored.
The sample may include behaviours, products, knowledge, and performances. Assessment is a
continuous, ongoing process that involves examining and observing children's behaviours,
listening to their ideas, and developing questions to promote conceptual understanding. The
term authentic assessment is often referred to in any discussion of assessment and can be
thought of as an examination of student performance and understanding on significant tasks
that have relevancy to the student's life inside and outside of the classroom. The increasing
focus on the development of conceptual understanding and the ability to apply science process
skills is closely aligned with the emerging research on the theory of constructivism. This theory
has significant implications for both instruction and assessment, which are considered by some
to be two sides of the same coin. Constructivism is a key underpinning of the National Science
Education Standards. Constructivism is the idea that learning is an active process of building
meaning for oneself. Thus, students fit new ideas into their already existing conceptual
frameworks. Constructivists believe that the learners' preconceptions and ideas about science
are critical in shaping new understanding of scientific concepts. Assessment based on
constructivist theory must link the three related issues of student prior knowledge (and
misconceptions), student learning styles (and multiple abilities), and teaching for depth of
understanding rather than for breadth of coverage. Meaningful assessment involves examining
the learner's entire conceptual network, not just focusing on discreet facts and principles.

The Purpose of Assessment

Critical to educators is the use of assessment to both inform and guide instruction. Using a wide
variety of assessment tools allows a teacher to determine which instructional strategies are
effective and which need to be modified. In this way, assessment can be used to improve
classroom practice, plan curriculum, and research one's own teaching practice. Of course,
assessment will always be used to provide information to children, parents, and administrators.
In the past, this information was primarily expressed by a "grade". Increasingly, this
information is being seen as a vehicle to empower students to be self-reflective learners who
monitor and evaluate their own progress as they develop the capacity to be self-directed
learners. In addition to informing instruction and developing learners with the ability to guide
their own instruction, assessment data can be used by a school district to measure student
achievement, examine the opportunity for children to learn, and provide the basis for the
evaluation of the district's science program. Assessment is changing for many reasons. The
valued outcomes of science learning and teaching are placing greater emphasis on the child's
ability to inquire, to reason scientifically, to apply science concepts to real-world situations,
and to communicate effectively what the child knows about science. Assessment of scientific
facts, concepts, and theories must be focused not only on measuring knowledge of subject
matter, but on how relevant that knowledge is in building the capacity to apply scientific
principles on a daily basis. The teacher's role in the changing landscape of assessment requires
a change from merely a collector of data, to a facilitator of student understanding of scientific


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