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Observation undoubtedly is one of the most effective elements of assessment. Continuous observation of the learning skills/work habits helps to figure out various strengths, interest and needs of students which will surely help in further programming and making necessary changes to facilitate caring, positive, inclusive environment which help to improve child’s learning skills. Student’s work habits go a long way in helping students to fill in their achievement gaps as well. For example-In kindergarten, observing students behavior during play time (indoor and outdoor), inquiry based projects, their interaction and engagement with material, helping in winding up resources, how well they get along with peers, builds consensus to achieve group goals, making choices etc. in a way demonstrates their learning skills/ work habits visible which is not possible in paper and pencil assessments. However, it is imperative that these observations need to be documented be it in the form of anecdotal records, video recording etc.
Conversations and dialogue between student and teacher helps to understand student’s learning.
Beside observations, conferences are required to collect explicit information related to ongoing task. It presents verification of student’s development. For example, in kindergarten, these conversations can happen when students are engaged in math center. Playing and interacting with students using counters will help to understand their knowledge about number sense or asking inquiry based questions during water play will inform us about their discoveries. Also, conferencing fosters stronger relationships between teacher and students as it connects them in a meaningful way. Though it has to be taken care of that goal of conferencing is to help students learn how to solve their own problem with the given cues and not sharing direct answers. It further helps students to reflect on their work and plan the next steps to reach the learning goals.
Descriptive feedback is the most powerful tool for improving student learning. The ongoing, timely and meaningful feedback not only helps students to know where they have to put their efforts but also provide them numerous opportunities to refine their learning goals and thus helps to reach at their academic excellence. As teachers, we should guard against the tendency to praise everything (“that is wonderful”, “Great work”, “amazing”…) at the expense of giving meaningful feedback that will help students improve. Instead of using throw away phrases, teacher very descriptively needs to share what the student has done well and what they can do to improve. For example instead of saying “Good Job!” teacher should give descriptive feedback like – Good work on organizing your paragraph. Could you think of some descriptive words that would help a reader get a clear “mind picture” of how bad the storm really was? One thing which need to be taken care of is that the teacher should start giving feedback with a positive note s/he has noticed about the student—the student’s interests, efforts, and goings-on. When we tell students we noticed what they’ve done well, we begin to establish a supportive connection, an essential step before talking about a behavior that isn’t working.
As we read before in the previous modules that the role of the In-School Support Team is to provide internal support to students with LD. The information given by the class teacher using different assessment strategies including observations and conferences works as a guideline for them to evaluate and reviewing students’ progress . Thus, suggesting needed strategies and interventions to help students. The In-school support team meets regularly to evaluate the student’s progress. However, when they feel that the given intervention is not able to meet child’s needs then they take the help of Out of School Support Team Out of School Support (i.e. psychology consultant, social worker, community partners including parents- guardians etc.). The Out of School Support Team (SST) reviews the education goals and shares strategies that are based on the student’s unique learning profile. This team offers additional knowledge and expertise by including representatives from special education, psychology, social worker, speech-language pathology, occupational.
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