The Application Of Assessment Education Essay

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Introduction

We use assessment for different purposes. The application of assessment is not same for different people.Sometime it supports teaching/learning process at the other time it is an indicator for parents to what extant their children learnt the particular lesson. Also we know that tests which effect teaching and curriculum have not design to support learning.

A failure to articulate the relationship between learning and assessment has resulted in a "mismatch between the high quality learning described in policy documents as desirable and poor quality learning that seems likely to result from associated assessment procedures."(Willis, 1992). Traditional ways of assessment had many shortcomings to describe these mismatches and this was because of their underlying assumptions. For example in psychometrics which developed from work of intelligence and testing, one of the assumption was universality "which means that a test score has essentially the same meaning for all individuals" (Gipps,1994). The other was unidimensionality "which relates to the conceptualization of constructs and impacts on the techniques used for analyzing test items" (Gipps, 1994).

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When bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives was published the need for educational assessment which was a cycle of planning, instruction, learning and evaluation became more tangable. And it was the start point of educational measurement. Wood's definition of educational measurement is that it:

Deals with the individual's achievement relative to himself than to others

Seeks to test for competence rather than for intelligence

Takes place in relatively uncontrolled conditions and so does not produce 'well- behaved' data

Looks for 'best' rather than 'typical' performances

Is most effective when rules and regulations characteristic of standardized testing are relaxed

Embodies a constructive outlook on assessment where the aim is to help rather than sentence the individual. And is happy to accept that this is 'thinking not of how things often are but rather of how they might or even ought to be …' (Wood, 1986)

Nowadays educational measurement has called educational assessment, because education assessment is not concern with quantification. "Assessment must be used in support of learning rather than just indicate current or past achievement."(Glaser, 1990) Assessment should display to learner models of performance that can be emulated and also indicate the assistance, experiences, and forms of practice required by learners as they move towards more competent performance'. (ibid, p.480)

The sort of assessment that Glaser has in mind as (Gipps, 1994) believed are portfolios of accomplishment; situations which elicit problem- solving behavior which can be observed and analyzed; dynamic tests that assess responsiveness of student to various kinds of instruction; and scoring procedures for the procedures and products of reasoning.' In other words we need a much wider range of assessment strategies to assess a broader body of cognitive aspects than mere subject- matter acquisition and retention .( Gipps, 1994).

A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student's work that demonstrates to student and others their efforts, progress, and achievements in given area. (Genesee, Upshur 1996). A portfolio can be kept in any durable and expandable container and students should have their own portfolios. 'For the portfolio, the teacher and/or learner selects samples of classroom work that illustrate what has been done in class. A portfolio is intended to showcase a learner's development over the time. Portfolio assessment documents what a student can do. (Lines, 2005)

As every kind of assessment portfolio assessment has some advantages and disadvantages:

Benefits of portfolios (Genesee, Upshur 1996)

Portfolios provide:

A continuous, cumulative record of language development

A holistic view of student learning

Insights about progress of individual students

Opportunities for collaborative assessment and goal- setting with students

Tangible evidence of student learning to be shared with parents, other educators, and other students

Opportunities to use metalanguage to talk about language

Portfolios promote:

Student involvement in assessment

Responsibility for self- assessment

Interaction with teachers, parents, and students about learning

Student ownership of and responsibility for their own learning

Excitement about learning

Students' ability to think critically about schoolwork

Collaborative, sharing classrooms

Disadvantages of using portfolios (Lise, 2005)

Can be hard to figure out what should be included and who decides

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Can be very easy to include too much

Can be difficult to evaluate the individual items

Can take along time to learn how to use portfolios

Can take a long time to maintain and assess all your learners' portfolios

Can be difficult to assign grades to portfolios because the process is more subjective than objective

There are many different types of portfolios, each of which can serve one or more specific purposes as part of an overall school or classroom assessment program. The following is a list of the types most often cited in the literature:

Documentation Portfolio: This type is also known as the "working" portfolio. Specifically, this approach involves a collection of work over time showing growth and improvement reflecting students' learning of identified outcomes. The documentation portfolio can include everything from brainstorming activities to drafts to finished products. The collection becomes meaningful when specific items are selected out to focus on particular educational experiences or goals. It can include the bet and weakest of student work.

Process Portfolio: This approach documents all facets or phases of the learning process. They are particularly useful in documenting students' overall learning process. It can show how students integrate specific knowledge or skills and progress towards both basic and advanced mastery. Additionally, the process portfolio inevitably emphasizes students' reflection upon their learning process, including the use of reflective journals, think logs, and related forms of metacognitive processing.

Showcase Portfolio: This type of portfolio is best used for summative evaluation of students' mastery of key curriculum outcomes. It should include students' very best work, determined through a combination of student and teacher selection. Only completed work should be included. In addition, this type of portfolio is especially compatible with audio-visual artifact development, including photographs, videotapes, and electronic records of students' completed work. The showcase portfolio should also include written analysis and reflections by the student upon the decision-making process(es) used to determine which works are included.

The phases of portfolio development:

Phase One: Organization and Planning - This initial phase of portfolio development entails decision-making on the part of students and teachers. By exploring essential questions at the beginning of the process, students can fully understand the purpose of the portfolio and its status as a means of monitoring and evaluating their own progress. Key questions for the teacher and the student must include:

How do I select times, materials, etc. to reflect what I am learning in this class?

How do I organize and present the items, materials, etc. that I have collected?

How will portfolios be maintained and stored?

Phase Two: Collection - This process involves the collection of meaningful artifacts and products reflecting students' educational experiences and goals. Decisions must be made at this phase about the context and contents of the portfolio based upon the intent and purposes identified for it. The selection and collection of artifacts and products should be based upon a variety of factors that can include:

Particular subject matter;

A learning process; or

Special projects, themes, and/or unites.

All selections included in the collection should clearly reflect the criteria and standards identified for evaluation.

Phase Three: Reflection - Wherever possible, there should be evidence of students' metacognitive reflections upon the learning process and their monitoring of their evolving comprehension of key knowledge and skills. These reflections can take the form of learning logs, reflective journals, and other forms of reflections upon their experiences, the thinking processes they have used, and the habits of mind they employed at given points in time and across time periods. In addition, teacher and/or parent reflections upon the products, processes, and thinking articulated in the portfolio should also be included wherever appropriate. A portfolio also has different ways evaluation.

"Portfolios offer a way of assessing student learning that is different than traditional methods. Portfolio assessment provides the teacher and students an opportunity to observe students in a broader context: taking risks, developing creative solutions, and learning to make judgments about their own performances." (Paulson and Meyer, 1991)

In order for thoughtful evaluation to take place, teachers must have multiple scoring strategies to evaluate students' progress. Criteria for a finished portfolio might include several of the following:

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Thoughtfulness (including evidence of students' monitoring of their own comprehension, metacognitive reflection, and productive habits of mind).

Growth and development in relationship to key curriculum expectancies and indicators.

Understanding and application of key processes.

Completeness, correctness, and appropriateness of products and processes presented in the portfolio.

Diversity of entries (e.g., use of multiple formats to demonstrate achievement of designated performance standards).

It is especially important for teachers and students to work together to prioritize those criteria that will be used as a basis for assessing and evaluating student progress, both formatively (i.e., throughout an instructional time period) and summatively (i.e., as part of a culminating project, activity, or related assessment to determine the extent to which identified curricular expectancies, indicators, and standards have been achieved).

As the school year progresses, students and teacher can work together to identify especially significant or important artifacts and processes to be captured in the portfolio. Additionally, they can work collaboratively to determine grades or scores to be assigned. Rubrics, rules, and scoring keys can be designed for a variety of portfolio components. In addition, letter grades might also be assigned, where appropriate. Finally, some form of oral discussion or investigation should be included as part of the summative evaluation process. This component should involve the student, teacher, and if possible, a panel of reviewers in a thoughtful exploration of the portfolio components, students' decision-making and evaluation processes related to artifact selection, and other relevant issues.

Statement of the problem

As it is mentioned in previous part, summative assessment abandon meaningful learning and as a result reflective thinking, because students only insist on rote learning and memorization and do not try to understand and think about what they memorize. In this case they are not involved in their own learning and assessment, so we use portfolios in order to 'provide information about students' view of their own language learning and strategies they apply in reading and writing for example. This in turn can enhance student involvement in and ownership of their own learning. Classrooms in which portfolio assessment plays a major role are generally more student- centered, collaborative and holistic (Genesee, Upshur 1996).

There are different kinds of portfolios in EFL classrooms, for example: reading portfolios, writing portfolios, speaking portfolios. Most of the portfolios are writing ones and there is a little work on speaking portfolios. Also the researches which are available are mostly on adolescents whose age are sixteen and up or young learners whose age 5- 12, but we usually ignore teenagers (12- 15) who has special interests and needs, they are not neither children who can be controlled with parents nor adult that know why they are learning English, so they need special methods and care, because of their age they do not know what are they doing.

Significance of the study

The aim of this study is learning in general and language learning in particular. 'Assessment should be integrated and reflect the type of instruction taking place in the classroom. Much oral and written activity can easily be used for classroom- based assessment when there is a criterion, including an aim, as well as a feedback mechanism.' (Linse,2005).

'Assessment information is seldom useful by itself. It must be interpreted- put into context before it is meaningful. Clearly an important focus of classroom- based evaluation, whether for internal or external purposes, is student achievement. Teachers need to know what and how much students have learned in order to monitor the effectiveness of instruction, to plan ongoing instruction, and for accountability purposes.'(Genesee, Upshur, 1996).

Most teachers assess the effectiveness instruction formally on a continuous basis. This is sometimes referred to as formative evaluation. Additional time and attention are occasionally needed for systematic assessment, such as at the end of instructional unites. It may also be prudent to examine learning after several units, weeks or months in order to ascertain how much students have retained from earlier instruction and whether they have consolidated or integrated skills, knowledge, or concepts taught over a period of time longer than a single lesson or unit. (Genesee, Upsher, 1996).

Sidhu (2011) believed that by implementing formative learning, teachers can have a better feel of how to identify and react to their students' needs. In classrooms featuring formative assessments, teachers make frequent interactive assessments of students' understanding and this enables them to adjust their teaching to suit individual students.

If formative learning is used as a guiding framework in learning contexts, teachers can change the way they interact with their students, how they set up learning goals, guide students towards learning and how they define student success. The benefits of formative assessment have been shown to be highly effective in raising the level of student attainment, increasing equity of student outcomes and improving students' abilities to learn. (p.304)

Brown et al. (1997 as cited in Jalilzade, 2011) maintain that the objective of teaching spoken language is the development of the ability to interact successfully, and that involves comprehension as well as production. Speaking also plays a vital role in learning to use language, and also speaking requires students to activate their linguistic knowledge along with their world knowledge in a way that is different from other three skills. Also speaking is one of the most important and fundamental of all four language skills in learning.

There are different components in speaking which must be consider in assessment such as fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, pronunciation, content and organization, social meaning and use the communicative function of speech such as intonation and stress, changes in volume and tone etc. Also speakers need to be able to understand and use paralinguistic devices like eye contact and facial expression because they are an essential part of communication.

Performance assessments require learners to use prior knowledge and recent learning to accomplish tasks that demonstrate what they know and can do. There is a direct link between instruction and assessment. A variety of performance assessment provides a more complete picture of a learner's abilities than can be gathered from performance on a pencil- and-paper standardized test. (p.28)

Speaking skills can be assessed by asking learners questions and engaging them in conversations. When assessing learners' oral skills, you may want to use an analytical or holistic rubric. A holistic rubric provides one overall score. An analytic rubric provides information broken into different categories. When you want to see how well students use a specific aspect of language, you need to make sure that your question elicits the target construction. (Linse, 2005).

If the habit and capacity of self- monitoring can be develop in every individual students they won't be debilitated and inhabited by single case deficiency and failure. In this case they would be able to look for causes and find solutions for their failure. This would be possible throughout the process of portfolio assessment. Because students are involve in their own learning assessment and the atmosphere of the portfolio classes are positive and relaxing, the students are actively involved in the process of teaching- assessment- performance- feedback- reflection.

Farr & Tone (1998, as cited in Wang, 2010) argued that if students are to improve, they must to see the need for that improvement. The students must to self-assess and to consider how to improve- by identifying both strengths to be practiced and perfected and areas that need strengthening through focused practice on them. Self-monitoring improves learning in many fundamental ways. First, it focuses students' attention on limited number of responses (Zimmerman & Paulsen, 1995). Self-monitoring helps students discriminate between effective and ineffective performance (Thoresen & Mahoney, 1974). Finally, self-monitoring fosters reflective thinking (Bandura, 1986). It can lead to better organization of one's knowledge, more accurate self-judgments, and more effective planning and goal setting for future efforts to learn (Lan, 1994; Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994).(p.149)

Methods

Subjects are young adolescents EFL learners of Hermes Institute of Science and Technology.

Instruments: An achievement test must be administered to check the degree of homogeneity of general language ability of students. Course book, a voice recorder and a CD for every student to keep in their portfolios. The oral test which is based on their course book content after instruction.

Procedures: the students will be divided into two groups, experimental group, which will receive complete information about portfolio keeping and its process, and control group which will take part in ordinary classes. After each unit in experimental class there would be some pictures related to their lesson but different for every student, and want them to say a sentence or several sentences about the picture by using grammar and vocabulary that they have been taught, while they are speaking their voice will be recorded. In several sessions after recording before finishing the next unit, every session there would be a discussion about some pictures and associated voices with those pictures. The others will be wanted to comment on every sentence and finally articulate the acceptable sentence. At the end of the term, which consists of thirty hours of instruction, both groups will take same oral exam and the scoring will be based on an analytical rubric.

Research Questions and Hypothesis

Does speaking portfolio have any effect on promotion of speaking ability of EFL teenager learners?

Is there any significant difference between speaking portfolio and single test?

Definition of important terms

Assessment: Appraising or estimating the level or magnitude of some attribute of a person. Assessment consists essentially, of taking a sample of what the student do,making inferences and estimating the worth of their action. ( Brown,1996)

EFL learner: A person who is learning English as a foreign language.

Portfolio assessment: An approach that makes use of portfolios as a basis of assessment.

Formative assessment: A process of providing information to curriculum developers during the development of a curriculum or programme, in order to improve it.

Summative assessment: A process of providing information to decision makers, after the programme is completed, about whether or not the programme was effective and successful.