ECS 311: ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES The processes of assessment and evaluation are integral parts of the cycle of planning, teaching, assessing and reporting. They involve gathering evidence of what a student knows, understands and is able to demonstrate, and interpreting the data to make judgments and decisions about that information and the student’s learning needs. The best assessment of student learning involves a wide range of assessment strategies and tools. This document was developed to provide teachers and school-based administrators with a resource that is a practical and straight forward guide to getting started in the use of an assessment strategy. Each strategy is explained in terms of what it is and when it might be used and includes examples or anecdotes that illustrate the specific strategy.Principles for assessment and record-keeping practicesAssessment is a deliberate process used to provide feedback and evidence for making judgments about students’ learning in relation to targeted objectives. Continuous assessment and providing helpful feedback to students are integral parts of both learning and teaching.
Assessment purposes include the following:
To provide diagnostic information to students, parents and teachers
To enable students, parents and teachers to ascertain students’ progress in learning
To help teachers plan instructional programs
Assessment activities should therefore:
Be an integral and continuing part of the teaching program
Be based on clear assessment criteria that have been explained to students
Provide a range of information that, taken as a whole, allows judgments about levels of achievement
Be directed at what students have been taught and can reasonably be expected to have learned
Allow opportunities for both peer- and self-assessment in addition to teacher assessment
Lead to the production or collection of portfolios of work upon which to base a final judgment of students learning over a period.
How can teachers and schools keep records that are both manageable and allow reliable assessments?
Reliable assessment must be both comprehensive and manageable. A key question for teachers to pose when developing a record-keeping plan is: “Are my present assessment and record-keeping procedures efficient and comprehensive enough to enable me to make reliable judgments about student levels of achievement?" Comprehensive record-keeping procedure Each day students provide evidence of their understanding in many ways - through explanations, discussions, projects, and questions. This evidence of student learning can be lost if there is no conscious effort to keep track of their work. Teachers need a variety of assessment strategies to inform ongoing teaching and to report progress to students and parents. Traditional paper-and-pencil tests reflect only a part of the classroom experience. A broad-based approach to assessment creates a more meaningful portrait of what students know and can do. A variety of record-keeping and reporting strategies are needed to capture other evidence of growth in students. A comprehensive assessment toolbox could include:
Adapting Assessment: tailoring to individual student needs. The adaptive dimension is a foundation of core curriculum that enables teachers to respond to the learning needs of students. The decisions a teacher makes regarding how the foundational objectives can best be achieved will guide how the course will be taught and, in turn, how students will be assessed. Adaptations to what students learn and how they learned requires that assessment also be adapted.
Interview and conferences: face to face conversation to assess, track, and monitor student growth
Kid watching/anecdotal records: open-ended, narrative observational notes, logs and records
Checklists: Structured, curriculum-based observation guides, charts and records
Tests and Quizzes: Written and oral, multiple-choice, true-false, matching and short response
Peer and Self Evaluations: checklist, logs, records, etc.
Grading and Reporting: Providing oral and written feedback on progress made.
Each of these are discussed separately in the pages that follow. Manageable Record keeping Procedures Accurate, current and accessible record keeping is a significant responsibility for teachers. Records of student achievement should be immediately available to the teacher, to administrators, to parents/guardians and to students. Developing an assessment plan that is both comprehensive and manageable is a challenging undertaking. Some priorities that will aid teachers in this task include:
Devising a simple method for keeping your student records current. A simple computer generated spreadsheet or charting method that can be up-dated quickly is useful for recording marks from tests, quizzes, projects, etc. Software is readily available for this purpose.
Keeping an individual student anecdotal file where you can note pertinent information on work habits or behavioural problems, as well as observations about student learning is essential. This information is useful when engaging students in goal setting processes and when you are preparing formal reports.
Encouraging students to keep on-going records that reflect their progress and goals. When students keep track of their growth they have more opportunity to learn about themselves as a learner.
Development of student portfolios that provide evidences of student learning. These portfolios will enlarge the view of what has been learned as well as provide a window into student thinking.
Ensuring a high degree of reliability by balancing objective assessments that are criterion-referenced with more subjective assessments.
Communicating to students how they will be assessed and graded and providing them with information about their progress.