Types of Assessment

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Types of Assessment by Mind Map: Types of Assessment

1. Diagnostic

1.1. Definition: Type of assessment which examines what a student knows (knowledge) and can do (skills) prior to a learning program being implemented, when a student first enters a new school or at specified times during the school term to help shape teaching strategies.

1.2. Purpose: This provides a baseline against which to assess progress.

1.3. Assessment for learning. Rationale: Diagnostic assessment is used ‘for learning’, because teachers will adjust their teaching to improve learning outcomes for all students.

1.4. Advantages: 1. It helps teachers identify their students’ current knowledge, skill sets, and capabilities. 2. The collected data assist teachers to plan for appropriate pedagogy and targeted learning to more effectively scaffold the learning needs of their students.

1.5. Disadvantages: It can cause anxiety in students.

1.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: At the very beginning of the year, I use a reading comprehension test (SRA Reading Lab) to assess my students’ reading level and comprehension. Based on this test, they are given a reading level with comprehension passages. There are ten reading passages per level, increasing in difficulty. After completion of the tenth passage they move to the next level.

2. Formative

2.1. Definition: Ongoing, frequent and interactive diagnostic assessment providing information to guide instruction and improve student performance and understanding.

2.2. Purpose: Formative assessments enable teachers to adjust their teaching to meet individual student needs, and to better help all students to reach high standards.

2.3. Assessment for learning. Rationale: Formative assessments tell both the teacher and the student what progress each student is making toward meeting each standard while the learning is happening—when there’s still time to be helpful, for the purpose of improving learning.

2.4. Advantages: 1. It raises the level of student attainment (particularly for previously underachieving students). It increases equity of student outcomes. It improves students’ ability to learn. Attendance and retention of learning are also improved, as well as the quality of students’ work. Students take increasing responsibility for their
own learning and progress. It builds students’ “learning to learn” skills by emphasizing the process of teaching and learning, and involving students as partners
in that process.

2.5. Disadvantages: 1. Time consuming for the teacher to provide effective feedback. 2. Intensive dedication required to continue ongoing assessment. 3. May not be practical for large enrollment classes. 4. May be difficult to motivate students on low stake assignments.

2.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: Exit Ticket (when introducing new grammar concepts), Two stars and a wish (for writing assessments), classroom discussions, homework.

3. Summative

3.1. Definition: Culminating assessment for a unit, grade level, or course of study providing a status report on mastery or degree of proficiency according to identified learning outcomes.

3.2. Purpose: To evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. This can be used to pass or fail a student or to rank students.

3.3. Assessment of learning. Rationale: Summative assessments judge the sufficiency of learning at a particular point in time. They inform the teacher of which students have reached the top of the scaffolding. (Stiggins, 2005)

3.4. Advantages: 1. Provides motivation for students to study and pay attention. 2. Efficient way to identify students’ skills at key transition points, such as entry into the world of work or for further education. 3. Positive results can increase students’ confidence.

3.5. Disadvantages: 1. Tendency to over-rely on summative measures (it becomes a major indicator of success in college). 2. May promote cheating due to the high stakes nature of the assessment. 3. May promote “teaching to the test” because it reflects closely on teacher performance. 4. May be too rigid.

3.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: Chapter/Unit tests, Semester Exams, Projects, Presentations.

4. Performance-based

4.1. Definition: Tasks requiring students to craft their own responses rather than merely select from among multiple-choice answers. They range from short- answer tasks, such as constructing and explaining a problem solution, to producing a product, or performing an activity.

4.2. Purpose: To measure students’ reasoning skills and their ability to apply knowledge to frame and solve meaningful problems.

4.3. Can be both assessment of learning and assessment for learning. Rationale: If this type of assessment is used within a summative then it would be an assessment of learning. If this type of assessment is used within a formative then it would be an assessment for learning.

4.4. Advantages: 1. Develops and evaluates critical thinking and performance abilities. 2. Provides more information to inform planning and instruction. 3. Improves the quality of instruction, including the teaching of more challenging knowledge and skills, and the expectation of greater production, explanation & revision of work to standards. 4. Improves preparation for the demands of college and work. 
5. More successful evaluations of knowledge for English learners, special education students, and students who struggle in other ways than some traditional standardized tests. 6. Yields a more complete picture of students’ abilities and weaknesses, and can overcome some of the validity challenges of assessing English language learners and students with disabilities. 7. Increases the intellectual challenge in classrooms and supports higher-quality teaching.

4.5. Disadvantages: 1. Reliability and Validity. 2. Fairness. 3. Feasibility. 4. Costs. 5. Ensuring the tests’ rigor and technical reliability and to man
age their cost and time requirements.

4.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: Short response, writing an essay.

5. High-stakes

5.1. Definition: Any assessment used to make important decisions about students.

5.2. Purpose: Accountability.

5.3. Assessment of learning. Rationale: According to my understanding, high stakes assessments are similar to summative assessments and are therefore an assessment of learning.

5.4. Advantages: 1. Establishes high expectations for both educators and students. 2. Motivates students to work harder, learn more, and take the tests more seriously, which can promote higher student achievement. 3. Holds teachers accountable for ensuring that all students learn what they are expected to learn.

5.5. Disadvantages: 1. Forces educators to “teach to the test”—i.e., to focus instruction on the topics that are most likely to be tested. 2. May contribute to higher, or even much higher, rates of cheating among educators and students. 3. Promotes a more “narrow” academic program in schools. 4. Has been correlated to increased failure rates, lower graduation rates, and higher dropout rates, particularly for minority groups, students from low-income households, students with special needs, and students with limited proficiency in English. 4. Tests results may be used to trigger penalties for teachers and schools.

5.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: Semester exams or mid-term and final examinations.

6. Portfolio

6.1. Definition: Evaluation tool used to document student learning through a series of student-developed artifacts.

6.2. Purposes: (1) Evaluating coursework quality and academic achievement, (2) Creating a lasting archive of academic work products, and (3) Determining whether students have met learning standards.

6.3. Assessment for learning. Rationale: Portfolios may be used in day-to-day instruction to help students reflect on their own work products and academic progress. By closely monitoring learning progress over time using portfolios, both teachers and students can highlight academic strengths, identify learning weaknesses, and recognize accomplishments and growth.

6.4. Advantages: 1. Helps to keep parents engaged in their child’s education and more informed about changes in learning progress. 2. Is a way for students to critique and assess their own work, usually as an extension of the process of deciding what will be included in their portfolios. 3. Compiling, reviewing, and evaluating student work over time can provide a richer and more accurate picture of what students have learned and are able to do than more traditional measures, such as standardized tests that reflect only what a student knows at a specific point in time.

6.5. Disadvantages: 1. It requires extra time to plan an assessment system and conduct the assessment. 2. Gathering all of the necessary data and work samples can make portfolios bulky and difficult to manage. 3. Developing a systematic and deliberate management system is difficult, but this step is necessary in order to make portfolios more than a random collection of student work. 4. Scoring portfolios involves the extensive use of subjective evaluation procedures such as rating scales and professional judgment, and this limits reliability.

6.6. Example: My Middle School students have to create a portfolio that will be presented to their parents during our last Parent-Teacher-Student Conference.

7. Authentic

7.1. Definition: The multiple forms of assessment that reflect student learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes on instructionally relevant classroom activities.

7.2. Purpose: To measure students' ability to apply their knowledge and thinking skills to solving tasks that simulate real-world events or activities.

7.3. Can be both assessment of learning and assessment for learning.Rationale: If this type of assessment is used within a summative then it would be an assessment of learning. If this type of assessment is used within a formative then it would be an assessment for learning.

7.4. Advantages: 1. Connection to real-life skills. 2. Relates more closely to classroom learning. 3. This is a "learner-centered" approach. 4. Requires students to use higher-ordered learning skills, often in collaboration with others.

7.5. Disadvantages: 1. Subjectivity in scoring. 2. A narrow range of skills are typically assessed. 3. Places more burdens—both logistical and instructional—on teachers.

7.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: Projects, writing samples. For example, after studying informative writing students will be asked to design either a brochure, a poster or a video advertisement on the topic of their choice in which they will demonstrate the skills they have learned.

8. Self-assessment

8.1. Definition: students assess their own contribution using an established set of criteria.

8.2. Purpose: To make students aware of and more responsible of their own learning processes.

8.3. Assessment for learning. Rationale: This type of assessment informs students about themselves. With self-assessments, students learn to generate their own descriptive feedback and to set goals for what comes next in their learning. This practice draws the learner more deeply into taking responsibility for her or his own success. (Stiggins, 2005)

8.4. Advantages: 1. It increases student responsibility and autonomy. 2. It helps students develop important meta-cognitive skills. 3. Students strive for a more advanced and deeper understanding of the subject matter, skills and processes. 4. It lifts the role and status of the student from passive learner to active leaner and assessor. 5. It contributes to the development of critical reviewing skills.

8.5. Disadvantages: 1. Lower performing and less experienced students tend to overestimate their achievements. 2. Students may resist self-assessment, perceiving assessment and grading to be the teacher's job, or having no confidence in their ability to assess themselves. 3. Issues can arise if students' self-assessments are not consistent with peer or staff assessments.

8.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: I usually have my students write a reflection after a big assignment. The reflection consists of 12 questions divided in 4 categories: backward-looking, inward-looking, outward-looking and forward-looking. When submitting a summary, they are given a checklist of items that need to be included and it includes two columns: one is self-assessment and the other one is the teacher’s assessment.

9. Peer assessment

9.1. Definition: Process whereby students’ peers grade assignments or tests based on a teacher's benchmarks.

9.2. Purpose: To improve students' understanding of course materials as well as improve their metacognitive skills.

9.3. Assessment for learning. Rationale: Peer assessment is about revision and improvement. It supports students to identify their next learning steps for the purpose of improving learning, when there’s still time to be helpful.

9.4. Advantages: 1. Encourages student involvement and responsibility. 2. Encourages students to reflect on their role and contribution to the process of the group work. 3. Focuses on the development of student’s judgment skills. 4. Students are involved in the process and are encouraged to take part ownership of this process. 5. Provides more relevant feedback to students as it is generated by their peers.

9.5. Disadvantages: 1. Problem with reliability of grades as peer pressure to apply elevated grades or friendships may influence the assessment. At the other extreme students may be discriminated against if students ‘gang up’ against one group member. 2. Students will have a tendency to award everyone the same mark. 3. Students feel ill equipped to undertake the assessment. 4. Students may be reluctant to make judgments regarding their peers.

9.6. Examples for Grades 9 and 10 ELL: I use peer-assessment a lot in all of my classes because students can point other students’ mistakes much more easily than when they have to look at their own work. During presentations, I give my students the grading rubric and ask them to fill it out and write descriptive feedback. Also, when writing paragraphs for an essay I usually give them a classmate’s paper for them to review for the same reasons.

10. References

10.1. Stiggins, R. (2005). Assessment for Learning Defined. Retrieved from: http://ati.pearson.com/downloads/afldefined.pdf

10.2. Self and Peer Assessment – Advantages and Disadvantages. Retrieved from: http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/groupwork/docs/SelfPeerAssessment.pdf

10.3. Scherba de Valenzuela, J. (n.d.). Defining Portfolio Assessment. Retrieved from: http://www.unm.edu/~devalenz/handouts/portfolio.html

10.4. Formative Assessment. (2014, September 29). Retrieved from: http://edglossary.org/formative-assessment/

10.5. Summative Assessment. (2013, August 29). Retrieved from: http://edglossary.org/summative-assessment/

10.6. High-Stakes Test (2014, August 18). Retrieved from: http://edglossary.org/high-stakes-testing/

10.7. Authentic Learning. (2013, September 16). Retrieved from: http://edglossary.org/authentic-learning/

10.8. Assessment. (2015, November 10). Retrieved from: http://edglossary.org/assessment/