Chapter 4: Describing Success

Summary: Samples are an important way for teachers to assess their students as well as represent their students’ success. Examples help illustrate for students what success looks like, as well as the different stages of learning. It is therefore important for teachers to provide these models of learning, and to collect samples throughout their teaching career to demonstrate the learning goals for students.

Personal Reflection: Describing success is an extremely difficult thing to do. It can be very subjective to determine when a student has excelled in any given area. Because there are so many different types of learners, how a student demonstrates their knowledge of any particular skill can be so diverse. I know as a pre-service teacher sometimes I struggle to grade students based on their work when there is no exact write or wrong answer. This is why it is so important for teachers to have their criteria of assessment and evaluation well established and communicated to both students and parents. 

As discussed in the chapter, one way of explaining and communicating what a good assignment would look like is through the use of samples. Samples help ease a lot of anxiety that students experience when they encounter a new project or task. By laying out the expectations and giving the student an in depth look at an exemplary example, they are better prepared to succeed. 

I’m glad that the chapter pointed out different ways for teachers to gather samples for their classrooms, such as teacher groups or school submission collaborations. As new teachers, when we first start out teaching we will have very little sample work. Most of the assignments and tasks we assign for the first little while will be brand new, and I am going to struggle to find good examples for my students to refer to. As my career goes on I will gather more student work to add to my collection, however, the first years I will have to branch out to other resources for samples and help. I like the idea of teachers working together to create sample collections, as this way you not only increase your sample collection, but you can also discuss the use of samples and the advantages and disadvantages with your colleagues. 

Describing success to our students can be a tricky task, but with clear criteria, communication, and student samples, learning excellence is possible.

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