2015 The Role of reflection in assessments

The role of reflection for Assessments and Yearly Examinations

There are 5 Pillars to help you with your learning: planning, relaxation, concentration, mindfulness and reflection. Reflection involves pondering the present or past experiences with an eye on the future. It is a personal journey in which your experience of reflection evolves and matures over time.  It is a potent tool in the arsenal of learning.

Reflection is a personal experience: When I was at school all examinations were in the same hall and I had the same seat.   So each year twice a year two seats in front of me to the right was a friend who was Dux every year of my schooling. He would have his hand up for a new examination booklet while I was on page two of my booklet.  My immediate reflection was I wish I could write that fast and that much and resolved after that examination to see what I could do to achieve that goal. My reflection lead to an action which was to learn more content, work faster and practice writing more - sadly at the expense of my written legibility, to which  some of you will attest.

Often I reflect upon what he did to get such great results so I can offer those suggestions to you. No doubt he was academically gifted, well beyond my expectations and capability, though on deeper reflection, and over three decades later, I can see a pattern I had not discerned while at school.   He identified and worked to his strengths. In a pre - internet era  he used resources that were not in standard textbooks and he was hugely organised, disciplined with his time, focused and driven, could work quickly, played high level sport, was exceptional at debating and public speaking and is a decent human being of integrity.

My experience of a personal reflection of an event 37 years ago, has evolved and matured. The same should apply for you.

Reflection in the present moment: reflecting in the current moment is a powerful tool to make a note of an issue and then move on with the task at hand. In my Year 12 HSC Maths Examination I had one look at Question 10 and I panicked.  As I looked around the hall I was not the only person with concern – though my friend two seats in front of me to the right was ok working away. It was the only time in my era of examinations that I had to park my feelings, reflect on the current situation, decide on a course of action and move on. There was no further action and reflection required.  I could not and did not answer the question correctly - nor did a lot of other students.

What is your reflection in the present moment during an assessment period?    For example, you are in the middle of an assessment and you realise your notes are good, however, you are spending too much effort trying to recall facts and not allowing time for analysis and evaluation.  You should make mental note (instant reflection) to change your approach for the next assessment task - start learning the work earlier.

Reflection for future action:  Depending on how you feel about a task, your immediate post task reflection may involve a range of emotions from acceptance, relief, blame, jubilation or concern about your performance.  This will depend on your expectations, level of understanding and preparation for the task.  Once the emotions subside it is important to set aside time to assess your planning, relaxation, concentration and mindfulness in relation to your expectations and performance. This is the time to put into action a refined strategy to achieve realistic expectations and performance for the next round of assessment tasks.

Well that is the last of five themes for helping you with your Assessments and the Yearly Examinations. We hope these have been of some use for you.