My Understanding of Classroom Assessment

“The systematic assessment of student learning outcomes is essential to monitoring quality and providing the information that leads to improvement.”  -Middle States Standard XIV

STUDENTS & CLASSROOM ASSESSMENT

Framework of assessment is an educator’s task of assessing the students learning from all aspects from direct methods to indirect methods. We assessed our students through the results of the exams and converted into grades, and sometimes, we fail to acknowledge the factors that affect the results of the assessment. In assessment, it is the teacher’s diagnosis for the students. It is a process of coming to understand the student’s current learning needs well enough to plan for the best possible instructional processes and outcomes for each learner whose academic welfare is the teacher’s full responsibility. Unfortunately, teachers often do prescribe without a diagnosis. To start with our classroom management, it is important to think about the assessment as an instrumental element of a classroom practice.

 Classroom assessment is the process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting information in a classroom for the purpose of aiding a teacher’s decision making. It includes a broad range of information that helps teachers understand their students, monitor teaching and learning, and build an effective classroom community. Teachers use assessment to do the following: diagnose student problems, make judgments about student academic performance, form student work groups, develop instructional plans, and effectively lead and manage a classroom. There are essentially two kinds of classroom assessments: formative and summative. Formative assessment is sometimes called on-going assessment. It is a process used to guide, mentor, direct, and encourage student growth. Teachers use on-going or formative assessment to consistently monitor students’ developing knowledge, understanding, and skill related to the topic at hand in order to know how to proceed with instruction in a way that maximizes the opportunity for student growth and success with key content. An assessment can be considered formative if a teacher gathers evidence about student performance, interprets the evidence, and uses the evidence to make decisions about next steps in instruction that are likely to be better focused or informed than the decisions would have been without the evidence. Formative assessment implies a pragmatic intent—to improve the precision of instructional plans; and an immediacy—to improve those plans in the very term. While, summative assessment has a different tone and purpose than formative assessment. Whereas the intent of formative assessment is to help teachers and students change course when warranted to improve instructional outcomes, summative assessment is intended to measure and evaluate student outcomes. Thus whereas formative assessment should rarely be graded, summative assessment suggests that a grade will be given and a student’s performance will be evaluated based, to some degree, on the information produced.

Effective distinction requires teachers to assess student status before a unit of study begins. A diagnostic assessment helps determine a student’s starting point with learning targets as well as with prerequisite knowledge, understandings, and skills that are essential to continued progress in a content sequence. Pre-assessment is also useful in developing awareness about students’ interests and learning preferences. Formative assessment lets teachers closely monitor a student’s evolving knowledge, understanding, and skills—including any misunderstandings a student may have or develop about key content. As with diagnostic, formative assessment also plays a role in revealing students’ various interests and approaches to learning. Summative assessment evaluates a student’s status with the learning targets at designated endpoints or checkpoints in a unit of study. Assessment in an effectively differentiated classroom will be both informal and formal. Informal assessments include things like talking with students as they enter and leave the room, observing students as they work on a task or in groups, watching students on the playground or at lunch, asking students to use hand signals to indicate their degree of confidence with a skill they have just practiced, or making note of informative comments made by parents at a back-to-school night. Informal assessments are useful in giving a teacher a sense of what makes a student tick, providing a big-picture look at how the class as a whole seems to be doing at a given moment, and amassing a growing sense of how specific students work in particular contexts.

Students vary in at least three ways that affect learning: readiness, interest, and learning profile. Readiness has to do with a student’s current proximity to current learning targets; interest has to do with topics, ideas, or skills that attract a student, generate enthusiasm, or align with a student’s passion; and learning profile relates to a preferred mode of learning or learning preference. Teachers can better focus their planning if they understand their students’ differences in these areas; therefore, teachers should assess all three. Of the three, understanding student readiness calls for more persistent assessment and analysis of assessment information in order to plan curriculum and instruction that moves each student forward from his current point of record.

Assessment of instruction is summative and is especially useful in determining the degree to which a student has mastered an extended body of content at a concluding point in a sequence of learning. Summative assessments result in grades that should reveal that degree of mastery. It emphasizes a teacher’s use of information derived from assessments to do instructional planning that can effectively and efficiently move students ahead from their current points of knowledge, understanding, and skill. It can also be useful in understanding and addressing students’ interests and approaches to learning. Assessment for learning should rarely be graded and feedback that helps students clearly understand areas of proficiency and areas that need additional attention is generally more useful than grading because students are still practicing and refining competencies, and untimely grading or judgment creates an environment that feels unsafe for students to engage in learning.

An effective classroom management demonstrates important connections between assessment and learning environment, and between assessment and classroom leadership. When teachers regularly use assessment to help students develop competence and a sense of independence rather than to judge them, the environment feels harmless and more predictable to students. When teachers help students understand that differentiated tasks often branch from assessment information, students come to understand that the teacher’s goal is to help each learner take the next appropriate step in learning, with clear and dynamic learning goals, student progress monitored by persistent formative assessment, and instruction tailored to extend the likelihood that each student will develop proficiency necessary for growth, a student’s prospects for success are greatly enhanced when the summative or more judgmental aspects of assessment are in show.

 

References:

http://bostonpublicschools.org/cms/lib07/MA01906464/Centricity/Domain/99/stiggins_assessment.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb03/vol60/num05/How-Classroom-Assessments-Improve-Learning.aspx

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