Assessment Strategies

 

There are many assessment strategies, each offering its own strengths and weaknesses, that educators can use to assess their student.

KEY POINTS

  • Some of the most familiar assessmentstrategies are quizzes, tests, state-administered standardized tests, and essays. While each of these relatively traditional forms of assessment has its place in a curriculum, many teachers are finding that they are limiting in other, important ways.
  • Authentic assessment strategies, such as portfolios, performances, and exhibitions, allow students to showcase their talents and what they have learned in a course in creative manner.
  • Many teachers are now also experimenting with self-evaluationand peer-evaluation. Some educational theorists believe that students are more invested in their performance in the course when they know that they (and their peers) are actively involved in the overall assessment.
  • No matter the type of assessment, instructors must create unambiguous expectations and be open to employing a range of assessment strategies.

TERMS

  • assessment: An appraisal or evaluation.
  • self-evaluation: allowing students to evaluate their own performance on assignments
  • peer-evaluation: allowing students to evaluate the performance of their peers on assignments

FULL TEXT

There are many different types of assessments that teachers can use to analyze what their students have learned. Some of the most familiar are quizzes, tests, state-administered standardized tests, and essays. And while each of these relatively traditional forms of assessment has its place in a curriculum, many teachers are finding that they are limiting in other, important ways. This has prompted many teachers to design alternative assessments that they feel better match and evaluate the content of the instruction.

For example, fine arts courses may not be particularly well-suited to any of the traditional forms of assessment listed above. By contrast, asking a student to put on a performance, to create a portfolio, or to curate an exhibition might well help gauge just how well students have understood the central concerns of the course. Such forms of assessments are referred to as “authentic assessment” or, more neutrally, as “alternative assessment.” Authentic assessment strategies can be used in almost any types of courses, even those that more often use traditional forms of assessment.

Many teachers are now also experimenting with self-evaluation and peer-evaluation. Some educational theorists believe that students are more invested in their performance in the course when they know that they (and their peers) are actively involved in the overall assessment.

No matter the type of assessment, the following two best practices should guide all instructors’ assessment strategies. First, instructors must create unambiguous expectations. Students cannot perform well on any assessment if, in the time leading up to the assessment, there is uncertainty surrounding just what is to be known or done. Second, instructors should be open to employing a wide range of assessment strategies. Instructors obviously reserve the right to utilize the assessment strategy of their choice. But they should recognize that different students succeed in different assessment venues, and, thereby, to try to incorporate a few different types of assessments over the course of a unit. By utilizing different assessment strategies, teachers can help students experience more success by tapping into their various learning preferences.