A Taxonomy of Assessments

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A Taxonomy of Assessments by Mind Map: A Taxonomy of Assessments

1. Diagnostic

1.1. definition

1.1.1. A diagnostic assessment sometimes referred to as a "pre-test", is where we seek to establish some baseline or understanding of students previous knowledge or misconceptions, and gauge growth

1.2. Example

1.2.1. An example is a pre-test and a post-test that is given at the start and end of a unit. The tests can take any form, such as multiple choice or essay, or indeed more authentic assessments such as portfolios or projects, so long as the target objective is properly designed

1.3. Advantages / disadvantages

1.3.1. One boon of diagnostic testing is that it helps teachers check understanding and previous knowledge before beginning, which could give them a much better course for unit planning. another advantage is high lighting growth, for admin, teachers, parents and students alike. this takes extra work buy pays off

1.3.2. pre-tests or intermittent diagnostics take careful planning, resources and analysis. they also take good time in the classroom. without the proper incentive models, or for crunched districts, these might not be an option.

2. Formative

2.1. Example

2.1.1. A formative assessment can range from the smallest conversation or verbal check for comprehension, to exit cards, quizzes, worksheets or journals.

2.2. definition

2.2.1. A formative assessment is a huge category of assessments, incorporating anything that helps to check for comprehension and guide instruction. These are not exit tests or capstone projects but rather intermittent

2.3. Advantages/disadvantages

2.3.1. advantages: formative assessments are not up for debate, they are central to good teaching and learning, they help guide instruction and make up for mistakes in planning or teaching

2.3.2. disadvantages: time I suppose, but again these operations are not really optional for any remotely sincere teaching project

3. Summative

3.1. Example

3.1.1. A great summative example is a capstone or exit test, such as a traditional MC, fill in the blank or essay exam. AP English, or Praxis 1, or a final art project are good specific examples

3.2. Definition

3.2.1. An assessment to occur at the end of a learning unit to demonstrate growth and comprehension

3.3. Advantages/disadvantages

3.3.1. advantages are that these assessments can be designed to be more hollistic than others, and can aid in backwards design for great unit planning and outcome inclusion

3.3.2. disadvantages are that often times high-stakes summits can loose the forest for the trees and drive curriculum to the state of lunacy- privileging whatever is on the final at the cost of whatever isn't, essentially it comes down to great design

4. peformance-based

4.1. definition

4.1.1. "Performance-Based Assessments are tasks that generate a more authentic assessment of a student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities by going beyond answering a multiple-choice question. With performance based items, students can be presented with real-life scenarios, technology enhanced items, open-ended questions, and constructed-response items." - http://www.pearsonk12.com/what-we-do/performance-based-assessments.html (Pearson #ho)

4.2. Example

4.2.1. The classic example is the flight simulator, whereby passing a class is achieved by beating the game.

4.3. advantages and disadvantages

4.3.1. advantages are authentic performance and real world problem solving, rather than abstract or removed standardized testing. These are also more interesting and fun than bubble sheets

4.3.2. disadvantages can be understood via the Capt. Kirk legend of the infamous federation training program: "kobayashi maru" whereby Kirk hacked the system and "played the system". This principle can also be understood as a means of playful learning via cheating- as recent trend from the GLS society, where learning to cheat and hack systems actually drives and demonstrates learning and understanding on more advanced levels (no pun intended) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru

5. high-stakes

5.1. Definition

5.1.1. If you're not sure what a high stakes test is you're thoroughly out of the loop in education lingo. A high stakes test is where the results have a huge impact on a students trajectory. These form gateways and highways, and are subtle but substantial structural elements in our society today. They're effects are pervasive and perverse and privileged students from certain areas over others. Often times high stakes tests drive curriculum and instruction and can be accounted for taking the arts, creativity, originality, genius and curiosity out of our schools

5.2. Example

5.2.1. There is no single test in the world that has a bigger impact than the Chinese state college entrance exam, or GaoKao. This exam is taken annually by every Chinese student at the end of their k12 career. It determines not only what level of school they go to but what type of major they will study, Other examples are the ACT, SAT, and increasingly, state exams such as the MEAP or ITAO

5.3. advantages/disadvantages

5.3.1. Advantages are quickly and cheaply sorting students based upon narrow standards.

5.3.2. Disadvantages are numerous. If the incentives are wrong, schools get torn up in the machinery, and students are left on the side of the road. High stakes testing can rob students (and thusly teachers, parents, communities) of authentic learning by hi-jacking class and instructional time. Disadvantages are also in that these encourage an ancillary business model as run by the blood-sucking profit publishers (ie Kaplan, Pearson) which bleeds into the public sphere with special interest driven policy like NCLB, seemingly designed to undermine public education as a whole, according to Alphie Kohne.

6. portfolio

6.1. Definition

6.1.1. A portfolio assessment is a collection of works over a period of time used to demonstrate learning and growth. It can be both formative and summitative in nature and can be digital, physical or some combination

6.2. example

6.2.1. A classic example is an art students collection of works over time. Another is a students digital portfolio of writing over a year (or even 3) year stretch.

6.3. Advantages/disadvantages

6.3.1. Advantages are that these are interest driven and student centered. they also show growth mindset and foster reflection on thinking on the part of the student. they can also be great ways of showcasing exemplars and generating peer support and motivation. These are also good formative pieces as they can help an instructor or mentor work through problem areas that emerge over time or focus on a specific strength, deficit or interest

6.3.2. disadvantages are time consuming and if not deployed right can be make students feel alienated or that their work doesn't matter- teachers need to build the right school and classroom culture around these big projects and make sure they are celebrated enough to get students to put full effort into them. They can be tricky to engage all of a class or interest and readiness levels in a cohort

7. authentic

7.1. Definition

7.1.1. "A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills" -- Jon Mueller

7.2. Example

7.2.1. An example is a school newspaper, designing a game, working on a school drama production, or organizing a fund raising or community event

7.3. advantages and disadvantages

7.3.1. advantages are that there are no "middle men" in our teaching and learning, no tests designed to emulate skills, but just direct hands on real economy work. disadvantages are time, attention and resources, various levels of readiness or interest from student groups

8. self assessment


8.1.1. A self assessment is any assessment where the student is invited to participate in their own evaluation. This is a best practice in teaching mindfulness and growth mindset. this can often be designed in cahoots with a DIAGNOSTIC item

8.2. Example

8.2.1. Exhibit A -- KWL chart as made famous by Using technology in the classroom that works 2012, is a great way for teachers to gauge students prior knowledge and interest or questions on a topic

8.2.2. Exhibit B -- KIPP and Riverdale practice something called a "Character growth card" whereby they focus on 7 key character traits that they seek to build up in their students, as correlated with success and happiness: their card includes space for student self assessment as well as teachers evaluations, it's designed to be a conversation piece towards growth and reflection

8.3. Advantages/Disadvantages

8.3.1. The advantages here as outlined above are self reflection, mindfulness and growth. These assessments also practice the idea of participatory culture and empower students to take back their own learning project-- disadvantages are time for earnest resourcing by students and admin or councilors and issues like disillusionment or misapplication by students

9. peer assessment

9.1. Defintion

9.1.1. A peer assessment, as the name suggests, is where a fellow pupil evaluates a students behavior or achievement

9.2. Example

9.2.1. A great example is in small group projects, where each member evaluates the others contributions and work. This should be done using rubrics and semi objective criteria to avoid personal bias and also as a model performance tool

9.3. Advantages/disadvantages

9.3.1. Peer evals can sometimes get off the rails as a result of group conflict or socio cultural issues in the large mileau of school life. They can also be extremely time consuming to take into account if not designed properly. Another issue is the tendency for peers to evaluate themselves all very leniently, something of a cartel effect. Research on Coursera and adult peer assessments seems positive, but I doubt this translates to high schools. Advantages are that they can be example ops for teaching students what's expected of them and leveraging the phenomenon of "vicarious reinforcement"