Assessment Methods

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James McMillan a professor of education and chair of the foundations of education department at Virginia Commonwealth University describes his key ideas on assessment and defines assessment as ‘the gathering, interpretation and use of information to support teacher decision-making’ (McMillan 2011, p 5). The importance of assessment in the classroom is stated by McMillan ‘Assessment of students not only documents what students know and can do but also influences learning’ (McMillan 2011, p 2). The Assessment cycle consists of three types of assessment; Diagnostic, Formative and Summative.

Diagnostic assessment is a pre assessment that determines a difficulty for the student in a precise area. This type of assessment provides teachers with information of the student’s previous awareness of the topic, their interest and attitude before instructing a lesson (McMillan 2011, p 6). Diagnostic assessment information can be collected from Summative assessments of the previous lesson. It is important to note the expectation of what the students should know, understand and be able to do at the end of the lesson as this is an integral part of an effective lesson (McMillan 2011, p 8).

Formative assessment occurs during instructions, giving feedback to students on their work to assess their level and determine the next level of work activities (McMillan 2011, p 6). This type of assessment takes place during learning and helps to improve the lesson as the learning is monitored and the progress of the student is noted (McMillan 2011, p 8). The student has the opportunity to improve learning during the lesson through the feedback and send them in the right direction of learning. Learning problems are able to be distinguished during the lesson and actioned accordingly, and instructional adjustments can be made (McMillan 2011, p 8).

Summative assessment takes place at the completion of the lesson to determine the student’s level of understanding, their knowledge and can...
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