Assessment of student learning is very important. There are certain ways that are better than others to go about assessing how students are progressing. When assessing and testing students there are 2 ways that you can choose from. Norm-references assessment is used when students are compared against one another’s performance. This is only successful when there is a large and diverse class. Criterion referenced assessment occurs when students are compared against some predetermined set of criteria.
The material that the test should cover includes the information from published sources such as the text, and the information that students have obtained from the lectures. Tests should be given frequently and should be short. The directions should be clear and it should be determined that all students understand clearly what is expected of them.
Objective-type tests are when students select pre-determined responses. These include multiple choice questions, true or false, fill-in-the-blank, short answer and matching questions. The goal is to assess knowledge that is foundational in nature (the base of further knowledge). The advantages to this method are that it is efficient, easy and the scoring is reliable. The disadvantages of this method includes that there is a great deal of focus on memorization, and it does not ask students to apply or use their learning.
A way to assess student learning in more depth is to use essay tests. The goal of these tests is to assess a greater depth of knowledge. The advantages of this method include that it allows students to reveal how well they can recall, organize and communicate the information that they have learned, and it assesses higher-level abilities such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation and critical thinking. The disadvantages of this method are that consistency in grading is difficult and only a limited number of questions can be asked.
Another type of test is the performance test. These tests require students to use knowledge and/or skills in a realistic and applied way. It is a way to measure what students can do, rather than what they know. This can be done using items such as portfolios of the students work, exhibitions, and demonstrations.
When grading and reporting in student performance, there are some general guidelines. Grades should be based on multiple sources, should follow school rules, and should only be used when necessary. When grading, feedback should be considered, and teachers should explain their system of grading clearly to the students. As well, grades must be made available to the students.
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