What is assessment and what makes it “good?”
Assessment is gathering information to ensure teachers make informed decisions about student progress. Five key components of good assessment are: classroom assessment, authenticity, formative, special needs intervention, and benchmarking. These enhance and improve student learning, and are outlined below.
Good classroom assessment involves ‘of, for and as’ of learning. This practice involves teachers using inference and evidence, while students reflect upon and monitor their progress. Combine this with four essential segments: “purpose, measurement, evaluation and use” (McMillan, 2011, p. 12), and it enables teachers to implement flexibility and choice into their classroom. McMillan (2011) states teachers need to make accurate classroom assessment decisions “reflectively” based on reasoning and experience (p. 4). This point is supported by Phye (1997a), who looks at student ongoing learning, based on pre-existing knowledge and experiences, which are all key aspects of good assessment.
In addition, engaging students with real-life experiences, or authenticity, keeps students intrigued and motivated. McMillan (2011) claims authenticity helps “produce the students best, rather than typical, performance” (p. 16), and this is a view shared by Killen (2005), citing it is “what is personally meaningful” that helps student learning (p. 3). This is good assessment, and is documented through recent trends showing students involved in self-assessment, through authenticity, have higher motivation and achievements (McMillan, 2011).
Furthermore, a recent trend is the greater accentuation on Formative assessment. This practice involves a balanced approach of gathering formal and informal information. According to Chapman and King (2009), formative assessment provides ongoing feedback on student progress, enabling the teacher to make informed decisions about future activities. This good assessment practice...
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