Classroom assessment is the process of gaining information about students’ learning, and judging the quality of their learning. It can be used either to enhance students’ learning (assessment for learning) or to verify the extent of students’ learning (assessment of learning). Essential steps of assessment for learning include 1) communicating instructional goals clearly; 2) selecting appropriate, high quality assessments that match the instructional goals and students’ backgrounds; 3) using assessments that enhance student motivation and confidence; 4) adjusting instruction based on results of assessment; and 5) communicating assessment results to students, parents, and guardians. Different types of test questions and assessment practices affect the success of each of these steps. Action research can help teachers understand and improve their teaching. A number of questions are important to consider when devising grading systems.
The TeachingEdPsych wiki has a number of pages and links related to the assessment of learning. Some overlap with ideas from this chapter, but others issues or topics which we were unable to include. See, for example, the links to a discussion of grade inflation, and the page about an African-American “intelligence” test.