Topics: Assessment, Test, Psychometrics Pages: 9 (1344 words) Published: July 17, 2013
Assessment is a vast topic that is a continuing process that educators

use to observe, gather, and evaluate evidence to determine what students

have learned, as well as, making informed, and dependable decisions to

enhance student learning. It encompasses a broad range of testing from

nationwide accountability tests to everyday classroom observation and

quizzes. In order to take control of what appears to be an excess use of

testing, assessment should be looked upon as a tool for information. The

more information we have about students, the more closely we can look at

instructional strategies that are effective and which ones need to be


There are two main types of assessments that I will be discussing,

formal and informal. Informal assessments or in other words “assessment of

learning”, are used to evaluate students during the learning process. Formal

assessments are conducted as a tool to evaluate student’s completion of

work or the final product. There are many advantages and disadvantages to

these types of assessments techniques that I will be discussing for measuring

student progress.

I will begin by discussing two formal assessment types along with its

advantages and disadvantages. The first type of assessment that I would

like to address would be the statewide-standardized test under the No Child

Left Behind Act (NCLB). The statewide standardized test is considered a

high-stakes test because of the important consequences it has on passing or

failing the test. It mandates yearly testing for grades 3 through 8 and once

in high school for reading and math. Science was recently added in the mix

to test students at least once in elementary, middle and high school. The

underlying principle for this type of testing was intended to reach great

academic achievement for all students, especially those from lower

socioeconomic classes.

Advantage #1

It ensures that no child—regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or status is trapped in a consistently low-performing school. If a school does not make adequate progress towards set standards, parents have the option of sending their children to a better performing school or are provided free tutoring. This assessment helps determine if the student is receiving high-quality education at different grade levels.

Advantage #2

Teachers are held accountable. If a student is not advancing with one

method of teaching, the teacher must use a different technique for a more

favorable outcome. They must use research-based methods of teaching.

This high-stakes test determines how to use assessment results to plan

effective instruction.

Disadvantage #1

This statewide-standardized test does not recognize student growth. It does

not offer a realistic picture of how a student or school is performing as a

whole. The extent of what a student actually learned is not known. Students

that start out at a disadvantage are not given recognition for progress in


Disadvantage #2

Teaching to the test. The growing concern with this high-stakes test is that it

has become the curriculum and instruction has been narrowed to focus on

Disadvantage #3
States set their own standards and can make tests unusually easy to compensate for inadequate student performance.
The second type of formal assessment I would like to discuss is the aptitude test. It is a norm-reference test and is administered under timed testing conditions. It measures a student’s overall performance across a wide range of intellectual capabilities. These test are useful to determine the current level students are at and to adjust classroom curriculum accordingly. Advantage #1

Aptitude tests are excellent predictors of future learning or performance.

Advantage #2

Aptitude tests help students understand...
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