What Is An Assessment –
In terms of education, assessment is referred to as the wide range of methods that are used by the mentors to determine the skills, knowledge, and progress of students on a particular subject or whole education. It makes use of empirical data to examine the skills of students. It involves the method of collecting information from various sources to deeply get the understanding of student’s knowledge, and how they could use that knowledge to develop their skills in an effective way. The process is more effective if the results collected from assessment gathering are used to make subsequent learning.
It is the systematic method to make inferences about the learning and development of students. It is also referred to as the method of defining, choosing, scheming, gathering, analyzing, interpreting and using the information for enhancing the learning and development of students. The assessment also can be defined as the systematic collection, review, and use of information about the educational program for checking the learning and improving skills of students.
Sometimes assessments are taken equivalent to conventional tests. There are certain standardized tests developed by the testing companies and used by the large pool of tutors to determine overall skills from a four-year-old’s readiness for kindergarten to a twelfth-grade student’s comprehension of advanced physics.
As your different subjects have different functions and characteristics, similarly assessments are aimed at measuring different elements in a student. As an instance:
- The knowledge that student already has through their learning.
- Skills taught by the teachers.
- The capacity of students to analyze various forms of text and reading.
Assessments can also be used to determine the weaknesses and strengths of each student so that the teacher can give special extra support to them according to that. Moreover, the assessments are also conducted by a variety of groups and individuals such as
- District administrators
- Public and private organizations
- Education departments
- Groups etc.
Applications Of Assessment:
There are a variety of applications of assessments for different purposes and that is:
- The application of assessment is applicable for measuring the skills and knowledge of students through different processes.
- These tools are applicable at the program and course levels.
- It enables to maintain the student’s goal of learning.
- It also aims at measuring the strengths and weaknesses of students and putting more efforts for that purpose.
Fundamental Components Of Assessment:
There are four fundamental components that are necessary for assessment:
- No.1 -Formulating statements of intentional learning outcomes: Statements that describe the intentions related to students about what they can do with the knowledge they have acquired by their learning process.
- No.2 – Developing or selecting assessment measures: Developing the measures to come to know whether the desired learning outcome achieved by the process or not. It basically consists of: Direct assessments: These type of assessments include the determination:
- Oral exams
- Clinical evaluations
- Case studies
- Papers/ thesis
Indirect Assessments: Indirect assessments are referred to as self-report measures. These reports can be surveys. In this type of reports, the tutors do the analysis of the overall knowledge of the students and how efficient they are to utilize that knowledge.
- No.3 – Creating experiences leading to outcomes: These reports are prepared to get the surety about students having knowledge of both the inside and outside the courses. With this, they are able to gain the desired learning results.
- No.4 – Analyzing and using the assessment outcomes for the improvement of teaching and learning: These assessments can be used to enhance the performance of each student with the help of their outcomes.
The Assessment Cycle:
The above described fundamental components are transcribed into an assessment cycle. The assessment cycle consists of four stages i.e. plan, do, check and act:
- Stage 1 – Plan: What the students should learn?
The first fundamental component of assessment i.e. formulating statements of intentional learning outcomes connects with this stage.
- Stage 2 – Do: How effectively I teach?
The second and third fundamental components of an assessment are connected with this cycle, i.e. developing or selecting assessment measures and creating experiences leading to outcomes.
- Stage 3 – Check: Do the outcomes similar to what I have expected?
This stage deals with the valuation of assessment data. This stage is a portion of the fourth fundamental component.
- Stage 4 – Act: What is the best use of the things that I have learned?
This stage involves reinforcing successful practices and making revisions to enhance student learning. This is also a portion of the fourth stage.
Types Of Assessment:
- Type 1 – High Stake Assessments: These are standardized tests used with the aim of accountability. These are the assessments maintained by the federal, state or local government agencies to get the surety that the schools in which students get admitted are valuable along with the valuable teachers. High stakes assessments are important for the decisions related to teachers, students, schools or districts on the basis of the scores achieved by the students in such tests. And it will decide whether they need punishments or accolades on the basis of these scores.
The punishments might include:
- Restriction from being a graduate.
- Restriction from promotion to next grade.
- Bad promotion.
- Reduction in funding.
The accolades might include:
- Promotion in grades
- Good publicity
- Public celebration
- Type 2 – Pre Assessments Or Diagnostic Assessments: These sort of assessments are conducted before starting a chapter, syllabus or academic program. Here, it is not necessary that students should know the materials used for the valuation of assessments. These type of assessments are mostly used for the establishment of baseline with respect to which the mentors assess progress in learning knowledge during the particular period of course or program. These assessments are used for the measurement of normal academic inclination of a student to enter into the new grade level, syllabus or program.
- Type 3 – Formative Assessments: It is also known as in-process evaluations of students grabbing knowledge during the course. These assessments are normally conducted for numerous times during the completion process of a chapter, syllabus or academic program. The main aim of these types of assessments is to provide feedback to the tutors about the about what knowledge student is acquiring and whatnot in order to modify the support, materials, and approaches for them in accordance to the results. Formative assessments are not usually conducted for the grading or scoring purpose.
These can be conducted in various forms such as:
- In the form of formal quizzes and academic projects or assignments.
- In the form of informal questioning methods and in-class talks with mentees.
- Type 4- Summative Assessments: These types of assessments are conducted usually at the concluding of a chapter, syllabus, semester or year. It aims at getting the conclusion of what students gained as a whole in a particular period of time. These might be used for scoring or grading purposes. Various academic assignments are given in order to evaluate whether the students have acquired what they are supposed to be, during a particular period of time.
The common difference between formative and summative assessments is that the formative one is used for learning because of the fact that the tutors utilize the results for the modification and enhancement of their teaching skills over a particular period of time. Whereas summative assessments are is used as ‘of learning’ because this aims at determining the academic achievement and coursework writing skills of students at the end of the particular period of teaching.
- Type 5 – Interim or benchmark assessments: These types of assessments are used to determine the students progress during the academic period. And either or not they are able to perform satisfactorily in the upcoming assessments. The upcoming assessments might include course ending exams, standardized tests, etc. Interim assessments are normally conducted within a particular interval of time in any academic course. For example, these might be conducted within every four or six weeks of time and etc.
- Type 6 – Placement assessments: These types of assessments are used to “place” scholars into a course, course level or academic program. As an instance, an assessment might be conducted to understand whether the scholars are prepared to enter in Algebra I or more enhanced version of the algebra course. Due to this, the placement assessments are conducted before starting a particular syllabus or course. The central objective of the placement assessment is to match scholars with suitable learning experiences that tackle their different learning needs.
- Type 7 – Screening assessments: These types of assessments are used to evaluate if the student requires some more special assistance or are they already able to start a new course or academic program. There can be many sorts of screening assessments during an educational program.
These assessments can be either:
- Or cognitive
The purpose of a preschool screening test might be either utilized to evaluate if the child is fit to enter the preschool in all terms. This type of assessment mainly focused on the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual condition of the student. Whereas the other screening tests are mainly focused on the evaluation of health, potential learning disabilities and other factors important for students.
- Type 8 – Standardized assessments: These assessments are focused on the evaluation in standard or reliable way. They are mostly conducted in the multiple-choice format. Some might consist of open-ended and short answer questions pattern. Traditionally, standardized tests featured rows of ovals that students filled in with a number-two pencil. But with the time, it has changed the pattern and take the form of computer-based tests. These tests are conducted for the large population of students sharing the same age group or educational level. It can be conducted either state wise, region wise or country wise and results are assessed accordingly.
- Type 9 – Standards-referenced or standards-based assessments: These type of assessments are conducted to evaluate the mastery of students for any particular skill or acquaintance. The skills are measured either locally, state-wise or on the national level. Both standards references or standards-based assessments and high stake assessments either or not conducted on the basis of any particular learning standards. Through this, each school and teachers might develop their own standards-referenced or standards-based assessments.
- Type 10 – Common assessments: These assessments are conducted at the school or district level. It aims at whether or not the teachers are determining the performance of students in a more steady, steadfast and efficient way. These assessments are conducted to bring more consistency in teaching and evaluation among teachers who are engaged in teaching the same content and syllabus. It can be conducted either at the grade level, branch or content area. It aims at allowing the tutors to make the comparison of performance results within various classes, syllabuses, schools, etc. and that is actually impossible if tutors use to teach distinct learning materials. These types of assessments have a similar layout and are conducted with total consistency.
We can see the examples of common assessments as the tutors providing similar instructions and quantity of time to the students for the completion of the assessment process. Using similar grading methods to bring results for the students. Common assessments might be either summative or formative.
- Type 11 – Performance Assessments: These type of assessments mostly need students to accomplish a complicated task or job.
Such tasks may be either of the following:
- Short or long duration project
- Science experiment
- Academic assignment etc.
The methods used by the tutors to determine if the tasks done by students exactly depicting that they have got the same skills and knowing what they were supposed to be are:
- Scoring guides
- Common assessments
- And many other methods
Performance assessments can also be referred to as ‘authentic assessments’ because of the fact that these assessments are supposed to be more exact and significant evaluations of learning achievements as compared to conventional assessment.
- Type 12 – Portfolio-based assessments: These types of assessments are seen as the collections of different academic tasks such as:
- Art projects
- Student-created films
- Writing samples
- Lab results
These types of assessments are mainly compiled by scholars and assessed by tutors in a more reliable manner. Portfolio materials can be collected in physical or digital formats, and they are often evaluated to determine whether students have met required learning standards.
- Type 13 – Confirmative assessments: These types of assessments are used to evaluate whether your instructions applicable to the students, it is still mandatory to conduct the assessment. The aim of the confirmative assessment is to determine if your instructions are still working in the next year or you have to do the necessary amendments. You have to assess whether the method you are using to teach is still working or not. It could be seen as the extended form of summative assessment.
- Type 14 – Norm-referenced assessment: These types of assessments are used to assess the scholar’s performance against an average norm. The example of this type of assessment can be seen as the average national norm for subject history. Let’s look at another example of norm reference assessment; the tutor compares the average grades of the students that he or she teaches with the average grade of the school as a whole.
- Type 15 – Criterion-referenced assessment: These sorts of assessments are used to determine the performances of students on the basis of a fixed set of predetermined criteria or learning standards. It is used to determine what are the knowledge that students should gain and be able to do at a specific stage of their education. It is used to determine the specific set of skills and knowledge. It is the assessment to calculate the overall syllabus and skills taught in a duration of course.
- Type 16 – Ipsative assessment: These types of assessments can be used to evaluate the performance of a student by comparing it with his or her own previous performances. It can help students can enhance their results comparing it with the previous one. Here you are not going to compare yourself with other students. Comparing with other students could leave a bad impact on your self-confidence.
The Main Purpose Of An Assessment:
Each assessment has a different purpose of its own. The aim of any assessment generally depends on the way it is formulated. There are varieties of methods to use the assessment. High stake assessments are standardized assessments whereas other assessments are nonstandardized assessments. The best example of formative and summative assessments is the portfolio of overall work and skills of students. To assess the students on the basis of a single course or grade level in a school, there are certain assessments named teacher-created assessment. These assessments either by a single tutor or group of tutors. This can never term as high stakes.
Reform Of Assessments:
Educational assessments are active with the most traditional time when the school consists of a small room. They are continuously been increasing with time in order to enhance the efficacy of public school and teaching. Standardized test scores are the most commonly used assessment to measure the performance of the school, teacher and school system.
With the development of high tech world, the applications of computers, etc have been increased in schools, therefore the assessment writing tests are also started by using computer-based or online tests. But still, there is an importance of paper-based tests in its own way. The latest technologies and software applications are kept on changing the nature and utilization of assessments in a lot of ways. Digital assessment systems offer a lot more features as compared to traditional tests and assessments.
The digital assessment systems provide the facility to students to log in and give assessments after the class timings too and the results are available immediately after completing the tests. The traditional assessment methods need many hours, days or weeks of time for the teacher to assess and review the test papers and assign scores or grades. Moreover, digital assessments can be used to provide the tutors with more descriptive knowledge of student’s performance.
As an instance, teachers can examine the duration of time a student took to answer a particular question or the number of time a student failed to provide the right answer for a particular question. The advocates have argued that many times the digital assessment system can be used by the teacher to avail more detailed information about the performance of a particular student. With this detailed information, tutors can do the modifications in the educational programs, instructional approaches, etc that can enhance the learning experiences.
The large scale standardized tests are conducted online, the paper-based tests are conducted only if there is an unavailability of computers and if the student chose to as he or she is not able to run computers properly due to lack of skills.
We have understood until now that the assessment is of a variety of forms have too many functions too. If you discuss the applications and purpose of assessments, it can even fill a lengthy book.
Here we are discussing the brief overview of some of the methods by which the assessments are used for the improvement of learning methods:
- Method 1 – System and school accountability: Assessments are increasingly used with the aim of increasing the academic achievements of students and the teaching skills of students. Certain learning standard is required for each student whether he or she is of kindergarten or of high school. There is law showcasing that students studying between grades 3 to 8 should be tested at least once in a year and should be tested once in grades 10-12 in reading and mathematics. The laws also report that standardized tests have been implemented to calculate the efficiency of students to meet the learning standards.
Law also states that the test results should be reported individually various subgroups of scholars namely:
- Students with low proficiency in English.
- Students with special needs.
- Students from a low-income household.
- Minority students etc.
These laws aimed at filling the achievement gaps improving the performances of schools that are underperforming.
- Method 2 – Teacher evaluation and compensation: Most of the educational reformers and other similar official have declared in the past few years that the most effective method to enhance the performance of students and their results only comes with the surety that they have most skilled and effective teachers teaching to them. The best method to check the efficiency of the tutors is to accomplish their evaluation on the basis of scores or grades attained by students in the tests or assessments. The high performing teachers could be rewarded to improve or remove low performing teachers from schools. Certain value-added measures, also known as growth measures are used to calculate the positive or negative impact of each teacher on the academic performance of their students. This can be achieved on the basis of the test results of students.
- Method 3 – Instructional improvement: The results obtained by assessments are collectively used for enhancing the instructional quality and accomplishment of the scholar. As the design of assessment is mainly focused on the measurement of the quantity of any particular knowledge or skill in a student, it can also find out or influence the materials that are taught in the classroom. With the help of formative assessment, the teacher can get the in-process feedback on what the student is learning, so that they can make adjustments to their teaching process accordingly. They don’t need to wait until the completion of any course or syllabus to know the efficiency of the learning process of the student. The other assessment types namely standards-based assessments or common assessments promote the tutors to teach the same course again and again and measure the efficiency of scholar in a more efficient manner.
- Method 4 – Learning needs identification: Tutors use a wide range of assessment methods to determine the special needs of students and that is:
- Check eligibility for a particular subject or course.
- Appraise the language ability of students.
- Diagnosing learning disabilities such as autism, dyslexia, or nonverbal learning disabilities
- Identifying the different learning needs of students.
The current education world is mainly focussed on the early detection of the learning needs and disabilities of students for better improvement.
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