Assessment of learning refers to strategies designed to confirm what students know, demonstrate whether or not they have met curriculum outcomes or the goals of their individualized programs, or to certify proficiency and make decisions about students’ future programs or placements. It is designed to provide evidence of achievement to parents, other educators, the students themselves, and sometimes to outside groups (e. g. , employers, other educational institutions). Assessment of learning is the assessment that becomes public and results in statements or symbols about how well students are learning.
It often contributes to pivotal decisions that will affect students’ futures. It is important, then, that the underlying logic and measurement of assessment of learning be credible and defensible. Teachers’ Roles in Assessment of Learning Because the consequences of assessment of learning are often far-reaching and affect students seriously, teachers have the responsibility of reporting student learning accurately and fairly, based on evidence obtained from a variety of contexts and applications.
Effective assessment of learning requires that teachers provide ?a rationale for undertaking a particular assessment of learning at a particular point in time ?clear descriptions of the intended learning ?processes that make it possible for students to demonstrate their competence and skill ?a range of alternative mechanisms for assessing the same outcomes ?public and defensible reference points for making judgments ?
Transparent approaches to interpretation ?descriptions of the assessment process ?strategies for recourse in the event of disagreement about the decisions With the help of their teachers, students can look forward to assessment of learning tasks as occasions to show their competence, as well as the depth and breadth of their learning.
ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING Assessment for learning focuses on engaging students in classroom assessment in support of their own learning and informing teachers about what to do next to help students to progress. Assessment for learning is assessment for improvement not assessment for accountability as can be the case with summative assessments (Stiggins, 2002). The keys to Assessment for Learning (AFL) is to use a variety of assessment tools and methods in order to provide ongoing evidence to students, teachers and parents that demonstrates how well each student is mastering the identified outcomes.
This evidence is used to provide descriptive feedback to the students and to enable the teacher to differentiate the instruction to meet the needs of individual students or groups. ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING VS. ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING Gregory, Cameron, and Davies (1997) outline some distinct differences between Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning. Educators are using these terms to help distinguish between the teacher’s role as a learning coach versus the teacher’s role of judging the extent of a student’s achievement in relation to an established standard.
This assessment is considered summative and is done at the end. 1. Assessment for learning is the big deal, while assessment of learning is the done deal. 2. Assessment for learning is formative, while assessment of learning is summative. 3. Assessment for learning is supportive, while assessment of learning measures. 4. Assessment for learning uses descriptions, while assessment of learning uses scores. 5. Assessment for learning happens day by day, moment by moment, while assessment of learning happens at the end.
The assertion is that neither one is better than the other, but both need to be used within a students learning so that the student is able to understand not only the work that is being asked of them, but also how their own learning occurs. Assessment for learning is intended to be both diagnostic and formative to help students improve their learning. Four critical questions that the teacher must ask when planning for assessment for learning:
WHY AM I ASSESSING? If the intent of assessment is to enhance student learning teachers use assessment for learning to uncover what students believe to be true and to learn more about the connections students are making, their prior knowledge, preconceptions, gaps, and learning styles.
This information is used to inform and differntiate instruction to build on what students already know and to challenge students when their are problems inhibiting progression to the next stages of learning. Teachers use this information to provide their students with descriptive feedback that will further their learning and not as a sumamtive assessment or to report a grade. WHAT AM I ASSESSING? Assessment for learning requires ongoing assessment of the outcomes that comprise the intended learning. In most cases these are the curriculum outcomes.
Teachers create assessments that will expose students’ thinking and skills in relation to the intended learning, and the common preconceptions. WHAT ASSESSMENT METHOD SHOULD I USE? When planning assessment for learning, the teacher must think about what assessment is designed to expose, and must decide which assessment approaches are most likely to give detailed information about what each student is thinking and learning. The methods need to incorporate a variety of ways for students to demonstrate their learning.
For example, having students complete tasks orally or through visual representation allow those who are struggling with reading or writing to demonstrate their learning. HOW CAN I USE THE INFORMA%ON? The information collected in assessment for learning is used to report to the student and by offering descriptive, on time feedback and to provide the teacher with information to allow for changes in instruction for individual students or groups of students. ASSESSMENT AS LEARNING Assessment as learning occurs when students are their own assessors.
Students monitor their own learning, ask questions and use a range of strategies to decide what they know and can do, and how to use assessment for new learning. Assessment as learning: ?encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning ?requires students to ask questions about their learning ?involves teachers and students creating learning goals to encourage growth and development ?provides ways for students to use formal and informal feedback and self-assessment to help them understand the next steps in learning ?encourages peer assessment, self-assessment and reflection. ROLES This assessment model supports the view of today’s learners as actively involved in the learning process.
Students are educated on the purpose of assignments and the outcomes they are trying to achieve. Hence the teacher and the student both have critical roles in understanding learning outcomes and modifying learning in Assessment as Learning. Teacher Ensuring assessment methods are appropriate and the purpose is clear to students ensures quality and fair assessment practices as per the Principles for Fair Student Assessment in Canada (1993). Beyond choosing the learning outcomes to be covered, the activities to follow and the assessment methods, in Assessment as Learning, the teacher engages the students in this process.
In Assessment as Learning, the teacher is a guide, “Giving them [students] the tools to undertake their own learning wisely and well. ” (WNCP, p. 42) Students learn to monitor their own learning and make adaptations as required. In addition to monitoring learning and guiding instruction through assessment for learning, the teacher is assessing the students’ ability to assess themselves as they learn how to assess their own learning. Teachers can follow the following model in order to practice Assessment as Learning in their classroom: (adapted from WNCP, p. 42-43) 1. Discuss the learning outcomes with the students.
2. Create criteria with the students for the various tasks that need to be completed and/or skills that need to be learned or mastered 3. Provide feedback to students as they learn and ask them guiding questions to help them monitor their own learning 4. Help them set goals to extend or support their learning as needed in order to meet or fully meet the expectations 5. Provide reference points and examples for the learning outcomes Teachers are also responsible for ensuring that students have a learning environment in which they feel comfortable and safe to learn as well as have ample time to practise what is being taught.
Student Beyond completing the tasks assigned to them by their teacher, students move from the passive learner to an active owner of their own learning. Initially, with teacher guidance and tools, students learn to monitor if they have understood the learning outcome being explored and the metacognitive process. Once the metacognitive skills have been acquired, students can independently adjust their learning accordingly and demonstrate the “self-reflection, self- monitoring and self-adjustment. ” (WNCP, 2006, p. 85) Extensive and relevant modeling in the questions below can help students reach this point:
1. What is the purpose of learning these concepts and skills? 2. What do I know about this topic? 3. What strategies do I know that will help me learn this? 4. Am I understanding these concepts? 5. What are the criteria for improving my work? 6. Have I accomplished the goals I set for myself? What is self-assessment? According to Boud (1995), all assessment including self-assessment comprises two main elements: making decisions about the standards of performance expected and then making judgments about the quality of the performance in relation to these standards.
When self-assessment is introduced, it should ideally involve students in both of these aspects. Andrade and Du (2007) provide a helpful definition of self-assessment that focuses on the formative learning that it can promote: Self-assessment is a process of formative assessment during which students reflect on and evaluate the quality of their work and their learning, judge the degree to which they reflect explicitly stated goals or criteria, identify strengths and weaknesses in their work, and revise accordingly (2007, p. 160). EXAMPLES OF SELF-ASSESSMENT Self-assessment can take many forms, including:
?writing conferences ?discussion (whole-class or small-group) ?reflection logs ?weekly self-evaluations ?self-assessment checklists and inventories ?teacher-student interviews These types of self-assessment share a common theme: they ask students to review their work to determine what they have learned and what areas of confusion still exist. Although each method differs slightly, all should include enough time for students to consider thoughtfully and evaluate their progress. When students understand the criteria for good work before they begin a literacy activity, they are more likely to meet those criteria.
The key to this understanding is to make the criteria clear. As students evaluate their work, you may want them to set up their own criteria for good work. Help them with the clarity of their criteria as they assess their own work. Students’ observations and reflections can also provide valuable feedback for refining your instructional plan. As your students answer questions about their learning and the strategies they use, think about their responses to find out what they are really learning and to see if they are learning what you are teaching them. K-W-L (KNOW, WANT TO KNOW, LEARNED) CHART.
K-W-L (Ogle, 1986) is an instructional reading strategy that is used to guide students through a text. Students begin by brainstorming everything they Know about a topic. This information is recorded in the K column of a K-W-L chart. Students then generate a list of questions about what they Want to Know about the topic. These questions are listed in the W column of the chart. During or after reading, students answer the questions that are in the W column. This new information that they have Learned is recorded in the L column of the K-W-L chart. Purpose The K-W-L strategy serves several purposes:
Elicits students’ prior knowledge of the topic of the text. ?Sets a purpose for reading. ?Helps students to monitor their comprehension. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Donna Ogle asserts that KWL helps students become better readers of expository text and helps teachers to be more interactive in their teaching (Ogle, 1987). KWL charts help students to be active thinkers while they read (Carr & Ogle, 1987), giving them specific things to look for and having them reflect on what they learned when they are finished reading. In learning, metacognition involves the active monitoring and conscious control and regulation of cognitive processes.
It involves thinking about thinking, self-awareness, and self-regulation (Flavell, 1979). The metacognitive strategy of self-questioning is used to ensure that students comprehend the text. When students set their own purposes for reading, they are more motivated and active as readers. Each student has a schema, or a framework for how they view the world. Accessing a student’s prior knowledge is the first step in integrating new concepts into their existing schema. KWL charts help activate background knowledge and provide an opportunity for students to set their own learning objectives.
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