Mainly, three types of assessments are in practice, initial, formative and summative assessment. Initial assessment can be a formal or informal process of identifying each learner’s strengths and help them to understand their areas of development, and the setting action plan accordingly. In formative assessment, teacher or assessor monitor students learning performance during the learning time against a set criteria. Students struggling areas are identified by feedback records and action plan for teachers to adopt teaching strategies and student to motivate for more study is adjusted. In Summative assessment, teacher evaluates the learner’s performance at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against a standard and other students’ performance. Summative assessments are high stakes or high point values and include:
c)Dissertations and projects
d)Instead of comparing the advantages and disadvantages of these assessment types, I would prefer to discuss assessment instruments I used in these assessments and talk about their merits and demerits.
1. Good tool to assess students’ knowledge without guessing.
2. It forces student to think and articulate that thinking.
3. Take less time to create test as compared to MCQ where assessor has to make more choices and student will choose one.
4. Teacher can provide better feedback on answers.
1. These tests needs language skills with and ESL students can’t demonstrate their capabilities.
2. These tests are time bounds and a slow writing student may not able to show his full knowledge.
3. Performance in these test based on memorizing facts instead of showing creativity.
2.Oral Exams1. This format decreases miscommunication and misunderstanding while questioning or answering.
2. Student doesn’t need to follow any set lines for answer.
3. Give more chances to examiner to ask how student came to this answer.
4. More assessors can take part in this format.
5. More areas can be covered in less time. 1. Could be biased and less fair result oriented. 2. Requires a trained examiner to set such format which cost more. 3. Shy students can be distracted by other factors and c\they may not give their fullest.
3. Portfolios1. Assess and promote critical thinking.
2. Give opportunity learner to be self-directed, active, peer -supported and independent.
3. More than one assessor validates the performance.
4.Promotes creativity and problem solving
5. can be used to assess professional and personal development.1. Difficult to identify whether this is student’s own effort or somebody else’s. 2. Involve large amount of paper work which gives less time to focus on course. 3. Reliability issues.
4. Student can easily hide their weaknesses in this type of assessment.
4. Projects and dissertations1. All round ability testing i.e practical, analytical and interpretative skills. 2. Teaches students time management and if in group then teaches leadership and team work skills. 3. Increase motivation to complete task quickly and in time.1. Making of such format assessment is hectic and time consuming. 2. Validity and reliability of assessment is not high as compared to other formats. 3. If resources not available to learning, performance will be compromised.
In my teaching career, I have gone through all above mentioned assessment tools and found written exams are widely used in many parts of world. People love written exams because they pile up work and when exam is near, they memorize it and ready for exam, no creative work during the term just collecting the notes. Trend is slightly changing in the world and other assessment tools are in practice, mostly university are assessing courses by assignments, project and dissertations and these formats require continuous study and work that’s develop students other skills along with the completion of these tasks.