Assessing – How do we discover what the students have learned?

Assessment is something that occurs every day in some fashion. The use of a variety of assessment tools demonstrates our belief that students learn in different ways, at different rates, and at different times. The result of assessment is considered a critical element that influences teacher decision-making and guides student learning.

Summative Assessment aims to give teachers and students a clear insight into students’ understanding. Summative assessment is the culmination of the teaching and learning process, and gives the students opportunities to demonstrate what has been learned.

Formative Assessment provides information that is used in order to plan the next stage in learning. It is interwoven with learning, and helps teachers and students to find out what the students already know and can do. Formative assessment aims to promote learning by giving regular and frequent feedback. This helps learners to improve knowledge and understanding, to foster enthusiasm for learning, to engage in thoughtful reflection, to develop the capacity for self-assessment, and to recognize the criteria for success.

Assessment in the classroom will include:

  • using representative examples of students’ work or performance to provide information about student learning.
  • collecting evidence of students’ understanding and thinking.
  • documenting learning processes of groups and individuals.
  • engaging students in reflecting on their learning.
  • students assessing work produced by themselves and by others.
  • developing clear rubrics.
  • identifying exemplar student work.
  • keeping records of task results.

Effective assessments allow students to:

  • share their learning and understanding with others.
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills.
  • use a variety of learning styles, multiple intelligences and abilities to express their understanding.
  • know and understand in advance the criteria for producing a quality product or performance.
  • participate in reflection, self- and peer-assessment.
  • base their learning on real-life experiences that can lead to further inquiries.
  • express different points of view and interpretations.
  • analyze their learning and understand what needs to be improved.

Effective assessments allow teachers to:

  • inform every stage of the teaching and learning process.
  • plan in response to student and teacher inquiries.
  • develop criteria for producing a quality product or performance.
  • gather evidence from which sound conclusions can be drawn.
  • provide evidence that can be effectively reported and understood by the whole school community.
  • collaboratively review and reflect on student performance and progress.
  • take into account a variety of learning styles, multiple intelligences and abilities including different cultural contexts.

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