What are the most appealing ideas expressed by the author(s)?
Assessment is one of the most important parts of the educational process. It is usually performed by the educators and thoroughly prepared. Assessment and grading are highly responsible activities, and the teachers require specific knowledge and training in order to be able to create and deliver the most accurate, appropriate, and successful assessments. Chappuis, Commodore, and Stiggins emphasize that assessment cannot be separated from the instruction.
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To be more precise, assessment and instruction are two stages of the same process, and the former drives the latter. Practically, the educators are to use assessment as the method serving to collect data about the learners’ academic success, achievements, proficiency, and problems. Further, based on this data, the instruction is formulated and delivered. One of the most appealing ideas of Chappuis, Commodore, and Stiggins is the addition of the students to the assessment process as self-assessors.
This approach makes the learners much more independent and autonomous as academic performers. It adds it provides the teachers with more resources for a successful assessment. However, teaching the students how to assess their own performance, progress, and problems is quite a complicated task because it requires a high level of emotional maturity and critical thinking from the learners. Moreover, the students’ self-assessment is only going to be successful when there is a desire to improve and actually work on their weaknesses and strengths. In other words, to add learners as self-assessors, a teacher is to first prepare them and help them develop such skills as critical thinking while keeping them motivated about education.
What are the implications of the ideas in the book for you as an educator?
As an educator, I became inspired by the ideas presented by Chappuis, Commodore, and Stiggins. At the same time, I realized that the authors’ perspective encourages educators to raise the bar much higher. I believe that the main implication for educators is the need to loosen up control over the classrooms and grant more autonomy to the learners. After all, the world has been changing rather fast recently, and it surely moves towards more independent education with the students in control of its various aspects.
In other words, the learners become more independent and become able to impact the learning process, direct it, and regulate their own performance and success. Giving up the authoritative approach may be challenging for some teachers because, for decades, it has been quite an autocratic field where the teacher was the only source of instruction and direction. Today, professionals such as Chappuis, Commodore, and Stiggins encourage other educators to change their habitual ways and bring more freedom to education and learning.
This idea may sound easy to accomplish, while in reality, it is filled with versatile challenges in the spheres of classroom management, work organization, time management, allocation of resources and materials, selection of techniques and subjects, and finally, evaluation, grading, and assessment. Providing more independence to the students in terms of self-assessment would inevitably affect the contribution of the students to the other aspects of teaching. To some educators, this may sound like an interesting change, while to others, this is a frustrating thought related to confusion in the workplace.
What ideas of the author, if any, do you challenge? Why?
The idea of students taking over the parts of an assessment in the learning process sounds like a great idea of Chappuis, Commodore, and Stiggins. However, since this idea was the one that captured my attention the most, I am prepared to challenge it as an educator. First of all, regardless of the potential benefits for both the teachers and the learners, this approach requires a lot of preparation and coaching.
To be more precise, the classrooms or individuals unprepared to conduct self-assessment, interpret their results appropriately, or accept the criticism will simply be unable to embrace the whole practice of the addition of students to the assessment process as assessors. That is why, I believe that attempting to begin this practice, the teachers are to ensure whether or not the class is ready to handle it or which people or groups of learners may not respond to it well. In the case of such fragmentation, the assessment types would have to vary for different groups of learners.
In other words, this practice may turn out to be rather helpful for the learners and the educator as an experience and help both parties develop new perspectives and acquire valuable knowledge; or this practice may prove unsuccessful. Moreover, for it to work properly, not only the students need to be prepared to undergo such change. The educators require training as well because allowing the learners to conduct assessments on a regular basis is going to change the education process dramatically and alter the roles of both parties. Basically, in order to be able to start this progressive and highly interesting practice and prepare the students, the educators are to be prepared themselves.