Transparency in Assessments, reflecting on power in the classroom

When I first started teaching, I never felt fully confident in my assessments. I liaised with other instructors in the program as we were delivering the same content, but all of the evaluations with the exception of exams and final practical test had no rubrics or indication on how the students were being marked. This made me uncomfortable, I couldn’t imagine how the students felt!


As I began to understand more about education and moved on to another school, I was introduced to more a more professional rubric structure. I still found this challenging, as the assessment was only summative, and there was nothing formative. Students could achieve a very high mark, but nothing was assessed on productivity , waste, or process. Many other instructors in the program felt the same way, in collaboration many of us have switched to a points system that gives daily formative assessments based upon process: efficiency, following instruction, cleanliness, and waste. These are crucial skills that can be guided and re-enforced in the classroom to prepare our learners for industry.

I always explain the grading assessments on the first day of class, and with our LMS we can input comment on a daily basis on the process mark. I attempt to ensure that whatever comment or deduction I make, I explain and guide the student in the classroom to give them immediate awareness and opportunity to improve. Occasionally, when there is effort to improve, this will be reflected in the comments and can alter the initial grade. As stated by Brookfield in Chapter 18, The Skillful Teacher, “Students won’t always like the way we do these things,…………………….but they will be far more likely to accept our judgments if we are up front about what we’re looking for and if we are willing to explain why we’ve assigned a specific grade.”

Stephen D. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher, Page 244, Jossey Bass 2015


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