What Are Some Types of Assessment?
Early theories of learning held that complicated higher-order cognitive skills could only be gained in small chunks and that learning could be broken down into a sequence of necessary skills. After memorizing these components, the learner would be able to put them together to generate complicated understanding and insight — the pieces of the jigsaw might be organized to form a coherent picture. (See Figure 1)
Today, we understand that learning necessitates the learner’s participation in problem-solving to actively construct mental models. Knowledge is gained not just via the receipt of information, but also through the interpretation of that information and the application of that information to the learner’s existing knowledge base. To tackle complicated problems, the learner’s capacity to organize, arrange, and utilize knowledge in context is critical, and this skill should be measured.
“Assessment should be purposefully geared to improve and teach student performance, rather than simply auditing it, as most school assessments currently do.” -Grant Wiggins, EdD, president, and director of programs at Relearning by Design, based in Ewing, NJ
Almost every school district now conducts standardized assessments that are mandated by the state. The same test is administered to all students in a certain grade level. Almost else about the test is the same as it has always been, including the questions themselves, how long students have to finish it (with certain accommodations for children with learning or physical difficulties), and when the time of year the test is administered. Since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known by its acronym as the No Child Left Behind Act (which requires research-based assessment), student performance on these tests has become the basis for such critical decisions as student promotion from one grade to another and compensation for teachers and administrators across the country.
Students in the robotics department at Poudre High School compete against one another to develop a better robot.
Contrary to the standards movement, which advocates particular grade-level content and performance criteria in major subject areas, standardized exams should not be associated with this movement. Standardized examinations are frequently not connected with state and district content requirements, resulting in a significant gap between what is being taught and what is being assessed.
A project was launched in the spring of 2009 to develop a set of standards that would be adhered to by all 50 states in the United States. The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSS), as it has come to be known, is a movement that is still in the early stages of development. The vast majority of states have committed to adopting the criteria and putting them into effect by the year 2015. English language arts and maths standards were announced in 2010, however, standards for science and social studies are still in the process of being developed. More information about the Common Core State Standards can be found on Edutopia’s Common Core State Standards Resource page.
The following questions arise: What exactly is evidence-based assessment? Is it a series of standardized tests? Is it portfolios, or something else? What more is required if portfolios are considered a component of evidence-based assessment? Reflections? Do you have any work samples? What is your best work?
“The effective implementation of assessment is essential if it is to be a constructive factor in educational settings. It cannot be used to simply categorize pupils or to criticize educational institutions. Its objectives must be to improve educational opportunities. It is imperative that we “test what we teach,” rather than merely “teach to the exam.” -Lockwood and McLean, to name a couple.
Alternative Methods of Evaluation
Alternative assessment, also known as authentic, thorough, or performance assessment, is frequently devised by the teacher to determine whether or not pupils have grasped the information being taught. Open-ended inquiries, written compositions, oral presentations, projects, experiments, and portfolios of student work are all examples of how to measure learning outcomes in the classroom. Alternative assessments are created in such a way that the content of the assessment corresponds to the content of the instructional materials.
While effective evaluations provide students with immediate feedback on their understanding of the material and areas for improvement, they also assist teachers in better designing instructional materials. Student participation in their evaluation increases the relevance of assessment even further for them. Students who participate in the development of the scoring criteria, self-evaluation, and goal setting are more likely to believe that the assessment is accurately assessing their learning and to accept the exam as valid.
Many of the following can be included in an authentic assessment:
Additionally, the 2008 in-depth package on genuine assessment, Reinventing the Big Test: The Challenge of Authentic Assessment, published by Edutopia.org, contains a wealth of useful information on the subject.