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Assessment and evaluation requires the understanding of the many different and diverse needs and learning styles of students. No class, or student, is the same. Teachers cannot expect all students to respond to an assessment the same way, and should integrate forms of both formative and summative assessment that evaluate different tenets of learning, and ensure that students are truly mastering the course material. It is the responsibility of the teacher to accommodate these differences in their teaching and assessment. In my lesson plans, I provide multiple opportunities for assessment. I assess students' formative knowledge by observing their participation in class discussion and completion of the lesson activities. Once the lesson is complete, I assess their summative knowledge by assigning a writing assignment that asks students to further explore the lesson topic, or connect the lesson concept with larger historical themes. You can read these forms of assessment under my Lesson Plans.

From these assessments, teachers can then better understand their students' needs and learning styles, and adapt their teaching accordingly. Just as importantly, assessment serves as a way for teachers evaluate their own teaching methods, and allows them an opportunity to improve their methods in the future. When assessing student assignments, teachers should provide constructive, thoughtful feedback in order to improve their students' understanding of the content. Likewise, teachers should record and analyze their students' assignments as an indicator of their performance in the classroom. As a part of my unit plan on the Great Depression, I assigned students a project where they asked to "build" their own New Deal. For this project, students had to create three programs to include in their own version of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. This project assessed students' understanding of how social welfare program and public works projects affected the American economy and society, yet also allowed students the freedom to express their own creativity in their product. Student examples of this project can be found on my Unit Plan page.

In addition to this unit assessment, I created a summative assessment as a part of my graduate program at William & Mary in order to better understand the mechanics and benefits of assessment. For this assignment, I created a culminating test for a unit on the Great Depression for my four seventh-grade classes. This test incorporates multiple-choice questions, matching items, and a short essay to fully assess my students' mastery of content and cognitive level objectives. Prior to creating this test, I identified intended learning outcomes for this unit that aligned with both the Virginia State Standards and the curriculum objectives. Once these intended learning outcomes were identified, I was able to create an assessment that aligned with both the curriculum and my instruction to create a test that truly measured student learning and evaluated my own teaching.

My final assessment project demonstrates my ability to create a valid and reliable test that can be used to assess students' mastery of the content and cognitive levels for a particular unit, and inform future teaching decisions. From this test, I will make inferences about my students' learning and my own teaching. Throughout this assignment, I developed a clear conception of the concepts of reliability and validity, and better understand the essential relationship between curriculum, instruction, and assessment. My final critique and analysis of my students' test results confirms these developments and allows greater insight into student learning.