Classroom Assessment and Student Learning. Prepared by M.A. Sana Yousif Ahmed College of Languages English Department Evening Classes. What do we mean by the word Assessment ?. Classroom assessment is among an instructor’s most essential educational tools.
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M.A. Sana Yousif Ahmed
College of Languages
Classroom assessment is among an instructor’s most essential educational tools.
When properly developed and interpreted, assessments can help teachers better understand what their students are learning.
We typically assess student learning in terms of their grades on quizzes, tests, and papers. But this kind of assessment comes too late—it gives us no chance to adjust our teaching in order to improve students’ content mastery or skills.
To properly assess student learning, you need to know what you want your class to accomplish: The content you wish to convey and the skills you want to nurture.
Principle 2: Assessment requires an instructor to be highly specific about what outcomes to assess.
You need to spell out objectives that are clear and precise, and not vague or allusive.
Principle 3: The objectives need to be student-focused rather than instructor-focused.
Focus on the learning resulting from an activity rather than on the activity that you assign.
Designing informative assessments requires strategic planning and a clear understanding of one’s assessment goals. What needs to be assessed and why?
• Keep learning goals in mind
• Consider assessment strategies
• Determine what would constitute evidence that students have reached the learning goals
If we are serious about enhancing student learning, we want to know what content and skills students have mastered and which they are struggling with.
Here are some ways you can assess student learning in “real time” so that you can adjust your teaching to student needs:
You can learn a lot just by watching students at work. Break them into small groups and give them a problem and see how they grapple with it.
Give students a problem and have them articulate what they are thinking as they attempt to solve it.
A “one minute” paper or a problem or a quiz can offer an efficient way to diagnose student strengths and deficiencies.
A survey allows students to speak for themselves and assess their own areas of competence and deficiency.
To get the most out of assessments, you need to know how to choose the right one for each situation, and how to make that test as effective as possible. A poorly chosen or poorly developed assessment will fail to provide useful evidence about student learning. It could even provide misleading information. Only with good, properly chosen assessments will teachers gather evidence of what their students have learned.
You can begin to create a process for developing and using classroom assessments by asking the following basic but essential questions:
• What am I trying to find out about my students’ learning? What learning goals or outcomes do I want to measure?
• What kind of evidence do I need to show that my students have achieved the goals that I’m trying to measure?
• What kind of assessment will give me that evidence?
1. Have the purpose of the test clearly in mind.
2. Determine what type of assessment would be most appropriate for the situation based on the nature of what you are teaching, the purpose of the instruction, and what you want to measure.
3. If the purpose of the assessment is to determine how well students have mastered a particular unit of study, make sure the test parallels the work covered in class.
4. Subtests should yield separate scores.
5. If the major purpose of the test is to rank a selected group of students in order of their achievement, the questions should cover critical points of learning. The questions should challenge students to do more than memorize and recall facts.
6. Focus on assessing the most important and meaningful information rather than small, irrelevant facts. For example, after students read a passage about nutrition,
rather than asking a comprehension question such as,“How many vitamins are essential for humans? A. 7; B. 13; C. 15; D. 23,” consider asking,“Name at least seven vitamins that are essential for humans and explain why they are essential.”
7. Never use questions on inconsequential details just to trick students.
By providing the means to gather evidence about what students know and can do, classroom assessment can help teachers to
• Monitor student learning and progress
• Plan and conduct instruction
• Allows educators to monitor teaching effectiveness and student learning
• Can motivate and shape learning and instruction
• Can help students improve their own performances