Assessment: Everything You Need to Know

Assessments function as individual evaluation systems that help teachers and instructors monitor and compare performance across a spectrum and populations. Since there are different types of assessments designed to serve several organizations, they can become ritualistic and monotonous, blurring the instructor, teacher, and organization’s view of the main purpose of the assessment and the reason they’re carried out in the first place. So, what’s the main purpose of these assessments?

The goal of assessment exercises is to get the needed information concerning the performance or progress of a student or group of students in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a student, the things they find interesting and boring, and other useful information that can help teachers improve the learning process. Armed with this information, teachers can analyze the achievement level of each student to customize their future learning process.

In learner-centered assessments, the essential elements are:

·         Formulating statements of proposed learning outcomes: This refers to formulating statements that explain the intentions related to what students should understand, know, and be able to do with their knowledge.

·         Choosing or developing assessment measures: The teachers choose or design data-gathering measures to evaluate whether or not their proposed learning outcomes have been achieved. This step typically includes:

Ø  Direct assessments, including products, case studies, projects, exhibitions, papers/theses, performances, portfolios, clinical evaluations, oral exams, and interviews that ask students to show what they can do with their knowledge or the things they know.

Ø  Indirect assessments, which include self-report measures like surveys, where students share their views about what they know or can do with their knowledge.

·         Creating experiences leading to desired learning outcomes: This ensures that students have experiences both within the scope of their courses and outside them, which will help them accomplish the proposed learning outcomes.

·         Discussion on assessment results to improve learning and teaching: This step involves analyzing and discussing the assessment results and using the insights gathered to improve individual student performance and even fine-tune teaching methods to make them more effective.

Typically, an assessment cycle includes four stages, namely planning, doing, checking, and acting. At the planning stage, teachers decide what they want their students to learn. This is followed by choosing or developing assessment measures and creating experiences to teach effectively. The third step is where the teachers check if their planned learning outcomes are met based on the evaluation of assessment data. The last step is reinforcing successful teaching and assessment practices and making revisions to improve student learning.

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