Why Is Assessment Important?
Assessment is a crucial component of instruction because it determines whether or not the educational objectives are being met in the classroom. Assessment has an impact on decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, curriculum, and, in some cases, financial support for educational institutions. Assessment prompts us to consider the following difficult questions: “Are we teaching what we believe we are teaching?” “Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?” “Is there a better way to teach the subject, thereby promoting better learning?” “Is there a way to improve the subject, thereby promoting better learning?”
Students today need to be familiar with not only the fundamentals of reading and arithmetic but also skills that will prepare them to deal with the challenges of a constantly changing world. They must be able to think critically, analyze, and draw conclusions from their findings. Changes in the skills base and knowledge that our students require to necessitate the development of new learning objectives; these new learning objectives alter the relationship between assessment and instruction. Teachers must be involved in the decision-making process when it comes to the purpose of assessment and the content that will be assessed.
In this video, Key Learning teacher Beverly Hoeltke discusses the unconventional progress report — which includes a student’s assessment — with a student and his mother.
An interview with Edutopia.org featured Grant Wiggins, a nationally recognized assessment expert who shared his thoughts on performance assessments, standardized tests, and other topics with the audience. Reading and reflecting on his answers to the following questions from the interview will help you better understand his points of view: