Thinking about Assessment part 1

Thinking about assessment

For us as teachers, much of our life revolves around assessment in its various forms. It can be so invasive that it seems to dominant all we do in the classroom. We have seen on a huge scale educators teaching to the assessment since there position, employment and in fact the fate of their schools rest on achieving a suitable level in assessment. No Child Left Behind is being used as a mechanism for appraisal.

Assessment in some circles has a bad reputation. So why do we assess?

Well, we assess for a variety of different reasons;

  • To tell a student how well they have learnt and where they need to develop further understanding.
  • To reinforce the learning process and measure success.
  • To determine the performance of the teacher and the school
  • To determine educational performance across the country and internationally
  • To determine the level of funding/resourcing required to reach suitable educational results.
  • To provide employers with an understanding of the students’ abilities.

The three forms of assessment that are relevance to me as a classroom practitioner are:

  1. Diagnostic – Assessment that examines what the learner already knows. It helps to identify the nature of difficulties that the learner might have.  This style of assessment demonstrates the basis of the students knowledge and  this can be used build from. It helps identify elements that may be briefly recapped or need to be revisited in depth. It is used before teaching and is looking backwards, valuing prior learning.
  2. Formative – Assessment that is interpreted and used to give directions or make decisions about next steps in learning process. This assessment is looking forward, it supports future learning and reinforces current learning.
  3. Summative – Assessment that summarizes the development of the student at a particular time. What the student knows or doesn’t know. This assessment is a snap shot in time.

These three types of assessment match well with the teaching process we see most often in our classes and schools.

Teaching process

Knowledge Acquisition

Knowledge Deepening

Knowledge Creation

 

This model matches with the model presented by Silver and Strong and Associates

  • Preparing students for learning
  • Presenting new learning
  • Deepening and reinforcing learning
  • Applying learning
  • Reflecting on and celebrating learning

Teaching process

Silver & Strong

Knowledge Acquisition Preparing students for learning
Presenting new learning
Knowledge Deepening Deepening and reinforcing learning
Knowledge Creation Applying learning
Reflecting on and celebrating learning

We can match our three types of assessment to the learning process.

Teaching process

Silver & Strong

Assessment

Knowledge Acquisition Preparing students for learning Diagnostic assessment
Presenting new learning Formative assessment
Knowledge Deepening Deepening and reinforcing learning
Knowledge Creation Applying learning
Reflecting on and celebrating learning Summative assessment

 

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