Assessment Basics: The Essence of Assessment


There is considerable evidence showing that assessment drives student learning. More than anything else, our assessment tools tell students what we consider to be important. They will learn what we guide them to learn through our assessments. Traditional testing methods have been limited measures of student learning, and equally important, of limited value for guiding student learning. These methods are often inconsistent with the increasing emphasis being placed on the ability of students to think analytically, to understand and communicate at both detailed and to acquire life-long skills that permit continuous adaptation to workplaces that are in constant change.

In assessing the students, the teacher must be skilled in:

  1. Choosing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions.
  2. Administering, scoring, and interpreting the results of both externally produced and teacher produced assessment methods.
  3. Using assessment results when making decisions about individual students, planning teaching, and developing curriculum and school improvement.

Assessment Competencies for teachers

  1. Developing valid students grading procedures that use student assessment.
  2. Communicating assessment results to students, parents, other lay audiences and other educators
  3. Recognizing unethical, illegal, and otherwise in appropriate assessment methods and uses of assessment information


  1. Choosing assessment methods
    1. Selection of assessment methods
    2. Standards test
  2. Developing assessment methods
    1. Teacher made assessment least measurement error
  3. Interpreting assessment results
    1. Interpret teacher made test score
    2. Interpret Grade Equivalency score
    3. Interpret percentile band scores
  1. Using Assessment result in Decision Making
    1. Standard test data most useful for classroom
    2. Basis for comparing schools test scores
    3. Explaining discrepancy between classroom and standard test scores
  1. Using assessment result in Grading
    1. Weighting test scores to give grades
    2. Reliability of tests for grading
    3. Recognizing sound grade practice
  1. Communicating Assessment result
    1. Explain basis for grade
    2. Using test for resource allocation
  2. Recognizing unethical assessment practices
    1. Display grade privacy
    2. Test as only criterion for grades
    3. Acceptable actions on standardized tests


The type of assessment chosen should be related to learning outcomes and managed by decisions about its purpose, validity and relevance. In addition, as it is probably true to say that every assessment method will place some students at a disadvantage to some extent; a range of types of assessment is desirable to hopefully reduce the element of disadvantage suffered by any particular student.

  1. Essay – The object of the essay should be to test the ability to discuss, evaluate, analyse, summarize and criticize. Two dangers with essays are that they are easy to plagiarize, and that undue weight is often given to factors such as style, handwriting and grammar.
  2. Assignments – A learning task undertaken by the student allowing them to cover a fixed section of the curriculum mainly through independent study
  3. Individual project -An extended investigation carried out by an individual student into a topic agreed on by student and assessor. In many ways similar to an assignment, the main difference is the onus on the student to choose the particular focus and/or medium of presentation.
  4. Group project – Where either an assignment or project is undertaken collectively by groups of students working collaboratively. This has the pragmatic advantage of potentially reducing the tutor’s assessment workload and the educational advantage of helping to develop the students’ team working skills
  5. Dissertation – Written presentation of results of an investigation or piece of research, normally taking the form of an extended essay being less rigorous in its style and layout requirements than a thesis. The content reflects the findings of the investigation. This has similar assessment problems to an individual project.
  6. Examination – This can take a variety of different forms. The most common factors are that it is done under comparatively short, timed conditions and usually under observed conditions which ensures it is the student’s own work
  7. Self and peer assessment – There is strong evidence that involving students in the assessment process can have very definite educational benefits. Not so much a type of assessment like those already listed, this is something which can be done in conjunction with any type of assessment.



5 thoughts on “Assessment Basics: The Essence of Assessment”

    1. Every day, we, as teachers everywhere do, observe our students, listen to their conversations, and talk with them about their ideas, writings, and drawings. Always striving to understand and expand students’ thinking and skills, we use the daily input we gather to decide what next steps you’ll take to support their growth. When these things are done in a purposeful way, they become a kind of formative assessment we refer to as “continuous” assessment or “everyday” assessment.
      “Continuous Assessment is listening closely to students, observing students as they are engaged in learning, as they are engaged with materials, and trying to understand what they understand.”
      The best way I can describe continuous assessment is the process of learning to be with children in such a way as to understand their thinking so that we can continually expand, challenge, and scaffold each child’s experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

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