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The assessment process involves gathering, interpreting, recording and using information about pupils. Lambert and Lines, 2000 Assessments have many purposes and reason why they are used. Assessment plays a role of measuring understanding and learning. There are different types of assessments which measure the depth of learning. Using assessment, allow to evaluate learning needs and improve outcomes. Fawbert (2003) says assessments are also "means of promoting or denying learner achievement and autonomy".
Part of the teaching learning process it is vital to evaluate learning. Formative evaluation is done during instruction. The idea of this is to look at what students are learning towards specific objectives. Whereas summative evaluation, is done after instruction and provides information on what students have learnt towards general objectives. They are both two different forms; they differ on what material needs to be learned to meet objectives, the type of assessment/test and when the evaluation takes place and if there is a specific deadline set.
Summative assessment differs from formative and is used for a wider audience such as other teachers, management, parents and learners. This allows teachers to gain an understanding of the learners ability overall. Summative assessment normally used at the end of a unit/topic or end of term/year.
Many recent researches have shown if assessment is used in the correct manner as part of teaching, it will enable to enhance the students learning which is significant to the learning process (Elwood and Klenowski, 2002).
As a teacher I need to understand the reasons why assessments are used and the reason behind. Also how to use the two forms of assessment. Formative assessment allows teachers to provide feedback to improve the effectiveness of the students' transition throughout the learning process.
Many methods are used for formative assessment which allows students to gain knowledge and new skill; to help the learner to set new aims and reflect on their weakness and turn them into strength. Teachers can do this by the form of observation, checking learners understanding throughout the lesson and listen to learner's idea and the reason behind it. Also provide constructive feedback on assessments. Teachers may also need to make changes a in lesson planning; for example if majority of students found a lesson difficult and didn't understand the concepts then the teacher would have redo the lesson but with different teaching strategy.
Norm referenced and criterion-referenced assessment
Norm referencing is a mode Fawbert (2003) describes as a mode of assessment where the teacher compares the performance of learners against students in the same age group. This approach is to rank students' performance to "promote internal and external quality procedures". Also the assessments are graded using a marking criterion. The marks show how the student has performed compared to the "norm, or average" like Petty (2004) mentions norm-referenced works effectively only for examination. It is normally used to decide GCSES, A level and other qualifications.
Criterion reference in contrast measures the defined objectives rather than comparing student performance. The assessor awards a pass if they can do it, or a fail if they cannot. To be effective, Fawbert (2003) mentions that the criteria should be referred to by the assessors must "be as explicit." This assessment will provide information which will make clear of the level, range and type of performance expected from students.
Assessment for learning also known as formative is seen as integral aspect of teaching and learning cycle instead of being assessment of learning (summative). There are many forms of assessment that are evident of performance of the students learning. Such as practical, classroom based assessment, self-assessment, portfolios of work and reflective journals
The formative assessment is the importance of processes of teaching and learning, although summative assessment takes place after the teacher and learning. To facilitate learning teachers would need use assessment for learning approach to ensure learning is taking place. At the end of the term/year teachers would use the assessment of learning approach where they would mark and grade students work. Both approaches are vital in the learning process as teachers need to gain an understanding where the student is in their learning and also what the student has achieved end of term/year.
There are a variety of assessments that can be used to measure students' performance for teachers to get a better understanding of what the learners knows. The diagnostic assessment is a good way to establish a learner's strengths and weakness. It also allows the teacher to tailor their own teaching methods to suit the needs of learners. Whereas formative assessment is a self-reflective process which encourages students attainment
Assessment is a critical element of education and is essential that teachers use assessment to monitor students learning to be aware of where b the student is with the learning. Also assessment can be used to see if the teaching methods are useful and helping students to grasp and learn the subject. Learning and teaching are both part of a reciprocal process that depend on and affect one another. Overall assessment purpose is to assess how well the learners learn and how good the teacher is teaching
"The willingness of learners and teachers to give and receive feedback is at the heart of formative assessment".
"Feedback is an essential element in effecting communication between teachers and learners".
The feedback is a vital part of the assessment especially in areas of development/ changes and positive recognition of achievement/strengths. Feedback should be constructive, neither brief nor extensive. As many students can feel overwhelmed or vulnerable. Teachers should never underestimate the students. Feedback needs to be positive and delivered with consideration, constructive and targeted at the learners' areas of development. Praise helps students to stay motivated and statements like well-done can show the student what was good and a reason to explain why it appealed to the teacher.
Overall, feedback shows both the teacher and student how students' learning is progressed; feedback is not used to criticise and should be useful to learners to understand their strengths and weaknesses and use the feedback to reflect.