Constructivism in Classroom

Constructivism in Classroom

Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers. They use many techniques in the teaching process like prompt students to formulate their own questions, allow multiple interpretations and expressions of learning and encourage group work and the use of peers as resources.

it’s important to realize that the constructivist approach borrows from many other practices in the pursuit of its primary goal: helping students learn HOW TO LEARN. In a constructivist classroom, learning is . . .

Constructed: Students are not blank slates upon which knowledge is etched. They come to learning situations with already formulated knowledge, ideas, and understandings. This previous knowledge is the raw material for the new knowledge they will create.

Active: Student is the person who creates new understanding for him/herself. The teacher coaches, moderates, suggest, but allow the students room to experiment, ask questions, try things that don’t work. Learning activities require the students’ full participation (like hands-on experiments). An important part of the learning process is that students reflect on, and talk about, their activities. Students also help set their own goals and means of assessment.

Reflective:  Students control their own learning process, and they lead the way by reflecting on their experiences. This process makes them experts of their own learning. The teacher helps create situations where the students feel safe questioning and reflecting on their own processes, either privately or in group discussions. The teacher should also create activities that lead the student to reflect on his or her prior knowledge and experiences. Talking about what was learned and how it was learned is really important.

Collaborative: The constructivist classroom relies heavily on collaboration among students. There are many reasons why collaboration contributes to learning. The main reason it is used so much in constructivism is that students learn about learning not only from themselves, but also from their peers. When students review and reflect on their learning processes together, they can pick up strategies and methods from one another.

Inquiry-based:  The main activity in a constructivist classroom is solving problems. Students use inquiry methods to ask questions, investigate a topic, and use a variety of resources to find solutions and answers. As students explore the topic, they draw conclusions, and, as exploration continues, they revisit those conclusions. Exploration of questions leads to more questions.

Evolving: Students have ideas that they may later see were invalid, incorrect, or insufficient to explain new experiences. These ideas are temporary steps in the integration of knowledge. For instance, a child may believe that all trees lose their leaves in the fall, until she visits an evergreen forest. Constructivist teaching takes into account students’ current conceptions and builds from there.

The benefits of constructivism are: Students learn more, and enjoy learning more when they are actively involved, rather than passive listeners, education works best when it concentrates on thinking and understanding, rather than on rote memorization. Constructivism concentrates on learning how to think and understand. Constructivist learning is transferable. In constructivist classrooms, students create organizing principles that they can take with them to other learning settings. Constructivism gives students ownership of what they learn, since learning is based on students’ questions and explorations, and often the students have a hand in designing the assessments as well. Constructivist assessment engages the students’ initiatives and personal investments in their journals, research reports, physical models, and artistic representations. Engaging the creative instincts develops students’ abilities to express knowledge through a variety of ways. The students are also more likely to retain and transfer the new knowledge to real life. By grounding learning activities in an authentic, real-world context, constructivism stimulates and engages students. Students in constructivist classrooms learn to question things and to apply their natural curiosity. Constructivism promotes social and communication skills by creating a classroom environment that emphasizes collaboration and exchange of ideas. Students must learn how to articulate their ideas clearly as well as to collaborate on tasks effectively by sharing in group projects. Students must therefore exchange ideas and so must learn to “negotiate” with others and to evaluate their contributions in a socially acceptable manner. This is essential to success in the real world, since they will always be exposed to a variety of experiences in which they will have to cooperate and navigate among the ideas of others.

What happens when a student gets a new piece of information? The constructivist model says that the student compares the information to the knowledge and understanding he/she already has, and one of three things can occur:

  • The new information matches up with his previous knowledge pretty well (it’s consonant with the previous knowledge), so the student adds it to his understanding. It may take some work, but it’s just a matter of finding the right fit, as with a puzzle piece.
  • The information doesn’t match previous knowledge (it’s dissonant). The student has to change her previous understanding to find a fit for the information. This can be harder work.
  • The information doesn’t match previous knowledge, and it is ignored. Rejected bits of information may just not be absorbed by the student. Or they may float around, waiting for the day when the student’s understanding has developed and permits a fit.




Education Theory

What classroom activities reflect constructivism

Constructivism in Education


Parents Participation in Assessment process

Parents Participation in Assessment process

Regardless of the age of the child, we have two major responsibilities in the area of assessment. The first is to actively participate in making decisions about which types of information are needed. The second is to assist the assessment professional in obtaining the most comprehensive information about our child, the visual condition, and the changes that we have seen over the years in our child’s functioning.

Administrators Initiatives in intervention programs for young children have strongly recommended that parents be involved in the assessment process. This is to contribute toward a more accurate diagnosis of and prescription for the developmental progress of the child. Child assessment has been an area in which the specialist retains strong professional control but a focus on parental involvement in assessment today is timely for ethical, theoretical and practical considerations where the parental role can be expanded.

It is extremely helpful to provide the assessment professional with specific questions or concerns that we may have about our child. For example, do we feel that the developments of daily living skills are not progressing as rapidly as we had hoped? Are we pleased about the way our child interacts with adults, but concerned about social interactions with peers? Do we see signs of increasing social withdrawal as your child become older? Specific questions can assist in planning the assessment not only in terms of types of evaluations requested, but also in the selection of a specific test to be used.

Schools gave students and their parent’s useful and relevant information about the assessment processes they used. Students and parents understood how the school was working to meet the child’s interests, aspirations and learning needs. It is important the partnership between family and school to enhance through common understanding about the school’s assessment processes.

It is often difficult for us, parents to see the advantages of formalized assessment in addition to that conducted in the classroom. The assessments are sometimes seen as a way to add undesired additional incapacities and part of a biased process that further increases the isolation of our child. It is important that teachers make a realistic appraisal of the advantages of the assessment process. Although parents often fear the possibility of the identification of additional incapacities, a more critical fear is that additional disabilities or specific needs will NOT be identified. The key to finding the strategies is quality assessment data that will identify specific strengths and needs as well as the presence of additional incapacities. Quality assessment should result in instructional changes. Whether these changes are based upon an objective statement of strengths and needs or additional incapacities, the ultimate outcome should be better instruction for our child.

Assessment should not be an evil to be avoided but an integral part of our child’s instructional program. Our responsibility as a parent is to ensure as much as possible that it is a quality assessment. What would be considered a quality assessment? Well, we have our different views in looking into a quality assessment but we could be considered that the individual completing the assessment has received information about the visual conditions as well as the educational implications, reports identifies specific strength and needs of the students. Recommendations are made to ensure continued growth toward independence for our child. Continuous improvement of our child may result into difficulty which is associated with the adjustments that are made in the assessment process. Both inadequate as well as excessive adjustments can make assessments less meaningful. The goal of all involved in the assessment process is to determine if changes can be made in a meaningful manner and to ensure that such adjustments are made appropriately.

To have a mutual understanding and combined goal for the child’s development, child assessment information must be made clear and meaningful to teacher and parents. Teacher need to help parents understand what the assessment information means about their child’s learning and development. Parents need to help teacher understand assessment information in bright of their observations of their child at home and in other settings. This is the ways to ensure that child development information is meaningful to parents for the purpose in helping the parents understand what assessment is, and that the goal of assessment is to support a child’s progress by informing the teacher and parent about different approaches to enhancing their child’s learning and development and parents to understand what the next stage of learning will be, so they can anticipate and look to support that next stage.

“Working with teachers in early childhood education for the benefit of all children often followed on from parents working with teachers for the benefit of their own child.”

Classroom Management: Which is Best? Teacher-centered or Student-centered approach?

Classroom Management: Which is Best? Teacher-centered or Student-centered approach?

Assessment is an integral part of our course design, but is it really measuring the learning that both of us and our students most wants to achieve? Many instructors still rely on standardized or traditional forms of assessment. Commonly used traditional tests are an appropriate method of measuring declarative knowledge or basic facts, but they may not be reasonable for the learner-centered style.

When considering their approach to instruction, teachers are always looking for the method that is most beneficial for all of their students. Teachers want their students to enjoy the learning process, and they want the classroom to be orderly and controlled.

In teacher-centered education, students put all of their focus on the teacher. Generally, the teacher talks and the students don’t do much conversing or collaborating. The original form the idea was that the teacher held ultimate authority and the students whose job was to absorb teacher-imparted information through passive listening, while the student-centered education both teacher and students efforts. But that doesn’t mean that the teacher doesn’t lead the room, or that the students pick a subject and start experimenting without any guidance. Instead, this approach usually involves a fair amount of interaction between the teacher and the students, as well as among students through group work and other collaborative activities.

During activities for teacher-centered approach, students work alone, and teamwork is discouraged, these activities can be altered, students and instructors share the focus, instead of listening to the teacher exclusively. Group work is encouraged, and students learn to collaborate and communicate with one another.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both type of education (teacher and student centered education)

Teacher-centered Education



–          The classroom remains orderly. Students are quiet, and the teacher retains full control of the classroom and its activities.

–          Students learn on their own, they learn to be independent and make their own decisions.

–          The teacher directs all classroom activities; they don’t have to worry that students will miss an important topic.

–          When students work alone, they don’t learn to collaborate with other students, and communication skills may suffer.

–          Teacher-centered instruction can get boring for students. Their minds may wander, and they may miss important facts.

–          Teacher-centered instruction doesn’t allow students to express themselves, ask questions and direct their own learning.

Student-centered Education



–          Students learn important communicative and collaborative skills through group work.

–          Students learn to direct their own learning, ask questions and complete tasks independently.

–          Students are more interested in learning activities when they can interact with one another and participate actively.

–          Students are talking; classrooms are often busy, noisy and chaotic.

–          Teachers must attempt to manage all students’ activities at once, which can be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same project.

–          The teacher doesn’t deliver instruction to all students at once; some students may miss important facts.

In current classroom situation, teachers have practiced toward a student-centered approach. However, some students maintain that teacher-centered education is the more effective strategy. When both approaches are used together, students can enjoy the positives of both types of education. Instead of getting bored with teacher-centered education or losing sight of their goals in a completely student-centered classroom, pupils can benefit from a well-balanced educational environment.

Assessing students outcomes, we should practice formative and summative assessment and should integrate grading, learning, and motivation for our students. Carefully planned assessment questions and methods make the time we spend grading assignments and tests meaningful.

Usually we tend to overstate in choosing the right assessment methods that provoke from our students the kind of learning that we want to measure. A combination of careful consideration, knowledge of our own students and analysis of their work are the keys. For example, if you teach math problems, you may want students to demonstrate their ability to solve problems and explain the process. Putting too much emphasis on getting the right answers can take away from the goals. So we should consider adding some of our assignments and exams: “have students draw a vertical line down the center of their page, dividing it into two columns. In one column they solve the problem, and in the other, they write sentences for each step to explain what they did and why.” So that, we can assess on how far they learned.

We should put in our mind that the most important thing is to choose assessment methods that will assess the type of learning we are trying to achieve in our lesson. That means that the methods that other instructors before we have used are not necessarily the only way or the best way to assess. It is all right to step outside our own comfort zone and outside what has traditionally been done, if we feel that an alternate assessment method will serve our students’ and our interests and goals better.

Even if, we are a new instructor, remember that we have spent many years as a student and therefore have information and experiences that will guide us in this process. Reflect on those experiences and decide if we want to do what we experienced and use those experiences in our own assessment design or whether we want to change the way we assess. If we do think change is necessary, ask ourselves why and how we will change things?

Guides for Classroom Assessment


It’s not a stretch to say that assessment is a hot control issue in education; however, It would be hard pressed to find an educator who doesn’t see the value in measuring student progress. As we all know that assessment is the measurement of what students are learning. Student achievement is defined as how well they’ve mastered certain target skills. Assessments provide educators with both objective and subjective data in order to ascertain student progress and skill mastery. The information collected from assessments is extremely valuable. Besides a score, which gives quantitative data about how much of the material tested a students has mastered, information about student misconceptions can be determined by analyzing which we discover the factors that affect the performance and why. Information from assessments helps us, teachers determine which instructional approaches are best for certain students, what their students may already know about a given topic, and what subjects needs to be re-educated.

We already studied the assessment basics with different type of assessment and type of questions, which we considered our guide to assess our students.

Types of Assessment

  • Diagnostic:Given at the beginning of the school year, or the beginning of a new unit of study, a diagnostic test attempts to quantify what students already know about a topic.
  • Formative:Given throughout the learning process, formative assessments seek to determine how students are progressing through a certain learning goal.
  • Summative:Given at the end of the year or unit, summative assessments assess a student’s mastery of a topic after instruction.
  • Norm-referenced tests:These tests measure students against a national “norm” or average in order to rank students against each other. The SAT, ACT, Iowa Basic Skills Test, and other major state standardized tests are norm-referenced.
  • Criterion-referenced tests:These tests measure student performance against a standard or specific goal. Unit and chapter tests as usually criterion-referenced, as are the newly developed SBAC and PARCC Common Core tests.

Question Types

  • Multiple choice:These questions provide students with a stem and a set of discrete possible answers from which students must choose the correct one. The possible answers generally include one correct answer and three to four distractors, designed to mimic the common misconceptions students have about the concept being tested.
  • Constructed response:These questions require a written response. Usually they include a one-part question, and students respond by writing a paragraph or short essay, or building and solving an equation.
  • Extended constructed response:These questions, like the constructed response, require a written answer. The reason they are “extended” is that they are multi-part questions, requiring students to answer the first part of the question before answering subsequent parts, which may require reflection on or further explanation of an answer given in a previous section.
  • Technology enhanced:These items are given in computer delivered assessments.Technology enhanced items require students to interact with the material in various ways—through actions like dragging and dropping information, highlighting relevant text, and completing sentences or equations from items in a drop-down menu.
  • Performance task:These items require students to use multiple stimuli to solve a problem or create something new. Performance tasks are usually scored with a rubric, which includes the criteria students must keep in mind while developing their solution. Performance tasks in ELA may include reading multiple essays and synthesizing the ideas into their own writing. In math, these tasks may ask students to analyze charts and graphs and write out a plan for using the data in a real world application.
  • Informal:This category covers a wide range of tasks, from checklists to observations. Informal assessment doesn’t lead to a score, but it does help teachers gather important insights about students.


There are several methods of implementing the assessment to the learners like pencil and paper: There’s no need for a lengthy description with this delivery method. Examples include tests, quizzes, mind maps, and essays. Online tests mean each student needs access to a device on which to take the assessment, these online tests adapt as the user progresses through the questions. As a student gets answers correct, the program adjusts and gives the student increasingly more difficult questions. The converse is true, and the test will adapt to asking simpler questions to a student who is struggling with grade level topics. Adaptive testing gives educators a much broader picture of students’ ability levels. Rather than just labeling students on, above, or below grade level, a student’s actual level of knowledge can be assessed.


Classroom Assessment Tools for Elementary Students; classroom-assessment-tools-elementary-students-2454.html

Good Practice of Assessing Students Learning


  1. The assessment of student learning begins with educational ethics. Assessment is not an end in itself but an instrument for educational improvement. Its effective practice, then, begins with and enacts a concept of the kinds of learning we most value for students and strive to help them achieved. Educational ethics should drive not only what we choose to assess but also how we do so.
  2. Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multi-dimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.Learning is a complex process. It involves not only what students know but what they can do with what they know; it involves not only knowledge and abilities but values, attitudes, and habits of mind that affect both academic success and performance beyond the classroom. Assessment should reflect these understandings by employing a varied collection of methods, including those that call for actual performance, using them over time so as to reveal change, growth, and increasing degrees of integration. Such an approach aims for a more complete and accurate picture of learning, and therefore safer bases for improving our students’ educational experience.
  3. Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes. Assessment is a goal-oriented process. It requires comparing educational performance with educational objectives and expectations — those derived from the institution’s mission, from faculty intentions in program and curriculum design, and from knowledge of students’ own goals. Where program purposes lack distinctive or agreement, assessment as a process pushes a site toward clarity about where to aim and what standards to apply; assessment also prompts attention to where and how program goals will be taught and learned.
  4. Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes. Information about outcomes is of high importance; where students “end up” matters importantly. But to improve outcomes, we need to know about student experience along the way about the curricula, teaching, and kind of student effort that lead to particular outcomes. Assessment can help us understand which students learn best under what conditions; with such knowledge comes the capacity to improve the whole of their learning.
  5. Assessment works best when it is on-going not erratic.Assessment is a process whose power is cumulative. Though isolated, “one-shot” assessment can be better than none, improvement is best fostered when assessment entails a linked series of activities undertaken over time. This may mean tracking the process of individual students, or of cohorts of students; it may mean collecting the same examples of student performance or using the same instrument semester after semester. The point is to monitor progress toward intended goals in a spirit of continuous improvement. Along the way, the assessment process itself should be evaluated and refined in light of emerging insights.
  6. Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved.Student learning is a campus-wide responsibility, and assessment is a way of enacting that responsibility. Thus, while assessment efforts may start small, the aim over time is to involve people from across the educational community. Educators play an especially important role, but assessment’s questions can’t be fully addressed without participation by student-affairs educators, librarians, administrators, and students. Assessment may also involve individuals from beyond the campus (alumni/ae, trustees, employers) whose experience can enrich the sense of appropriate aims and standards for learning. Thus understood, assessment is not a task for small groups of experts but a collaborative activity; its aim is wider, better-informed attention to student learning by all parties with a stake in its improvement.
  7. Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and brightens questions that people really care about. Assessment recognizes the value of information in the process of improvement. But to be useful, information must be connected to issues or questions that people really care about. This implies assessment approaches that produce evidence that relevant parties will find reliable, suggestive, and applicable to decisions that need to be made. It means thinking in advance about how the information will be used, and by whom. The point of assessment is not to gather data and return results; it is a process that starts with the questions of decision-makers, that involves them in the gathering and interpreting of data, and that informs and helps guide continuous improvement.
  8. Assessment is most likely to lead to improvement when it is part of a larger set of conditions that promote change.Assessment alone changes little. Its greatest contribution comes on areas where the quality of teaching and learning is visibly valued and worked at. On such areas, the push to improve educational performance is a visible and primary goal of leadership; improving the quality of undergraduate education is central to the institution’s planning, budgeting, and personnel decisions.
  9. Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public.There is a compelling public stake in education. As educators, we have a responsibility to the public that support or depend on us to provide information about the ways in which our students meet goals and expectations. But that responsibility goes beyond the reporting of such information; our deeper obligation to ourselves, our students, and society is to improve.



Assessment Basics: The Essence of Assessment


There is considerable evidence showing that assessment drives student learning. More than anything else, our assessment tools tell students what we consider to be important. They will learn what we guide them to learn through our assessments. Traditional testing methods have been limited measures of student learning, and equally important, of limited value for guiding student learning. These methods are often inconsistent with the increasing emphasis being placed on the ability of students to think analytically, to understand and communicate at both detailed and to acquire life-long skills that permit continuous adaptation to workplaces that are in constant change.

In assessing the students, the teacher must be skilled in:

  1. Choosing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions.
  2. Administering, scoring, and interpreting the results of both externally produced and teacher produced assessment methods.
  3. Using assessment results when making decisions about individual students, planning teaching, and developing curriculum and school improvement.

Assessment Competencies for teachers

  1. Developing valid students grading procedures that use student assessment.
  2. Communicating assessment results to students, parents, other lay audiences and other educators
  3. Recognizing unethical, illegal, and otherwise in appropriate assessment methods and uses of assessment information


  1. Choosing assessment methods
    1. Selection of assessment methods
    2. Standards test
  2. Developing assessment methods
    1. Teacher made assessment least measurement error
  3. Interpreting assessment results
    1. Interpret teacher made test score
    2. Interpret Grade Equivalency score
    3. Interpret percentile band scores
  1. Using Assessment result in Decision Making
    1. Standard test data most useful for classroom
    2. Basis for comparing schools test scores
    3. Explaining discrepancy between classroom and standard test scores
  1. Using assessment result in Grading
    1. Weighting test scores to give grades
    2. Reliability of tests for grading
    3. Recognizing sound grade practice
  1. Communicating Assessment result
    1. Explain basis for grade
    2. Using test for resource allocation
  2. Recognizing unethical assessment practices
    1. Display grade privacy
    2. Test as only criterion for grades
    3. Acceptable actions on standardized tests


The type of assessment chosen should be related to learning outcomes and managed by decisions about its purpose, validity and relevance. In addition, as it is probably true to say that every assessment method will place some students at a disadvantage to some extent; a range of types of assessment is desirable to hopefully reduce the element of disadvantage suffered by any particular student.

  1. Essay – The object of the essay should be to test the ability to discuss, evaluate, analyse, summarize and criticize. Two dangers with essays are that they are easy to plagiarize, and that undue weight is often given to factors such as style, handwriting and grammar.
  2. Assignments – A learning task undertaken by the student allowing them to cover a fixed section of the curriculum mainly through independent study
  3. Individual project -An extended investigation carried out by an individual student into a topic agreed on by student and assessor. In many ways similar to an assignment, the main difference is the onus on the student to choose the particular focus and/or medium of presentation.
  4. Group project – Where either an assignment or project is undertaken collectively by groups of students working collaboratively. This has the pragmatic advantage of potentially reducing the tutor’s assessment workload and the educational advantage of helping to develop the students’ team working skills
  5. Dissertation – Written presentation of results of an investigation or piece of research, normally taking the form of an extended essay being less rigorous in its style and layout requirements than a thesis. The content reflects the findings of the investigation. This has similar assessment problems to an individual project.
  6. Examination – This can take a variety of different forms. The most common factors are that it is done under comparatively short, timed conditions and usually under observed conditions which ensures it is the student’s own work
  7. Self and peer assessment – There is strong evidence that involving students in the assessment process can have very definite educational benefits. Not so much a type of assessment like those already listed, this is something which can be done in conjunction with any type of assessment.