The primary distinction between internal and external assessment are the teachers. Teachers are expected to use classroom assessment as part of the job. There are a variety of ways teachers assess students in order to monitor progress, to grade performance and to modify instruction. But the manner in which teachers choose to assess students has a significant impact on the students’ classroom experience. In many ways, the format and content of repeated quizzes and tests defines a students’ experience of school and influences their view of the discipline.
Classroom assessment is a nonstandardized, localized process idiosyncratic to teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and experience. The manner in which classroom assessment is constructed, enacted and utilized is teacher dependent. Classroom assessment requires teachers to make regular decisions and judgments about student learning on an ongoing basis. Assessment is the process of identifying, observing and interpreting cognition in order to designing and implementing classroom assessments.
Teachers’ conceptions of how students learn influence not only how they interpret students’ work, but also the content and nature of feedback they provide (Delaware Professional Teaching Standard #8: Assessment). Prior to assessment design, teachers’ should gather information through interviews, observation and testing. It is also important to create an environment in which students are encourage sharing their thoughts with their peers and are willing to be sensitive to the social fabric of the classroom (Delaware Professional Teaching Standard #5: Learning Environment).
External assessments also influence schools and classrooms, especially schools that serve students of poverty and other at-risk populations. School administrators and teachers should be familiar with the benefits and risks of external assessments. The practical reality is that the push for educational accountability, coupled with limited resources, will result in external assessments that cannot be replicating in classroom practices (Delaware Professional Teaching Standard #9: Professional Growth).
External assessment will motivate teachers to prepare students for a successful testing rather than learning, restricting student involvement and enjoyment. The question for those interested in improving formative assessment is not whether there are effects, but to what degree can these effects be minimized or leveraged to support student learning. Collaboration with other educators is critical to expanding teachers’ assessment practices.
Teacher collaboration can offer a safe environment for teachers to share and discuss their challenges and concerns and to discover solutions to assessment problems (Delaware Professional Teaching Standard #9: Professional Growth). Classroom assessment is based on the teacher’s methods of observation and judgments. Internal assessment is further influenced by local contexts and classroom environments, and occurs in classrooms on an ongoing basis. It is important to explore ways in which teachers can bring about positive changes in assessment and provide a vision for effective assessment practices, while promoting good learning and grading.
Personal Reflection: I intend to use assessment as a bridge between practical experience and formal teacher training, in order to develop better teaching techniques. By assessing what students know about the realistic world around them, I will be able to develop lesson plans that help incorporate subject areas they are lacking, such as knowledge of local history or developing business plans. I will develop qualitative assessments through objective questioning and eliciting a student’s subjective interpretation of information, as well as standard techniques such as tests and quizzes.