My role as a teaching assistant is to support the teacher while they assess and monitor pupil’s achievement. The teacher can measure progress of students by having clear lesson objectives the children should meet and have assessments to check if those lesson objectives have been met.
These lesson objectives should be made clear to the pupils so it is obvious what they would be observed on. The teacher needs to be aware of all progression made by all children in their class. They should also be able to record and update both parents and other staff members on student’s progress and achievement. A teaching assistant however, helps more with extraneous variables in children’s and young people’s achievements rather than a direct approach. Teaching assistants assess children’s and young people’s progress and achievements through observation and assisting them when they need help. As a teaching assistant one of my roles is to help reduce stress, workload and disruptions in class that may affect learner’s achievements.
Formative assessment is the wide range of methods that teachers use to do evaluations of student’s learning needs and academic progress. This helps teachers to pinpoint what children and young people may be struggling in or finding difficult to grasp so that they can adapt teaching techniques in lessons and to provide more support. Formative assessments can range from a lot of things as long as the information gained is important for the teacher to plan in a continuous manner. It could be classroom observation, SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) tests or comprehensive assessments. There is no frequency points for formative assessments to be made so they can be done whenever the teacher feels it is necessary.
Summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of each curriculum unit. This is done by comparing the child’s or young person’s work with some standard expected work. These assessments have high value and can take form as standardised tests, written or oral product. This is important as it allows teachers to see the progress of the student’s work and abilities throughout the entire learning process.
It is also imperative that teachers have evidence of what students have learned during the process.Characteristics of assessment learning are believing that every pupil can improve from their previous state, sharing learning objectives with pupils, pupils learning self-assessment techniques to discover areas of improvement, providing feedback that helps pupils to identify improvement, both teacher and student reflect on the student’s performance and helping pupils know the standards that they are aiming for. Sharing learning objectivities with pupils could easily be done by stating and explaining them at the start of each lesson as well as having the objectives written on the board so children and young people can refer back to them throughout the lesson. These same objectivities could be used as the basis for questioning feedback during plenaries. When giving feedback oral feedback should be just as valued as written feedback.
Feedback should be constructive but positive, identifying what went well for the pupil and what could be better for improvement and how to do it. Helping pupils to know and recognise the standards that they are aiming for gives students clear success criteria and that way they can relate it to the learning objectives. This could be done by modelling what the standards should look like for example, exemplifying good handwriting on the board. Promoting confidence that every student can improve allows children and young people to identify the small steps to reach and see their progress, thus building up their self-esteem.
This also encourages pupils to explain their thinking and reasoning within a secure classroom ethos. Assessments are a crucial aspect to the learning process; this may take form of as exams or essays. A learning objective is what students should know or be able to do by the time the lesson is complete. By assigning assessments on these objectives the teacher should be able to tell if the course’s learning objectives have been met. Assessments affect many features of education including student grades, advancement, placement as well as curriculum.
There are many benefits of assessments for learning one of them being an increase of motivation. This is particularly the case if children or young people are aware that they are doing poorly or not meeting their expected targets, they may begin to work harder to do better and meet the objectives. Assessments don’t just help pupils but teaches too. Having frequent assessments allow teachers to see if their methods and techniques have been effective.
This allows teachers to ensure children and young people learn what they need to know in order to meet the course’s learning objectives.Effective assessment for learning should enable the teacher to pass on the responsibility to children and young people over time for managing their own learning which in turn allows them to being more actively involved in the process. The teacher will also be able to differentiate different groups by ability and then levels they are at. The teacher will be able to decide through assessments who the TA will be working with and who needs extra one to one support.
Doing reports throughout the year will allow information to be passed efficiently between supply teacher and teacher about the children and young people. This will also show the next teacher that the children/young people have next year of where the children stand in their academics.They can see areas that they need to work on and will be given extra support to tackle these areas. They should be given the opportunity to assess themselves and work independently. This gives them more confidence and they feel more comfortable to ask for support when they need it.
As for myself, I am given insight as to how a student learns best. I am made aware of those children who are struggling or found a certain unit more difficult to grasp may need to revisit certain areas in the future. I am also able to work more closely with those students giving them extra support when they require it and go over lesson objectives again for more of an understanding. This could be done by asking pupils how they feel the lesson went and if there are any ways that would help them understand better. The feedback then could be reported to the teacher to adjust. Information required to support assessment for learning are: the personalised learning goals of an individual learners, the success criteria of the learning activities, the learning objectives for the activity and the assessment opportunities and strategies relevant to own role in learning activities. It is important that the child is aware of what they are learning and how they will be assessed on it before any activity; this is usually done by the teacher at the beginning of the lesson.
This is because it gives them context within which they can develop into engaged, motivated and self-regulated learners.As stated before learning objectives and personal goals of individuals should be made aware of before the lesson commences. All children should have personal goals that cater to their educational needs; this may be using punctuation appropriately or spelling more accurately. The students should have clear access to their personalised learning goals so they can easily reference to it when they feel like they need it. For example, before the lesson is about to start the teacher can print out the student’s personal targets and ask them to glue them into their books so they are always available to reference to throughout the lesson. Children with similar targets will be put into groups together.
This is so activities can be made where the pupils can work together. For example, a group that has difficulties in using punctuation could be give the sentence ‘Charlie yelled Run Samantha’. The students would then be asked to fill in the correct punctuation. The teacher should then encourage the child’s learning by asking questions on why they made certain changes to help them develop the awareness of using correct punctuation when writing.
E.g. the teacher could ask “Why did you add speech marks to that sentence?”. In time this will allow the child to assess their own work. Children and young people with learning difficulties also have personal objectives but these are recorded and incorporated into the individuals learning plan which has been agreed upon by the pupil. All staff members that work with these children should be aware of the specialised learning plans that they have.
Talking to pupils about what is expected of them; this is important as it enables pupils to understand what they are learning in lessons and recognise their own individual learning targets. By doing this the students will be able to assess their own progress to achieving their targets. The students should also be made aware how they will be assessed. Throughout the sessions it is important that oral feedback is provided. This can be through praising the student when they have successfully reached their target as this will boost their confidence and self-esteem or providing extra support by showing examples of another pupil’s work to show the pupil’s this is what is expected from them. Students should be encouraged to discuss their work and feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts on how well they thought the task went. Teachers should keep a record of written feedback; this way teachers are able concentrate on problem areas when revisiting the topic.
Learning should be reviewed with pupils throughout all learning sessions. This allows students to administer the learning to their own practice. Consistent feedback will raise children and young people’s self-esteem and belief in themselves. At Wellington primary school a system that we use to monitor learner progress is the thumbs up system. This give the teacher an overview of how well learners are grasping certain aspects of the unit. For example, if a child feels confident about the topic they display a thumbs up meaning they feel comfortable in doing the task and understand what is expected of them. If a student shows a thumb angled side-ways, it means that they understand the topic but are not confident in their abilities so they may need some reassurance and support. A thumbs down demonstrates that they are confused and are struggling to understand the task given to them.
Other strategies that apply are the traffic light system and for older children they might be asked to write down their thoughts about the lesson on a post it notes and give it to the teacher.Carefully listening to children and young people about their needs in learning is important as it makes the learner feel understood. This may be through maintaining eye contact without staring, smiling or asking relevant questions.
By listening to students and being attentive of them will help teachers and teaching assistants to adapt the way they teach them so their individual needs are met and suited for. When children and young people feel they are listened to it encourages them to talk more freely about their needs with us. This is important because if teachers or teaching assistants don’t know the problems of an individual it is more difficult for them to adapt their teaching styles and lessons to suit the individual’s needs. Having their input about how well (or not) the lessons went which gives us the opportunity to better ourselves in the way we convey information to the learners. Goals, objectives and targets should be made clear to children and young people throughout their process in learning.
It is more likely to engage the student in lessons if the student understands what is expected of them during the session and that way the student would want to learn. Both older and younger pupils benefit from using peer assessment as it helps them think about their learning aims and they will be able to measure this against their own learning. Peer assessment is a way for learners to look at each other’s work and measure it against the criteria given to them. By practising this the student will be able to accurately self-assess in time. It may be easier for children and young people to see more clearly how assessment can be used to measure learning.Children should be encouraged to reflect on their work throughout the session. Asking effective questions throughout the session can check their understanding of the learning aims.
This is important as it will help them make sure they are handling the task in the best possible way for them. Progress can be identified through peer assessments and self-assessments that children and young people have made. There should also be encouragement by teachers and teaching assistants for pupils to ask for help when they are struggling. It is a good idea to ask learners what they have learnt in the lesson and when they realise they have understood and met the learning objectives of the lesson children and young people become more confident in their abilities. It will also build up their self-esteem. : Children and young people vary in their ability.
This is why some children may be able to identify what they need to improve while others may not like it when they are not able to understand something. It is essential to support and encourage them through this. An example would be designating wall space so children and young people can post what they are struggling with and what they need to improve on. This can be later addressed in the next lesson by the teacher or teaching assistant. This way all pupils shy or not will be able report their learning need to their teacher indirectly for the teacher/teaching assistant to identify and reference these needs in future lesson plans. Identifying the strength and weakness of students learning strategies is important because then the teacher and teaching assistant can develop a plan to improve them. This can be achieved through using sufficient questioning throughout the task.
This may take form in a class discussion or the teacher and teaching assistant walking around the class talking to the pupils one to one on how they felt the lesson went or what they struggled with. The pupils will be able to plan how to improve these strategies by being aware of what they need support with and then use these in practice more often. Also, their targets could be collaborated into different tasks so when practicing these targets regularly they become comfortable with them. Participation is a key aspect to children’s and young people’s learning. It is important for a teacher to be aware of all learner’s participation and progress in a learning activity. The teacher needs to know which students were able to participate adequately and which students had difficulty. This means that those that struggled would need to have their objectives slightly changed for a better understanding.
I usually take notes on this so when a similar task arises again I can group those children together accordingly. Progress that these learners make on their individual targets need to be dated and recorded onto their progress trackers. The teaching assistant and the teacher need to work closely when supporting a learning activity and using assessment for learning techniques. This is important because it allows each adult to feel effective and supported in their own work. I consistently report verbal feedback to my classroom teacher throughout the session.
I also draft any potential targets that pupils need to focus on. I later type this up and print it out for specific students to glue into their books so they have access to it whenever they need it in lessons. The teacher should also be informed of the pupil’s engagement and response to assessment for learning. This information allows the teacher to see if the student should move up capability groups.
The teacher should be informed of which pupils need more encouragement than others for either self-assessment or peer assessment. The student’s progress in taking responsibility will also be discussed. This is so that these learners will be given the extra responsibility of being responsible for their own learning by identifying their own strengths and weaknesses as a learner.
They may additionally be asked to identify and use strategies to monitor their own progress to their individual goals. Verbal feedback will be recounted to the teacher as well as any additional note I make will be passed on so the teacher has records of how the student was responding to the learning activity. I should look back at what the student may have learnt from the lesson and then decipher whether the learning objective had truly been met or more practice is required upon that topic. I should also reflect on my own practice as to whether or not my teaching style should be better suited for the individuals needs or if I could have better explained any aspect of my teachings.
Feedback given to children and young people should also be analysed as well as the support I showed during peer or self-assessment. Communicating with the teacher about the outcome of the lesson is significant as they may advice and suggestions that I may not have thought about. Reflecting on my own performance will ensure that pupils will have the best possible support available to them as well as escalate my self-esteem.