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Journal 9 – Noula discusses assessment and reflects on the project

Assessment

I used three main assessment strategies. They were students' journals, observation of students during learning activities and student-produced work. I felt these suited the sorts of activities I planned. They were also non-threatening like tests etc.

I was able to sit with each group and observe and discuss their work, while I knew the other groups had the Aboriginal tutors to assist. The more people in the room for activities such as these the better. As a classroom teacher it can get very difficult to use observations effectively for assessment. With the Aboriginal tutors assisting with the students' learning they too are able to make anecdotal notes on the students in their group. This can be very valuable in the assessment process. The journals provided some insight into the way the students perceive activities. Also the way they feel and what they have learnt from the experiences. Many students' do find it hard to express themselves in both written and verbal forms. That was why I also chose to use their completed drawings, paintings and modeling to assess. So I do feel I have used the most effective assessment strategies for the activities I designed.

The criterion-based checklists were used to record the information gathered from the assessment strategies. This made it easy for me to see what skills have been mastered or are developing and what needs further reinforcement. From studying the completed assessment records, I was able to gauge the success of my unit on these. I was extremely pleased with the results. I believe that the unit was a success in many ways. Firstly community involvement; the Aboriginal tutors were on hand to help during the implementation of lessons, they worked cooperatively with groups. Daphne with the Aboriginal community played a big part in the planning of the unit and helped shape the direction as the lessons were being taught. I was able to gain a better insight into parental expectations and their feelings about school and more importantly Mathematics. Teachers are rarely able to gather such insights, and this also helped me understand and appreciate the community more. Their honesty and contributions helped make the learning more meaningful and this resulted in success for the students in Mathematics. I am honoured to have been able to work with such wonderful people that have enriched both the students and myself.

Secondly, giving Mathematics some relevance to the students in my class. Relating Mathematics to their lives. Often during the unit the students would say to me how much they enjoyed Mathematics time, it was fun. The hands-on approach gave all students success and the group work gave them a chance to share ideas with their peers. As well as the Mathematics that went on, the students also learnt about the Aboriginal culture. This was a benefit to all the students and myself! I will continue to teach Mathematics in this way next term as the experiences they have had are now the foundation for others to be built on.

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Journal 9 – Noula discussed assessment and reflects on the project