The role of Assessment in Education System
Education is the most important aspect in people’s lives. In today’s society, education is essential in order to be successful economically and socially. ‘Durkheim believes that education enables children to internalize the social rules that contribute to the functioning of the society’ (Giddens, A., 2006, p.686). He also claimed that education should be under the control of the state, free from special interest groups. Other than this, ‘Karl Marx, the father of the conflict theory, believed that education system perpetuates the existing class structure…to prepare children for their roles in the capitalist, technological society, controlled by the dominant groups in society’ (Ballantine, J., 2001, p.69). In addition to this, Bowles and Gintis (1976) argued that education serves to reproduce the existing social structure.
In order to run the educational system properly, teaching and learning plays a vital role. Learning is the cognitive process of acquiring skill or knowledge (defined in dictionaries). Learning occurs as a result of teaching and instructions given to the learners. ‘Learning is an ongoing process in which students actively receive, interpret, and relate information to what they already know, understand and have experienced. Effective assessments in turn, promote this process (Phye, 1979)’ (cited in McMillan, J., 2007, p.12). Therefore, it is important to know how much the learners have achieved through assessments. For this reason, assessment is one of the most important tools in the learning process. The quality of the assessment in the educational process has a profound and well established link to students’ performance. Research consistently shows that regular monitoring and feedback are essential to improving students’ learning (McMillan, 2007). ‘...one finding is that good teachers continually assess their students relative to learning goals and adjust their instructions on the basis of this information. Another important finding is that assessment of students not only documents what students know and can do but also influence learning’ (McMillan, J., 2007, p.1).
‘Assessment is a formal attempt to determine a students’ status with respect to an educational variable of interest’ (Popham, J., 2005, p. 363). McMillan (2007) also defined assessment as a systematic process of assigning numbers to behaviour or performance (p.9). In classroom point of view, he also defined assessment as the gathering, interpreting and using information to aid teacher decision. According to National Curriculum of the Maldives ‘Educational assessment is the process of documenting usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs and interpreting the gathered information to determine mastery towards the defined learning outcomes or standards’ (EDC Website, p.98).
Assessment plays several roles in teaching process. First of all it is used to integrate instruction and assessment. For that the instructional decision or assessing before instruction needed to set goals, select appropriate activities and to prepare learning materials. After this, assessment needs to be carried out during the delivering of the lesson. This help the instructors to make decision if any changes need to be brought to the given instruction, keeping the students attention, controlling students behaviour and making adjustments within the lesson. At the end of instruction, evaluating students learning is very important for the teachers or instructors. This is to make easy for them to know themselves what to teach, how to teach and give proper feedback to both parents and students (Mc Millan, 2007). Secondly, classroom assessment which can be define as the collection, evaluation and use of information to help teachers make decisions that improve students’ learning, has other several purposes of assessing, some of them include providing feedback to students to track their progress in...
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