Assessment in Schools Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 September 2016

Assessment in Schools

1. Reasons for Assessment Diagnosis: helping young people to establish a baseline and understand their progress, strength and develop needs. Recognition and motivation: recording and rewarding learners’ progress and achievement. Standard setting: confirming levels and thresholds of achievement Differentiation and selection: enabling employers and higher education providers to understand what young people have achieved, and how individuals compare with their peers. 2. Purpose of Assessment. Selection Standards Teachers feedback Motivation Assess readiness for future learning.

Preparation for life- “life is like this” Evaluate curriculum effectiveness Information to others Statement of curriculum Attainment Record of progress- over time 3. Baseline and benchmarking Purpose of baseline scheme Characteristics of a baseline scheme Chapter 4. Target Setting 6. Assessment for learning. Assessment for learning is about supporting classroom learning and teaching.

It connects assessment and learning/teaching. What is assessment for learning? Assessment for learning. is part of effective planning focuses on how students learn is recognized as central to classroom practice is a key professional skill is sensitive and constructive fosters motivation promotes understanding of goals and helps learners know how to improve develop the capacity for assessment recognizes all educational achievements Key Issue: 1. Involvement, discussion and feedback Sharing criteria Discussion Feedback Involvement 2. Planning and evidence Gathering evidence Recording personal learning plans Planning for individuals 3. Partnership Partnership with parents and pupils 7.

Assessment as learning Assessment as learning is about learning how to learn. It connects learning/teaching and curriculum.

What is Assessment as learning? Key issues: 1. Pupils as learners Reflection Reporting Self/peer assessment Motivation 2. Teachers as learners Developing assessment policy Interpreting evidence Collaboration 3. Management of learning Management supports Manageability 8. Assessment of Learning Assessment of learning is about gathering and interpreting the evidence.

It connects curriculum and assessment. Gathering and interpreting evidence Teacher assessment is first and foremost about helping pupils to learn. Fundamental principles Developing Assessment Instruments Application of assessment instrument Assessment as an end-of-key-stage process Management and monitoring of assessment, recording and reporting Recording and evidence Planning Reporting to parents and guardians Assessment as an ongoing process.

Transferring Marking and providing feedback to pupils Using assessment information to monitor progress towards meeting targets Internal/External Assessment Grading Systems Chapter One(1) 1. Reasons for Assessment Diagnosis: helping young people to establish a baseline and understand their progress, strength and develop needs.

It is a more detailed type of evaluating the learner to find out their ability, skills, level of performance, knowledge, understanding, intelligence quotient etc. Diagnosis helps the teacher to be able to find out the areas of weakness of the students and their areas of strength. It is from these that the teacher will together with the student plan on a possible course of action to taken in order to assist the students to meet the educational they may have. The teacher may select the students who need further examination by the specialist to confirm if they are faced with a learning difficulty that the teacher may not be able to diagnose.

All this is done in the interest of the student i. e. to assist him/her overcome the areas of weakness and try to catch up with the rest of the students. The assessment tasks should be varied in strength to be able to find out the different abilities of the students. Recognition and motivation: recording and rewarding learners’ progress and achievement. Assessment is also carried with an aim of rewarding student according to their performance. In some schools badges are designed and made to be worn by the top achievers in particular subject area and in the overall performance at each grade or stage.

The prestige that goes with walking around the school wearing such a badge motivates students to compete for the badges and feel recognized by their peers as good performers in a particular area of study say science, mathematics, languages or even in humanities and applied subjects. If one manages to win two three or more badges they are held in honour by their fellow students and given a lot of recognition both within the school and out. This recognition serves as a motivating factor for the learners to work hard to achieve in their studies and other field like in sports.

Similarly, such recognition encourages students to maintain their high standards always for fear of ruining the image they may have created for themselves hence it helps in shaping their character. Unfortunately, some of those low achievers may want to be recognized in a different way hence may resort to unwanted behaviour. Standard setting: confirming levels and thresholds of achievement. Assessment helps the teacher to set standards of performance in his/her class at particular stages or levels of learning.

Thus the students will be made aware of the expectation by their teachers with regard to performance hence they will strive to meet the set standard. Unless the standard of performance is set many people tend to relax and very little effort will be made to achieve the goals and objectives. The setting of standards will help to drive away laziness from among the students and the teachers. If the learners and teachers know they have a standard of performance they need to measure to, it will definitely create a sense responsibility in them. It is important to have standard of performance set and made clear both to the learners and the teacher.

Differentiation and selection: enabling employers and higher education providers to understand what young people have achieved, and how individuals compare with their peers. Assessment differentiates learners at all levels whether it is the prime purpose for the assessment or not. Somehow, there those who will emerge at the top of the whole group. It is this differentiation that will determine the intake of students into the next level of their education. Most selection is done based of the assessment that has already been carried out at the previous level of study.

At the end their course most of the students are usually awarded with certificates of merit. It is based on these certificates that their prospective employers base their consideration of selecting possible employees and inviting them for interviews. Generally, the higher the qualification one has, the more skill or tasks he has gone through to achieve what he has achieved. Consequently, the more the knowledge one is deemed to have acquired and therefore more competent on the job market. Thus the rating of the individuals against the performance of their peers which implies how they are likely to fair at the job market.

Chapter two(2) 2. Purpose of Assessment. Assessment is carried for various reasons some of which are discussed below. Selection Institutions base their selections and admission of students on national examinations done by the students at end of level examination. Usually assessment outcomes are used to rank students in terms of performance and ability regardless of the different conditions under which they took their examinations. The institutions proceed to choose those they feel qualify to meet their requirements for enrolment into specific courses.

Thus a list of prerequisites is drawn to aid the selectors choose those who fall within the already set limits. Standards The standards of an assessment are determined by the educational system of a country and the stakeholder of the education system. The standards set in the country will determine allocations from the budgetary kit at national level. For instance, to improve and maintain a high level of performance in the education sector the teacher-student ratio should be small, resource made should be available to the students especially science oriented subjects.

The standards are set at the national level, then at the school level and finally at the classroom level. The standards of performance will reflect the student ability to progress on with their academics to a higher level. Teachers’ feedback Teachers use assessment to get feedback from students to enable them in the planning for further instruction to the students. The feedback help the teachers to know whether the set objectives of learning are being met or not.

This means that every teacher has to carry out assessment at one time or another in the course of instructing the students for learning. They will be able to know if they are making progress, and if not what could be the possible reasons for their failure to meet the set objectives. These may mean that their means of instruction be adjusted to suit the learner educational need within the class. Motivation Feedback from assessment can be used as a motivator to the students and the teacher especially when the results indicate that positive learning is being achieved.

The teacher feels that his effort have not been wasted after all while the students will feel that their efforts have been rewarded by being able to measure to the standards of the teachers or examiners. As a result both groups will set out for their work and duty with a lot of enthusiasm hence positive assessment outcome are a motivation. The parents will on the same hand feels that their funds are being utilized by their sons and/or daughters and will be motivated to make more investment. Assess readiness for future learning.

Assessment helps educational planners to determine the ability of students to progress in higher education or take more specialized courses such as accounting, engineering, medicine, teaching among others. The level of performance at a particular stage will display the learner ability, skills, level of performance and interests. The outcomes of an assessment will therefore form a basis for planning courses, selection and entry point into some designated courses. Most institutions admit students basing on their performance in the terminal examinations sat at end of the previous stage or level.

Similarly, selection into the courses that students wish to pursue is usually based on the performance of the examination at the on national level. Preparation for life- life is like this Assessment can be used to find out the skills, knowledge and understanding the students are graduating with. This will prepare them to face life as people with ability to transform their environment so as to be able fit in the wider society. The learners are made aware of the skills they are carrying with them into the society to face life as it really is.

Evaluate curriculum effectiveness When a new curriculum is designed, the aim of curriculum planners is to be able to meet the needs of the society and those of the individual learners. Thus the purpose of assessment in this context is to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum being implemented to the learners and to the larger society at large. The outcomes of learning are reflected in how students handle assessment tasks presented to them by the curriculum planners and the examiners.

Where the curriculum has failed to meet the set objectives, adjustments be made to it so that the predetermined objectives are met or attained. Information to others Assessment is used to obtain information to be related to others interested in education. The ministry of education, for instance, needs to make educational decisions regarding curriculum, performance of teachers, attainment of educational goals both at national and international level, allocation of funds from the treasury, performance of graduates from the education system in relation to the needs at job market among others.

The educationists need to take statistics of those who graduate from the systems e. g. basing on the gender, region etc. Statement of curriculum Attainment Assessment helps assessors to get a statement of current attainment as compared to performance in the previous years. The posted outcomes can be used to find out areas that continually been showing poor performance from students e. g. science and mathematics. This statement can be used to draft proposals for future plan of improvement in the course of uplifting performance of areas showing weakness or needs.

Record of progress- over time Assessment is carried out for various reasons which ever time have been state differently by different authors of various textbooks. It is important to note that the choice of the method of assessment should be made on the basis of judgment about “fitness for purpose”. Before making a decision on what to assess, how to assess and who is best fit to carry out the assessment, it is necessary to be clear why assess and achievement expected.

The purposes of assessment can be grouped by: Balancing internal and external purposes There are purposes of assessment that are useful within school setting. For example, feedback to students and teachers, students grouping, curriculum improvement and individual target setting. Similarly, there are other purposes that are useful to stakeholders outside the school setting e. g. certification and accountability. This helps to evaluate the balance of assessment activities carried out within the school.

In the recent past a lot of external pressure has been mounted on schools in increasing measures with regard to accountability through the publication of performance tables etc. The result has been emphasis on assessment data collection for monitoring, evaluation, marketing and accountability purposes. This may cause internal purpose to be underrated or treated as secondary to external purposes. The schools should thus be watchful of this because their aims for education of their students are unlikely to be well served if they only pay regard to external demands.

Another way of viewing assessment purposes is to cluster them according to whether they have a development/learning functions or a public/accountability function. (To some extend, this clustering aligns to internal/external distinction because internal tend to have developmental whereas external tend to focus on accountability. ) TGAT’s formulation of assessment purposes After the Government announced, in 1987, its intention to introduce a National Curriculum, it first set up a Task Group on Assessment and Testing (TGAT) to advice on an associated assessment framework.

TGAT’s remit was to propose a system for serving formative, diagnostic, summative purpose. The TGAT report distinguished these purpose in the following way: • Formative So that the positive achievements of a student may be recognized and discussed and the appropriate next steps planned; • Diagnostic through which learning difficulties maybe scrutinized and classified so that appropriate remedial help and guidance can be provided; • Summative for the recording of the overall achievement of a student in a systematic way;

• Evaluative by the means of the aspect of the work of a school, an LEA or other discrete part of the education service can be assessed and/or reported upon. This established two new terms- formative and summative- in the lexicon of assessment purpose. The formative/summative distinction was first used by Micheal Scrivenin 1967 in an American Educational Research Association monograph on The Methodology of Evaluation, which was primarily concerned with the evaluation of educational programmes. It proved to be a helpful distinction and it was increasingly used in a variety of contexts.

TGAT used the distinction in the context of assessment of students’ learning. In the context, the formative purpose is served if evidence and judgments about students’ present learning are used to decide what teachers and learners need to do so that further progress in learning may be made. 3. Baseline and Benchmarking Purpose of baseline scheme The problem with taking output alone as indicators of schools effectiveness, even when more than one measure is considered, is that comparisons made on this basis rarely compare like-with-like.

However, this has been the practice for a long time in most the education system. This is the familiar argument against the publication of league tables of ‘raw results’ that take no account of the different contexts and intakes of schools. Whilst the actual grade a student achieves will be of vital importance to him or her, aggregated results which take no account of background factors may be crude and fair measure of the relative effectiveness of the school as a whole. This is the argument for value-added measures.

It is important, therefore, to collect information about input as well as output so that the two sets of information can be considered together in any judgement of school effectiveness. The intake characteristics usually considered are: Prior attainment as measured in earlier tests and examinations; Ability as measured on standardized tests; ? Prior attitudes to school; ? Gender; ? Ethnicity; ? English as an additional language; ? Special educational needs; ? Socio-economic status and aspects of home background such as single parent families.

It is known that some schools achieve great things in disadvantaged circumstances but, since they start from a lower base, the socio-economic status of their intake should be taken into account when measuring their effectiveness or setting targets. It is interesting therefore that in its proposal for target setting and benchmarking, the government has indicated that benchmarks for individual secondary schools will be constructed on the basis of data on free school meals. If output measures are analyzed in relation to input, we would still expect to find some variability in results.

In other words, some schools will perform relatively better or relatively worse than others with similar intakes. In order to find out what makes the difference one has to open the black ‘black box’ between input and output to investigate school processes. These process variables are likely to provide some of the answers. Since carrying out this research on a national scale will not be practicable, schools have to take the initiative to find out for themselves data in order to explain their own results and to identify areas of improvement. This is intended to form a basis for further guidance to schools.

Thus the responsibility of identifying the process variables that are likely to be most relevant, lies on the shoulders of the schools. Two kinds of processes need to be considered: ? Classroom processes; ? School management processes. Characteristics of a baseline scheme In order to set appropriate targets, government, through QCA, now publishes benchmarking information. This is intended to enable schools to evaluate their own standard of performance by measuring it against standards achieved by other schools with broadly similar characteristics.

Benchmark data do not set targets but, by showing what the best schools with similar intake characteristic achieve, benchmarks are expected to set challenges for less successful schools. Although there are strong arguments for grouping schools according to a variety of background factors such as those used in multi-level modeling, which takes account of student-level, school-level and ward-level factors, the government has opted for benchmarking system based on existing national data sets such as the school census (Form 7).

Although schools will be placed in a group for the purpose of drawing up the benchmarks, they will not be told which group they belong to. Thus, when they receive the benchmark information from QCA they have to decide themselves which group best represents their characteristics. 4. Target Setting Section 19 of the 1997 Education Act makes a Provision for legislation to require targets to be set and published by the governing bodies of maintained schools. Setting targets to raise standards: What works A five stage cycle for school improvement in target setting has been put to use.

These involve: 1. How well are we doing? This requires the school to analyze student performance and audit its teaching and management. It also calls for the analysis of data about students outcomes. To achieve this objective, the school will need to relate outcomes to intake variables of a given student to give value-added measures. However, in order to explain the patterns in performance and identify areas for action, it is necessary to collect data about processes, such as teaching and management.

The statistical analysis will then be supplemented by observational data to provide evidence in relation to input, output and process indicators (perhaps in the lines of the OFSTED Framework of Inspection). 2. How well should we be doing? This requires the school to compare its own results of similar schools n order to identify strengths and diagnose weaknesses as a basis for establishing priorities for improvement. The benchmarking information to be supplied by the DFEE and LEAs is intended to help with this task. 3. What more should we aim to achieve this year?

This requires the school to set clear, specific and measurable targets which focus in particular on raising standards of attainment in national tests and examinations. 4. What must we do to make it happen? This requires the school to integrate improvement targets into the school development plan through focused action planning. 5. How successful have we been? This requires the school to take action to implement the action plan and to monitor and evaluate the impact of the action against the success criteria.


The initial proposals from government indicate that regulations are likely to require schools to set targets in the following terms; a) a single target to be set for each of the three are subjects at the end of each key stage; b) these targets should be measured by National curriculum tests in English, Mathematics and Science at age fourteen and GCSE examination results or equivalent at age sixteen; c) at the end of key stage 3, targets to be expressed, subject by subject, in terms of the proportions of students reaching Level 5 and above;

d) At key Stage 4, targets to be expressed in terms of the proportion of students achieving a grade C or better in GCSE English, Mathematics and Science (either single or double award, or in an individual science subject). e) An additional indicator, at key Stage 4, is likely to be the proportion of students attaining a number of A*- C and A* – G grades in GCSE.

The proposal also suggested that schools and LEAs should agree or targets covering three year period in which review of results of the previous autumn term and setting targets for the following academic year by January are carried out. PROCEDURES FOR SETTING TARGETS The governments 1997 White Paper Excellence in Schools made it clear that setting school targets was the responsibility of each school’s governing body, working with senior management team.

The White Paper tests sets out how the government, LEAs and schools are expected to work together. Chapter 3 paragraph 13 of the paper provides that; 1. The government sets national targets and publishes national performance and benchmark data. 2. Each LEA provides benchmarking data and guidance to all its schools to help them set targets.

3. Each school sets draft targets, taking account of the comparative data and their own previous best performance, for discussion with its LEA. 4. Schools and LEAs agree targets, covering a three-year period and subject to annual review. 5. Where, exceptionally, an LEA cannot reach agreement with a school on its targets, the LEA may invoke the early warning system. 6.

The individual school targets are included within each LEA’s Education Development Plan. 7. The DFEE and OFSTED monitor and contribute to the process to ensure targets are high and ambitious enough. Strategies Directly Involving Students and Classroom Process 1. Introducing new commendation and certificate systems to reward achievement and increase motivation and self-esteem; 2. Introducing academic mentoring for borderline C/D GCSE candidates; 3. Reducing the number of GCSE subjects taken per student to encourage quality instead of quantity in performance; 4. Introducing paired reading or literacy tutoring schemes (older with younger students) to improve reading and writing skills; 5.

Adopting a ‘Pacific Rim’ approach by assuming that all can succeed if they are prepared to make great efforts; 6. Instituting a ‘cardinal rule’ that students should not interfere with the learning of others 7. Giving special attention to the least motivated groups (of boys especially) by introducing a ten-hour weekly homework contract in Year II; 8. Introducing one-to-one review on a regular basis; 9. Providing a two-day residential, run by teachers and employers, for potential Year II under-achievers with the aim of improving motivation through a series of challenges; 10. Providing students with templates to help them structure their written work; 11.

Providing an enrichment programme of generic skills, especially study skills, group work and exam technique. 12. Target setting for effort and attainment with individual students followed up with one-to-one review with allocated tutors. School need to realize, however, that this does not preclude them from setting other goals and targets as well. This will be important if they regard education as having wider functions, such as promoting human flourishing and participatory citizenship. Internal review through data analysis: Progress indicators. Using indicators to monitor performance and set target in primary schools Using indicators to monitor performance Involving parents.

The role of the national targets CHAPTER 5 5. a. Types of Assessment Assessment is one of the most potent forces influencing what teacher should concentrate on in their teaching and what students should concentrate in their learning. Assessment sends a message to students about what is important to learn. It is with this in mind that this section seeks to discuss the various types of assessments. In an effort to classify assessment therefore, the following are some of the types of assessment. i) Formative Formative assessment is taken to refer to the process of identifying what students have, or have not, achieved in order to plan the next steps in teaching.

It will usually involve the diagnosis of learning difficulties, although this is not synonymous with the kind of standardized, psychometric, diagnostic assessments, within formative assessment, the term ‘diagnosis’ usually possess a more colloquial and less technical meaning. Formative assessment is also distinguished from other forms of assessments in that it is, by definition, carried out by teachers. This is important if it is to inform the decisions teachers make in the classroom. The aspiration is that assessment should become fully integrated with teaching and learning and therefore part of the educational process rather than a ‘bolt-on’ activity.

It is important to note that in formative assessment feedback is a key element with two main audiences the student and the teacher. Feedback to the student, mediated by the teacher, is particularly important because no learning can take place without the active involvement of the student.

ii) Summative Summative assessment refers to the examinations that are taken by the learners at the end-of-unit or end-of-term and their purpose is to fulfill the public expectation of the schools and form of accountability to parents who have a right to know what progress their children are making. However, this poses a danger in that they assume such importance that it undermines the formative assessments that have been made on a regular basis throughout the period.

Just like the giving of grades on ordinary class work can affect self-esteem in such a way as to ‘blind’ students to the substantive advice given in comments, so also can the giving of grades and marks in end-of-unit tests have similar effects. The public usually places allot of emphasis on the assessment as they seem to project what the learners have gained in the course of their studies and skills they possess and are able top demonstrate.

Thus entry into higher learning institutions and specifically into particular courses is pegged on the results of summative assessments. iii) Informal Informal assessment is an assessment in which the teacher neither follows a specified timetable drawn by the administration for purpose of assessment nor predetermined questions directed to the learner. It is some kind of impromptu.

The teacher in the course of performing his duty may reach a concept that requires prior knowledge of particular concepts on the part of the learner; therefore he may decide to carry out an informal assessment to determine what the learners know. Similarly, a new teacher who wants to understand the ability and level of performance of learners may decide to carryout an informal assessment. There is no general standard set for performance or attainment i. e. the administrator determines the standard as deem fit for his purpose of assessment.

Thus an informal assessment is at the discretion of the person administering it. iv) Formal Formal assessment refers to the mode of assessment that follows a specified timeframe and format. Usually most of the learning activities are suspended to allow teachers time to administer the assessment to the learners.

Formal assessment therefore has a set standard, to which all assessment items must adhere to. Generally, there is time set aside for which both students and the teachers know well in advance that assessment is going to be carried out. The teachers will this case prepare assessment items inline with the set standards of the particular institution in question or adapt on that has already been set by an assessment agency. The students on their part will concentrate on preparing for the assessment tasks that they are going to encounter. In most institutions this time if known as examination time. The environment is controlled so as to allow students an ample time when tackling the assessment items.

For example, in most schools during this time silence is observed at all costs, students are spaced so as to allow for individual work unlike during the normal learning days when corporate work can be tolerated, teachers police the students to check on cheating by cheeky students. v) Continuous Continuous assessments are assessments that are carried out by the teacher in progressive way. The test items are drawn from what has been done in the recent past by the learner which means their strength and complexity increases with the increasing complexity in the content being taught. The teacher designs a test to suit particular content that the learners have learned at a particular level.

Generally it focuses on a given concept and they are more narrow and intense in their approach. Once a learner has passed the assessment at a given level they are given chance to progress to the next level of learning. vi) Terminal As the name suggests these are tests that administered at the end of a given course, they act as a point of end into the next level or the job market. They are designed in such a way as to include a cross-section of what the learners have attained by the time they are stepping out of the education programme they have been undertaking. They are in most cases designed by an independent body external to the institution of learning in which they are going to be administered.

Similarly, their marking is centralized and carried by few selected people. Grading and ranking is the done from an external point, statistics are drawn to show attainment of schools and individual student in comparison to other schools and students from other places. They are usually standardized tests and the awarding of grades is done an already established scale by the administering body. vii) Coursework While going through the curriculum every teacher would want to ascertain that the course objectives are being met every now and then. Thus where possible assignments are given to students at the end of the lesson, marked and feed back given to the students to assist in the process of learning. Cour

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