In Chapter 5, Cooper discusses the importance of having a diagnostic or initial assessment prior to assigning work and teaching students. Identifying the scores to these assessments is crucial for the teacher so that they are able to understand the comprehensive level of the students in the class. Leaving the initial assessment stage out of the teaching process may inhibit learning as students will struggle. What is great about these assessments is that they are not graded. I understand where Cooper is coming from in regards to implementing diagnostic assessment, however I do not believe that it is practical for every teacher to conduct this type of testing with each and every student they may have. Although it is helpful to the students, I believe that it is time consuming. As a teacher candidate, I would agree completely with diagnostic assessments because I know it will help the students learn better and I will be able to instruct in a way that is more useful to them. But again, the amount of time that is required for this step is quite a lot.
I can relate to the pros of the diagnostic assessment based from my personal experience. I had the opportunity to teach 4 grade 5 students whose first language was not English. I was to translate the given lesson (whether it be in math, science, or history), and teach the lesson in Arabic, but was encouraged to use English so that the students can be accustomed to the language. The first issue I had was that the level of English comprehension in all four students was at different levels. One of my students did not speak any English, and the other three had recently immigrated to Canada within the last 7 months. Although it would have been difficult to complete an assessment because I was not a teacher at the time, it would have been useful to have some sort of document (perhaps from the homeroom teacher) discussing an initial assessment. At least this way I would have had an understanding of where each student was comfortable in regards to speaking and learning English.
In Chapter 6, Cooper discusses assessment for learning. This form of assessment attempts to inform students how and where they can improve while attempting to make the learning a fun experience. The assessment for learning includes self and peer assessments, allows oral questioning, and clearly communicates learning goals and the required performing standards. I liked the snowball activity because I feel that it is an activity that can be applied to all age groups. This activity allows students to write down their ideas, which is great, because not all students are willing to share their ideas in front of others.
I really liked the six strategies that were highlighted in the text, which included: