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Classroom assessment can help the teacher make decisions concerning his/her lesson teaching. These decisions depend on answering the following questions before, during and after teaching any lesson. They are as follow:
6 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions before the lesson:
1. What input do students need to learn?
2. What interests of my students do I need to consider as I plan my lesson?
3. What materials are appropriate to use with students?
4. What learning activities do I need my students engage in during the lesson?
5. What objectives do I want my students to achieve as a result of my teaching?
6. How can I organize and arrange the students in the class for the lesson activities?
4 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions during the lesson:
1. Is my lesson going well? Are students learning?
2. What should I do to make this lesson/activity work better?
3. What feedback should I give individual students about the quality of their learning?
4. Are my students ready to move to the next activity in the learning sequence?
4 Assessment-based decisions made by answering questions after the lesson:
1. How well my students achieved my objectives?
2. What strengths and weaknesses should I report about students’ learning?
3. How effectively did my students learn this lesson?
4. How effective were my materials, activities, class organization and teaching techniques I used?
There are eight kinds of testing. They are as follow:
1. Direct testing:
Testing is said to be direct when the student is required to perform directly the skill which we wish to measure. E.g. we ask students to write compositions if we want to know how well they can write compositions. We ask them to speak if we want to know how well they can pronounce a language.
2. Indirect testing:
Indirect testing attempts to measure the abilities which underlie the skills in which we are interested. E.g. we test pronunciation ability by asking students to identify pairs of words which rhyme with each other.
3. Objective testing:
It doesn’t require judgement on the part of the scorer because scoring here is objective. It won’t change even if the scorer has been changed. Multiple choice test is an example of this kind of tests.
4. Subjective testing:
It requires judgement on the part of the scorer because scoring here is subjective. The grades in subjective testing depend on the impressions of the scorer. These impressions are not the same among different scorers. Scoring of a composition is an example of this kind of testing.
5. Discrete point testing:
It refers to the testing of one element at a time, item by item. This kind of testing is always indirect. Each testing involves a particular item. Testing particular grammatical structures is an example of this kind of testing.
6. Integrative testing:
It includes many language elements in the completion of a task. It might involve writing a composition, taking notes while listening to a text and completing a cloze passage.
7. Norm-referenced testing:
This kind of testing relates one student’s performance to that of other students. We don’t say that student is capable of doing well in the language but we say the student gained a score that placed him/her in the top five students who have taken the same test.
8. Criterion-referenced testing:
The purpose of this kind of testing is to classify students according whether they are able to perform some tasks satisfactorily. Who perform the tasks satisfactorily ‘pass’, those who don’t, ‘fail’. We measure students’ progress in relation to meaningful criteria.
6 Types of Tests
There are six different types of tests. They are as follow:
1. Placement test:
It is used to place new students in the right class in a school. It assesses students’ productive and receptive skills. It is designed to show how good a student is in English in relation to a previously agreed system of levels.
2. Diagnostic test:
It is used to discover student problems, difficulties or deficiencies in a course. We use this type of tests to know students’ strengths and weaknesses so as to be able to do something about them.
3. Progress/Achievement test:
It is designed to measure students’ language and their skill progress in relation to the syllabus they have been following. This type is directly related to language courses and done during the course.
4. Final progress/achievement test:
It is done at the end of the course to measure students’ achievement of the course objectives or goals.
5. Proficiency test:
It is not necessarily based on certain courses that students may have previously taken. Most students take this type of tests to admit to a foreign university, get a job or obtain some kind of certificate. It is designed to measure students’ knowledge and ability in a language.
6. Aptitude test:
It is designed to discover whether a student has a talent or basic ability for learning a new language or not.
Classroom assessment is the act of collecting information about students, curricula and methodology with the aim of making decisions concerning to students’ needs and teacher’s objectives.
Classroom assessment should help the teacher in:
1. Determining student strengths and weaknesses.
2. Determining learning styles of his/her students.
3. Learning about student interests in various topics.
4. Classifying students into groups based upon their learning abilities, personal interests, characteristics and achievements.
5. Monitoring and following the progress of individual students.
6. Providing feedback about students’ achievement.
7. Specifying suitable teaching materials and activities.
8. Discovering what students have learned and what they still need to learn.
9. Deciding what to teach next.
10. Determining how to adapt lesson content to student need and learning styles.
11. Evaluating the effectiveness of teaching methods.
12. Assigning grades and feedback to students.
13. Giving feedback to parents.
14. Giving feedback to other teachers in the school and the principal.
15. Communicating with other professionals to provide more effective courses.
16. Recycling and revising previous lesson content.
Suggested aspects to focus on in classroom assessment:
1. Participation in the group work.
2. Ability to express in speech.
3. Ability to express in writing.
4. Listening comprehension.
5. Reading comprehension.
6. Neatness of handwriting.
7. Use of school library.
8. Response that show understanding.
9. Oral activities: discussion and answering questions.
10. Sharing in planning and preparing wall magazines.
11. Co-operation with the teacher and classmates.
12. Bringing books and doing homework.
13. Sharing in class activities.
14. Continuity of progress in learning and of dealing in good behavior.
Evaluation is a purposeful, cyclical process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting relevant information in order to make qualitative judgments and take decisions concerning to certain performances, materials, activities, courses or programs in the light of certain aims, goals or objectives.
There are two types of evaluation:
1. Formative which is concerned mainly with forming and enhancing the process of learning. It is the ongoing assessment that teachers do into the classroom in order to decide to what extent they achieve their objectives or goals with the aim of making modifications for bringing about improvements.
2. Summative which is concerned with evaluating the whole knowledge of the learner and his/her progress & proficiency.
Evaluation has two sides: Measurement and assessment.
Measurement is the process of using certain tools, criteria and skills in order to make quantitative judgments of students’ achievements. Therefore measurement is impersonal and objective.
Assessment is the act of collecting information on individual learners’ performance proficiency and achievement in the light of certain objectives. Therefore assessment is personal and specific.
1. Select the words to be tested.
2. Get the right kind of sentence (called the stem) to put each word in.
3. Choose several wrong words (called distractors) to put the right word with.
4. Finally prepare clear and simple instructions.
1. Make sure the distractors are the same form of the word tested.
2. Be sure you don’t give away the right answer through grammatical cues.
3. Multiple choice items should be about the same level of difficulty.
4. Be sure not to include more than one correct answer.
Identify the weakness in each of the following multiple choice question:
* Vocabulary choice:
1. Do you need some …………….. to write on.
2- The mouse ……………………. quickly away.
3. I think he will be here in an …………………….
d. day after
4. They …………………. me to get up right away.
* Grammar choice :
1. If I had a new coat, …………………………
a. I’d show it to every one
c. I’ve shown it to every one
b. I showed it to every one
d. I’ll show it to every one
2. They just bought …………………….. furniture.
b. a few
Waiting for Your Answer & Feedback
1- Determine the purpose of the test.
2- Define the content area to be tested.
3- Choose and prepare appropriate and relevant items for the test.
4- Build your questions to match your pupils’ ability.
5- The amount of questions should suit the allotted time.
6- Printing should be clear. No handwritten exams.
7- Instructions should be clear and in understandable terms.
8- Arrange items from easiest to most difficult to reduce stress and encourage less able pupils to answer ( Gradation of questions).
9- No ambiguous questions. Avoid ambiguity and deluding words.
10- Questions should include different parts of the syllabus and not focus on certain lessons.
11- Accurate grading is very important.
12- Model answers should be written on a separate sample of the test paper.
13- All acceptable or possible answers should be included or written in the model answers.
14- Test different aspects ( reasoning / observation / comprehending / deducing ).
15- Test cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills that are included in the units.
16- Involve varied questions ( objective / subjective ).
A good test should be:
It means that it measures what it is supposed to measure. It tests what it ought to test. A good test which measures control of grammar should have no difficult lexical items.
If it is taken again by ( same students, same conditions ), the score will be almost the same regarding that the time between the test and the retest is of reasonable length. If it is given twice to same students under the same circumstances, it will produce almost the same results. In this case it is said that the test provides consistency in measuring the items being evaluated.
It is easy to be conducted, easy to score without wasting too much time or effort.
It covers all the items that have been taught or studied. It includes items from different areas of the material assigned for the test so as to check accurately the amount of students’ knowledge
It measures reasonably well the achievement of the desired objectives.
It tests linguistic as well as communicative competence and it reflects the real command of the language. It tests also appropriateness and accuracy.
7- Appropriate in difficulty:
It is neither too hard nor too easy. Questions should be progressive in difficulty to reduce stress and tension
Questions and instructions should be clear. Pupils should know what to do exactly.
The language of the test should reflect everyday discourse
10- Appropriate for time:
A good test should be appropriate in length for the allotted time.
If it is marked by different teachers, the score will be the same. Marking process should not be affected by the teacher’s personality. Questions and answers are so clear and definite that the marker would give the students the score he/she deserves.
It makes the best use of the teacher’s limited time for preparing and grading and it makes the best use of the pupil’s assigned time for answering all items. So, we can say that oral exams in classes of +30 students are not economical as it requires too much time and effort to be conducted.
There are many good reasons for testing during English language course. We usually conduct a test for one or more of the following:
1- Collecting information about where students are in their learning to decide what should be covered next.
2- Deciding whether teaching is effective or not ( Assessment of teaching )
3- Highlighting what needs to be reviewed. ( Which parts need to be revised )
4- Giving pupils a sense of achievement ( What they know / What they should know )
5- Giving pupils a learning opportunity after what have been done ( The test is a review in itself )
6- Assessing pupils’ strengths and weaknesses indicating which skills pupils are good at and which ones they need more practice on.
7- Giving feedback to parents, other teachers, the school, the principal …… to all who matter.
8- Discovering what pupils have already learned and what they still need to learn.
9- Deciding what to teach next and which methods should be used.