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Assessment and Evaluation. Today, teachers must test and evaluate, and they must respond to the use of standardized tests on their students and on themselves. Assessing and evaluating students is one of the things teachers do that has important and lasting consequences for students.

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Assessment and Evaluation

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Assessment and Evaluation

  • Today, teachers must test and evaluate, and they must respond to the use of standardized tests on their students and on themselves.

  • Assessing and evaluating students is one of the things teachers do that has important and lasting consequences for students.


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  • Regardless of the criticism and controversy surrounding this topic, the process of assessing and evaluating students has persisted and basic practices have remained essentially constant for most of the past century.

  • The Elementary and Secondary Amendment (ESEA) passed by Congress in 2002 and signed by the President puts more emphasis than ever on the use of standardized tests to evaluate students and their schools.


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  • This legislation requires schools to test children every year in grades 3 through 8 and stipulates that schools that have high proportions of failing students be put under special scrutiny and allows parents of children in these schools to send them to a school of their choice.

  • Two important conditions of schools and teaching help explain our emphasis on testing.


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  • Society assigns the job of assessing and evaluating student growth and potential in large part to schools and teachers.

  • How well students perform on tests, the grades they receive, and the judgments their teachers make about their potential have important, long-term consequences for students.

  • Enduring perceptions about self-worth and self-esteem can also result from the way students are evaluated in school.


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  • For these reasons, of all the leadership aspects of teaching, assessing and evaluating student growth and potential may be the most far-reaching.

  • Teachers who do not take this aspect of their work seriously (regardless of the reforms they may desire) are doing their students a great disservice.


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  • Students can be motivated to do certain things for extrinsic rewards.

  • For many people in our society, extrinsic reward are valued and provide a strong incentive to act in a particular way.


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  • Academic tasks such as completing assignments, studying for tests, writing papers and carrying on classroom discourse comprise the work of students.

  • It is important to remember, just as adults work for a salary, students work for grades.


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Key Assessment and Evaluation Concepts

  • Assessment and evaluation are functions carried out by teachers to gather information needed to make wise decisions, and it should be clear by now that the decisions teachers make are important to students’ lives.


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  • Assessment

    • The term assessment usually refers to the full range of information gathered and synthesized by teachers about their classrooms.

    • Information can be gathered on students in informal ways such as through observation and verbal exchange.

    • It can be gathered through formal means such as homework, tests, and written reports.


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  • Evaluation

    • The term evaluation usually refers to the process of making judgments, assigning value, or deciding on worth.

    • Most evaluations are formative or summative.

      • Formative evaluations are collected before or during instruction and are intended to inform teachers about their students’ prior knowledge and skills in order to assist with planning. It is used to make judgments about such matters as student grouping, unit and lesson plans, and instructional strategies.


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  • Summative Evaluations are efforts to use information about students or programs after a set of instructional activities has occurred.

    • Summative evaluations are designed so that judgments can be more about accomplishments.

    • Information obtained from summative evaluations can be used by teachers to determine grades and to explain the reports sent to students and their parents.


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  • Measurement and evaluation specialists use three technical terms to determine the quality of assessment information: reliability, validity, and fairness.

    • A test is said to be reliable when it produces dependable, consistent scores for persons who take it more than once over a period of time.

    • A test is said to be valid when it measures what it claims to measure.

    • A test is said to be fair if it offers all students the same chance of doing well and if it does not discriminate against a particular group of students because of their race, ethnicity, or gender.


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Statewide and Schoolwide Use of Standardized Tests

  • Currently, it is common practice for states to use standardized tests to diagnose and evaluate students’ academic progress.

  • The results of state tests are given to teachers, who can use them for diagnostic purposes. They are also given to students and their parents. In many states, test scores are summarized by the school.


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  • In many states, test scores are summarized by the school.

  • Each school is compared to other schools in the state. These comparisons are published in the local newspaper.

  • Some schools require summer schools for students who score below established goals.


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  • Many school districts also have standardized testing programs.

  • Sometimes schools use tests developed and distributed by national test publishers.

  • Others use tests developed and distributed by state or district testing authorities.


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  • Beginning teachers will be expected to understand the non technical aspects of the testing program, and they will be expected to use test results and to communicate these clearly to students and their parents.

  • In many school districts, teachers are also held accountable for their students’ success on these tests.


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  • Standardized tests are those that have been designed and validated by professional test makers for specific purposes such as measuring academic or literary levels.

  • Norm referenced tests attempt to evaluate a particular student’s performance by comparing it to the performance of some other well-defined group of students on the same test.


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  • The score tells you how you performed on some specific topic or skill in comparison with students from a national population who served as the “norm” group for the test.

  • The raw score is the number of items on the test a student answers correctly.

  • The percentile score is a statistical device that shows how a student compares with others, specifically the proportion of individuals who had the same or lower raw scores for a particular section on the test.


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  • Criterion-referenced tests measure student performance against some agreed upon level of performance or criterion.

  • It is important that teachers communicate the results of standardized tests to parents and make sure they understand the limitations of these tests.

  • Assessing a students’ prior knowledge is very important. Prior knowledge refers to information and knowledge held by students before they receive instruction.


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  • As instruction moves from a focus on such basic skills and abilities to a focus on more complex thinking and problem-solving skills, the problem of providing corrective feedback becomes more difficult because there are fewer reliable tests and acceptable procedures for these more complex processes.

  • Corrective feedback provides students with information about how well they are doing.


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Assessment Information to Diagnose Students with Disabilities

  • Today, beginning teachers can almost be assured that students with disabilities will be present in their regular classrooms (inclusion).


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Type of Information Required to Assess Students with Disabilities

  • Mentally retardedDegree of intellectual ability, adaptive behavior, language functioning, medical history

  • Hard of Hearing/DeafAudio logical. Intellectual, language, speech, and social and emotional development

  • Speech ImpairedAudio logical. Intellectual, language, speech, and social and emotional development

  • Visually HandicappedOphthalmological , intellectual, and social and emotional development

  • Emotionally DisturbedIntellectual, medical, and social and emotional development

  • Orthopedically Impaired/Other Health Impairments

    Medical, motor, adaptive behavior, and social and emotional development


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Type of Information Required to Assess Students with Disabilities

  • Deaf-BlindAudiloogical, ophthalmological, language, medical, and adaptive behavior

  • Multiple HandicappedMedical, intellectual, motor, adaptive behavior, social and emotional development, language, speech, and audiological and opthalmological, when appropriate

  • GiftedIntellectual, creative, and social and emotional development


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General Principles

  • Assess All Instructional Objectives

  • Cover All Cognitive Domains

  • Use Appropriate Test Items

  • Make Tests Valid, Reliable, and Fair

  • Use Tests to Improve Learning


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  • Constructing and Scoring Tests

    • Objective tests are made up of the following kind of test items: (scored relatively free from bias)

      • True False

      • Matching

      • Multiple Choice

      • Fill in the Blank


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  • Many teachers and test experts agree that essay tests do the best job of tapping students’ higher level thought processes and creativity.

    • Write the essay question so it is clear and explains to students what should be covered in the answer.

    • Write a sample answer to the question ahead of time and assign points to various parts of the answer.

    • Use scoring rubrics.

    • Use techniques to reduce expectancy effects.

    • Consider using holistic scoring.


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Giving the Test

  • Conditions of the testing situation are very important and can significantly influence how well students do on their tests.


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Giving the Test

  • Find ways to deal with test anxiety.

  • Organize the learning environment for conducive test taking.

  • Make routines and instructions for the test clear.

  • Avoid undue competition and time pressures.

  • Provide students with sufficient time.

  • Provide appropriate support for students with special needs.


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Summary Guidelines for Testing and Grading

  • Test at All Levels

  • Communicate Clearly to Students What They Will Be Tested On

  • Use Multiple Measures

  • Test Frequently

  • Make Grading Procedures Explicit


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Authentic Assessment

  • Performance assessments ask students to demonstrate certain behaviors or abilities in testing situations.

  • Authentic Assessment takes these demonstrations a step further and stresses the importance of the application of the skill or ability within the context of a real-life situation.


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Scoring Rubric

  • A scoring rubric is a detailed description of some type of performance.

  • It makes explicit criteria that will be used to judge the performance.

  • Rubrics can also be used to communicate criteria and standards to students before a performance.


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Things to consider when selecting a rubric:

  • Does the rubric relate to the outcome(s) being measured?  Does it address anything extraneous?

  • Does the rubric cover important dimensions of student performance?

  • Do the criteria reflect current conceptions of "excellence" in the field?

  • Are the categories or scales well-defined?


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  • Is there a clear basis for assigning scores at each scale point?

  • Can the rubric be applied consistently by different scorers?

  • Can the rubric be understood by students and parents?

  • Is the rubric developmentally appropriate?

  • Can the rubric be applied to a variety of tasks?

  • Is the rubric fair and free from bias?

  • Is the rubric useful, feasible, manageable and practical?


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Student Portfolios

  • Portfolio Assessment is a from of assessment that evaluates a sample of students’ work and other accomplishments over time.


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  • A portfolio is not a random collection of observations or student products; it is systematic in that the observations that are noted and the student products that are included relate to major instructional goals.


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  • For example, book logs that are kept by students over the year can serve as a reflection of the degree to which students are building positive attitudes and habits with respect to reading. A series of comprehension measures will reflect the extent to which a student can construct meaning from text. Developing positive attitudes and habits and increasing the ability to construct meaning are often seen as major goals for a reading program.


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  • Portfolios are collections of student work representing a selection of performance. Portfolios in classrooms today are derived from the visual and performing arts tradition in which they serve to showcase artists' accomplishments and personally favored works. A portfolio may be a folder containing a student's best pieces and the student's evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the pieces. It may also contain one or more works-in-progress that illustrate the creation of a product, such as an essay, evolving through various stages of conception, drafting, and revision.


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  • The content in portfolios is built from class assignments and as such corresponds to the local classroom curriculum. Often, portfolio programs are initiated by teachers, who know their classroom curriculum best. They may develop portfolios focused on a single curricular area--such as writing, mathematics, literature, or science--or they may develop portfolio programs that span two or more subjects, such as writing and reading, writing across the curriculum, or mathematics and science. Still others span several course areas for particular groups of students, such as those in vocational-technical, English as a second language, or special arts programs.


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