Types of Assessments

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Assessment by Mind Map: Assessment

1. Formative - a way to monitor or take a "temperature check" of the students understanding of a topic for the purposes of providing ongoing feedback intended to improve the students knowledge (address their weaknesses).

1.1. Formative assessments usually look like exit tickets, mini-quizzes, quick writes, class discussions, and classroom polls.

1.1.1. As a teacher, I would use formative assessments to take snap shots as the students develop an understanding of the topic, both individually and as a class. I can then use my observations to judge mastery and/or how far from mastery my students may be.

1.2. Formative assessments are most appropriate to use when an instructor needs to judge how well students are absorbing the material and can be used to help teachers modify their lessons accordingly. Formative assessments also help students understand their own strengths and weaknesses and can help teachers identify students who are really struggling with the material.

1.2.1. Formative assessments provide instant feedback to students and teachers and helps teachers respond immediately to any instructional problems while also encouraging class participation by allowing students to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of formats. On the other hand, formative assessments can be time consuming and cannot be used as a formal academic record of the students achievements. Formative assessments may also place unnecessary repeated stress on a student.

2. Summative - a way to assess a students' collective understanding of a particular topic or unit of study; summative assessment tends to function as a 'capstone' meaning it occurs at the end of a lesson rather than during the middle.

2.1. Summative assessments usually look like final exams, end of course state testing (ex. STAAR for Texas students), midterms, major projects, or cumulative portfolios.

2.1.1. As a teacher, I would use summative assessments to judge whether a student has learned the topic at a level which supports them moving on to more advanced material.

2.2. Summative assessments are most appropriate when an instructor wants to evaluate the students' overall understanding and knowledge of a particular unit of study.

2.2.1. While summative assessments can be an effective tool for 1) gauging student understanding, 2) assisting the teacher in finding areas of weakness in his or her instruction, and 3) identifying students who have mastered the topic and may be ready for accelerated or more advanced work it also carries certain disadvantages. Summative assessments are not as beneficial when 1) the scores are not available to use in a timely manner (for example, STAAR is given at the end of the school year then students jump immediately into summer), 2) students are nervous or "bad" test takers, 3) the assessment itself is poorly made, or 4) can be academically and emotionally detrimental for students who do not perform well.

3. Performance - any type of assessment that involves the learner physically completing a task or action instead of writing answers.

3.1. Performance assessments usually look like asking learners to "show what...they have learned" and involve "complex cognitive processes" (Burden & Byrd, 1999, p. 764). This means learners are not simply filling in a bubbled answer sheet or completing a poster of things they have learned; rather the learners skills and knowledge are put into use through some activity.

3.1.1. Burden, P. R., & Byrd, D. M. (1999). Methods for effective teaching.

3.1.2. As a teacher, I would use performance assessment in situations like a science fair, poetry reading, skits, oral interviews, and journaling.

3.2. Performance assessments are most appropriate to use when mastery can be shown in a "know how" way - teachers can observe a student apply their knowledge of a specific subject or topic in a way that demonstrates adequate knowledge, ability, and skill.

3.2.1. Some of the disadvantages of using performance assessments are that they can be time consuming when planning for teachers and for students to complete and can potentially be costly when considering materials that may be needed. In addition, performance assessments can be a poor indicator of student mastery especially for students who may not be performance-driven and if the assessment requires the use of other specific skills that the student has not mastered. On the other hand, direct observation of student learning is generally preferred by instructors because it allows for practical feedback, lets the student demonstrate higher order thinking skills, and allows the instructor provide immediate feedback.