If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.

Assessments are the techniques instructors use to determine student understanding assessments. and proficiency. As a general rule, assessments should provide for various kinds of responses.

Two categories of Assessments have been identified:

Summative Assessment

  • Occurs at the end of a predetermined period of instruction
  • Rates the student in relation to an external standard of correctness
  • Is the approach taken by most traditional and standardized tests

Formative Assessment

  • Takes place on an ongoing basis as instruction is proceeding
  • Rates the student in using criteria that the student has helped to identify
  • Is the approach taken by alternative assessment methods

When developing Assessments, the following criteria should be considered:

  • Purpose: What needs to be determined about student learning?
  • Validity: Does the assessment measure what it intends to measure?
  • Fairness: Is the assessment connected to specific learning opportunities and objectives?
  • Reliability: Is the assessment broadly applicable across the student population?
  • Significance: Does the assessment address content and skills that are valued by the discipline?
  • Efficiency: Is the assessment method consistent with the available time and class conditions?

Traditional assessments are conventional methods of evaluating students and include tests, quizzes and papers.

Alternative assessments employ journals, demonstrations, presentations and portfolios to evaluate students.

Further Reading

Capturing the Wisdom of Practice: Professional Portfolios for Educators by Giselle O. Martin-Kniep

Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading by Robert J. Marzano


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