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Different Methods of Assessment

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					                       Different Methods of Assessment
The following are some suggested approaches to assessment, that you may find
helpful. It is essential that a variety of approaches are used throughout the year, and
that one method of assessment is not used too often. Each different learning activity
can be assessed in different ways, and it is part of the teacher‟s role to identify the
most appropriate and helpful method for assessment. These assessment methods can
be used to indicate the student‟s progress towards the end of Key stage description,
and provide a record of the evidence of their learning.

Self-Assessment

In this method pupils are encouraged and guided through the process of assessing
their own performance. When a learner feels that his/her own assessment „counts‟
they will likely become more attentive and responsible for their own learning and
apply themselves to their task or activity.
If time is spent helping the pupils to reflect on their own performance and assessing it
against clear criteria and outcomes, they will begin to recognise their own strengths,
their weaknesses and areas in which they can improve. As pupils become more
confident and independent they will become more objective in their assessment and
keep in mind such questions as:
         What aspects do I need to improve?
         What worked well?
         What new skills do I need to develop?
         What would I do differently?
         What new knowledge will help me improve my work?

This method can be used with many assignments and projects as well as group
activities. The criteria to be assessed should be clear and known, and the pupils
always encouraged to reflect on their performance in any given task.


When first introducing this approach to pupils the assessment could be as simple as
shown below:

                                           Very        Satisfactory       Needs
                                           Good                           improvement
My poster about causes of AIDS
was…
My use of colour on the poster
was…
My research skills were….




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Later self-assessments can become much more self critical and constructive:

1. What I did: (Briefly explain how you prepared for this assignment and the steps
   you took to complete it)

-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
2. What did I learn: (Briefly explain what you have learned by doing this
     assignment):

-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
3. What I could do to improve: (Look at other pupils assignments before filling this
     in)

-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
-----------------------------------------------------------
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --


Peer Assessment

Peer assessment takes place when a group is assessed by another group, or an
individual is assessed by another individual or group. Pupils need to be well prepared
in order to be able to assess each other empathetically.

A list of criteria should be provided, against which the learner(s) can be assessed. An
activity can be individually assessed by several other pupils and therefore one will
have a more balanced assessment of a specific activity. If presentations involve all
members of a group/ class, peer assessment can be done of each presentation.




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In assessing each other, pupils learn from each other and realise how to improve their
own performance or achievement.
Some advantages of this approach include:
         Relevant and accurate information about competencies can be obtained
         Pupils become familiar with and aware of the criteria
         Pupils take responsibility for their own learning
         Pupils can show teachers what they think is important.

                  Criteria                            Tick the appropriate column
                                               Yes     No             Comment
1 Layout
   Make use of space effectively?
   Label the picture
2 Appearance
   Make a creative border?
   Use pictures?
   Use effective text?
3 Explain the causes of AIDS?
What did my partner do well?


What can my partner improve on?


Teacher’s comment



Portfolios

A portfolio is a collection of a learner‟s best work assembled over an agreed period of
time. A number of things can be put into a portfolio:

 Examples of the learner‟s work with comments by the learner.
 Written comments on the learner‟s development and outcomes achieved in
  learning activities.
 Worksheets from learning activities.
 Comments from parents.
 Progress reports.
 Achievement certificates.

Not everything is put into a portfolio. It is important that both the teacher and the
learner discuss and select the work that is to be included. In this way the learner
assesses himself and is able to participate more effectively in the learning process.
The selection is done according to some practical criteria such as “best work”, “shows
development” or “demonstrates completion of project”.

Portfolios allow the pupils to reflect on his/her performance and make judgements
about his/her progress towards achievements of the outcomes. When pupils are
involved in setting goals that are important to them, they gain a sense of responsibility


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for their own learning. Pupils also develop increased motivation to achieve their own
goals.

How the portfolio is housed will depend to a large extent on the space and resources
available. The only two requirements are that the portfolio should be in a container
that will hold everything necessary, and that they should be easily accessible to the
teacher and the learner alike.

After an agreed period of time (e.g. at the end of a term), the contents of the portfolio
is reviewed and selected examples retained. Some of these could accompany the
learner‟s profile to the next year / phase as evidence of outcomes achieved.

Rubrics

Rubrics can improve learner performance. They make an teacher‟s expectations clear
and show pupils how to meet these expectations.

A rubric is used to teach as well as to assess performance.
 A rubric is a grid or a table that lists all the performance criteria we want to assess
   and it also describes the standards for each separate criterion.
 A rubric defines the task in its entirety and is clarified before the task is started.
 It clarifies the criteria on which the process and outcomes will be judged, and the
   standards of performance that will be applied.
 A rubric allows us to focus on all aspects of the task, knowledge, skills, and the
   work habits needed to perform the task competently.
 A rubric should clearly reflect different levels of performance.
 Rubrics can also inform what feedback and reporting is made to the learner and
   parents.


There are many models of rubric, but as some general guidance
 Avoid unclear language
 Keep statements positive, but pupils do need to know what they need to improve
   on
 Use a rubric to streamline assessment – circle or highlight an item that needs
   attention
 Rubrics need to reflect the full range of pupils in the group (those that need
   assistance, and those that need enrichment).




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        SKILL                     FULL                    REASONABLE                WORK TO BE DONE
                            COMPETENCE                    COMPETENCE
Planning                 Takes initiative, works      Able to go ahead when         Needs constant
                         alone. Corrects own          guided. Mistakes must         supervision. Tends to go
                         mistakes.                    be pointed out first          off task.
Observation              Not distracted, attentive,   Occasional distraction        Easily distracted, misses
                         keen self interest           but still interested          out on issues, lack of
                                                                                    interest.
Measuring                Confident, accurate          Needs to check, but           Reads incorrect
                                                      mostly accurate.              information.
Gathering information    Able to gather more          Adequate information          Unable to capture the
                         than required. Can select    from different sources.       necessary information
                         relevant materials from                                    without help.
                         a range of sources.
Recording data           Sets up own method for       Uses a provided method        Unable to use a
                         recording                    well.                         provided method.
Organising               Uses own organising          Needs teacher input.          Organisation is
information              features.                                                  confused.
Writing up data          Has own effective style.     Writing is good but need      Cannot progress without
                                                      some teacher input.           teacher input.
Presenting findings      Clear and impressive.        Clear, but some room          No self confidence
                                                      for improvement
Self management,         Self motivated, positive,    A little outside              Negative, makes
attitude, co-operation   co-operates well.            motivation needed             excuses, disrupts other
etc.                                                                                pupils‟ work.
Suggested Marks /10      10           9          8    7          6              5   5     4      3    2     1

                  /5            5          4                      3                        2          1

Tests, Examinations and Written Assignments

Tests and examinations are fundamental aspects of the education system. They have
been used for years to assess pupils‟ ability to memorise and recall facts and
information. There is still an important role within for tests and examinations, but
thought should be given to the style of test questions so that a wide range of
assessment criteria are addressed.
               Positive Aspects                                       Negative Aspects
Test question papers allow the teachers to            Pupils are expected to demonstrate what
cover a wide range of knowledge components.           they know within a limited time frame.
In very specific content areas where there            Tests may promote the flawed notion that
is often a right or wrong answer, they could          there is always a right or wrong answer to a
be useful.                                            question. This can stifle creativity.
Tests can be used to focus on understanding.          Tests sometimes demand the use of higher
                                                      level thinking skills, which many pupils are
                                                      unable to do.
All pupils are expected to complete a test            Time limits on tests do not accommodate
within the same time.                                 different thinking and learning styles.
Test results can be used to determine gaps            Tests and exams are “high stakes” in that
in pupils’ understanding.                             decisions on pupils’ futures are often based
                                                      on their results.
                                                      They cause high levels of anxiety and stress.
                                                      Results are used to rank, grade and judge
                                                      pupils’ ability with little or no constructive
                                                      advice offered.




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There is still a place for tests and examinations within teaching and assessment, but
they should be used wisely. They should be used within certain agreed criteria. How
pupils are to be assessed, what the test will be on, what marks will be awarded, and
the opportunity for constructive feedback, should be made clear right from the start.
Other forms of testing, like open book tests, or group tests, which are less stressful,
could be applied alongside other forms of continuous assessment.

Written assignments allow pupils more time and can accommodate the application of
creativity. The careful marking of assignments, and the linking to specific criteria and
competencies can enable positive feedback to be provided opportunities for
development to the next level of achievement.


Questioning

Questions are a very valuable assessment technique, which still command a very
important place in classroom practice. Good questions should be regarded as the key
to active involvement of the pupils in the learning process, in that the learner listens
attentively, interacts with the teacher or other role players and responds. Good
questioning involves good listening and an ability to wait for a response, instead of
quickly giving answers. If we want pupils to ask and answer questions teachers must
respect their answers and handle wrong answers in a manner that is not destructive.

Questions can be used to find out what pupils know in terms of knowledge, to think
about what is being taught, to express ideas, to recall pre-learned ideas, and to go
beyond classroom teaching in search of answers. If pupils are not used to a
questioning classroom (passive pupils), they will take time to get used to the change.
Good questioning is an art that is developed through practice. The type of question
asked will determine the type of response from the pupils. Pupils need to be exposed
to a wide variety of questions. Questions can be both written and oral and can be used
in many different contexts.

Some kinds of Questions:
Content / Knowledge                             Used to find out what pupils know. Once
                                                this has been established, other questions
                                                must be used.
Process                                         This takes the learner beyond information
                                                and demands greater thinking
Creative thinking                               Requires the learner to come up with a
                                                creative response.
Problem solving                                 Takes the learner through a series of steps
                                                that will eventually result in the solution to
                                                a problem.
Application                                     Requires the learner to apply data in order
                                                to answer a question.
Open ended                                      This type of question often has more than
                                                one answer, so it requires the learner to
                                                justify the response.
Synthesis and analysis                          This involves the learner in deducing or
                                                analysing material in order to arrive at a
                                                conclusion.



                                            6
Observation

This is where the teacher watches, and records the performance of pupils whilst they
are on task. Through observations the teacher can assess the learner‟s understanding
and their progress towards achieving the stated outcomes.

Observations may be carried out:
 To assess the knowledge and understanding, group interactions and
   communication skills.
 To evaluate the effectiveness of a particular part of a lesson,
 To provide a basis for support, guidance and intervention in co-operative group
   work.

Observations may be recorded in note form, with brief comments about particular
learning activities, so that feedback can be provided. Alternatively, a simple checklist
can be drawn up to focus on specific aspects of the learning process.

Observation Checklist
Names of Pupils
                                    Contributes to


                                                     Shares ideas


                                                                        Presentation


                                                                                       Co-operates
                         Research



                                    group




A simple code can be used to record observations:
      > = Achieved most of the time
      - = Achieved sometimes
      < = Not achieved

Group Assessment
Group assessment may take a variety of forms, depending on the purpose of the
assessment and its task. Group assessment can be where a group of pupils are
assessed together, or where a group of pupils assess another group, or even individual
pupils.

       To develop specific skills:
           as part of a co-operative learning or problem solving activity.
           Pupils work together but the individuals‟ performance is still assessed
             by the teacher while the learner is active within the group.




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       To develop team-work and social skills:
           Assessment can be done by fellow pupils on how the group performed
             as a team (co-operation)
           Fellow pupils reflect on individuals roles within the group (discussion /
             reflection)
           The teacher on how the group performed as a team (task completion)
           The teacher assessing an assignment / product put together as a
             collaborative effort, where all pupils receive the same result (mark)

       To reduce assessment load
            Each group of pupils marks one section of a test/ piece of work for all
               the other pupils except themselves. Each group becomes an “expert” in
               the marks scheme or rubric for that section.
            This develops skills of peer-assessment and is a powerful learning
               experience for the assessors who come to understand the process and
               basis of assessment, and the important elements of the material being
               assessed, much better.
Journals:
       Each learner keeps a journal in which they reflect on their own learning,
and/or writes about their life in general. The teacher and everybody else should
consider the journal confidential. If a relationship of trust develops between the
teacher and the learner, the teacher can share this journal and write their own
comments and messages into it.

Reflections on Writing

When I look at the work I have done I feel…very good about my progress.
I have become better at …fluency, punctuation and spelling.
I am very proud of ..my progress in writing in English


Learner‟s entry

31.3.01
The play I wrote shows that I can use all
my information and form an interesting
way of sharing it. I can now gather
information from several sources.


In an open, child-centred environment there is room to explore different
alternatives to methods, tools and techniques for assessment. It allows teachers to
employ a full range of strategies. At times, the teacher might have to become
involved in an element of risk taking, but on the whole the benefits of adopting a
varied and learner-centred approach to assessment will out weigh the doubts.
When pupils are capable of becoming more responsible for their own learning
and progress, levels of achievement will be seen to rise.




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