Working in other schools is great for making you reflect on your own practice. The fruitful discussions and observations you have, help to crystalise and refine your own philosophy.
The more I consider Assessment the more I believe that all assessment must be, in the broadest sense, deliberate, purposeful and be considered
Why Deliberate, Considered and Purposeful?
deliberate, – adjective
1 done consciously and intentionally:
Assessment, whether it is Diagnostic, Formative or Summative must be a deliberate action. It needs to be, as the definition states, done consciously and intentionally.
It should be planned, fitting into a scheme or plan derived to enhance the learning outcomes of our students. This could be in a broad perspective of a unit of learning or as an element of a single lesson. Whether, this is:
- a diagnostic tool to identify pre-existing knowledge, skills or abilities;
- formative to support and enhance the learning process by identifying areas of strength or weakness, or
- a summative snapshot showing the depth of knowledge at a point in time,
all assessment must be deliberate. Assessment can not be left to the last minute.
There must be a underlying reason, a rationale, essentially a purpose of doing assessment
purposeful, – adjective
1 having or showing determination or resolve
2 having a useful purpose
Any assessment must have a useful purpose. The purposes can be very varied. We know they could be formative, diagnostic or summative, but there are purposes deeper than this as well. Assessment can be used as a measure of the success of a student, class, teacher, cohort, school, programme of learning or education system. It could be used to inform the immediate stakeholders (the students themselves, their parents and teachers) of the progression, development and success of the learning and to the wider stakeholders like the community, further education and employers.
Most of the time the assessment should have a purpose for the learner and the teacher. It needs to be useful, it needs to be helpful and developmental. It should identify success, strengths and weakness and provide opportunity to improve and develop. Sometimes, an assessment is used as a measure of the success of an organization.
There is no point in doing a diagnostic assessment if it is not used to refine and modify the learning process, personalizing and differentiating the learning of the student. Similarly there is no point or purpose in formative assessment if it is not used in the learning process to strengthen and support learning. All assessments should be a considered actions or undertakings.
1 think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision:
Considered means that the assessment is suitable and appropriate for the students and its intended purpose and outcome. The context of the assessment is focused on the learning, it is suitable for the learner, taking into account their age, developmental stage and maturity. It must be, to again use the abbreviation, SMART
An assessment that is not “SMART” is ill-considered
Being considered means that as we develop an assessment we must also consider the responses, the mark scheme must be written at the same time as the assessment. It must be possible for the students to successfully answer the questions or undertake the actions/processes in the time provided. So our assessments must be attainable (able to be completed to a high standard by some of the members of the group) and realistic (able to be completed in the allocated time, with the available tool, knowledge and skills).
The assessment must be measurable – there must be clarity and transparency in the task/s, its application and the administration of the marking criteria and scheme. The application of the mark scheme or criteria must be honest, fair and transparent.
It should suit the learners, be specific and focused on the learning being considered or undertaken, whether this is future learning (diagnostic), current learning (formative) or summative.
Definitions from the Apple Dictionary Application -Apple 2005-2011