Planning, planning and more planning

I love to travel. And yes, I have gotten used to the stress that it brings before the joys. Stress from planning the trip that includes, the completion of requirements for visa processing, scouting for cheap fare and suitable accommodations as well as familiarizing ones’ self with noteworthy activities to do during the entire trip. It is only after all these things are ironed out that the rest of the process becomes smooth sailing– and, that’s when the fun part begins. It’s like reaping the rewards of your month- long preparation. And, believe me, it’s definitely worth it.

I’d have to say that the same is true for teaching. Part of what educators do is that they plan. They plan what they need to teach and how to teach them. They make adjustments in their original plan when the situation calls for it and also plan appropriate means on how students should be assessed.

It is through this process that teaching tools in the forms of Table of Specification (ToS) and Rubrics become important. The same in planning a trip, ToS can aid teachers on how they can align their teaching objectives with the content that they have lined up for their students. It can even help them target the different thinking levels that they want to emphasize in their teaching. For example, if the teacher simply wants to measure students’ recollection of previous knowledge or skill, then they can target the students’ lower level thinking skills. Moreover, if the teacher finds the need to check on students who are more advanced, then he/she can have them do tasks that involve application, evaluation and synthesis. Having the ToS is like having a checklist which teachers can refer to that will allow them to identify if they have given a suitable number of items to target the level of thinking that they want to enhance or improve in each and every student.

Rubrics are also essential not only in the teaching process but in the learning process as well. In short, it serves a dual purpose. It helps the teachers set students’ expectations as to how they will be assessed through identifying the areas or aspects from which they will be evaluated including their behavior towards the different tasks. Rubrics allow teachers to assess students consistently and saves them time in grading. Lastly, it also enables teachers to give timely and effective feedback that promote learning in a sustainable way. As for the students, rubrics help them identify components from which they will be assessed, making them aware of what learning processes to apply in order to progress. And, since feedback is provided to them, it enables them to improve their work and make necessary adjustments when needed.

Although it may seem tedious and quite challenging to make these tools, the benefits are definitely far more worthy for one to ignore. Like traveling, one’s need for a map is essential in order for that person to reach his/ her destination, and it is for this same reason that I believe that both the Table of Specification and Rubrics are necessary, because they serve students, teachers and stakeholders to know exactly where teaching and learning should be.

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